Requirements

Educational Requirements to Becoming an Ultrasound Technician

Are you tired of serving hamburgers or gourmet coffees?  Ready to move into a job with a steady future, good salary, and the ability to help others?  Why not become an ultrasound technician?  The type of schooling required to become certified as an ultrasound technician is usually a two-year program that results in accreditation.  However, some in-depth programs require four years.  And if you have previous healthcare experience, you can even get into a one-year program that will give you certification.

You May Already have Necessary Skills

To be an ultrasound technician, you need to have a certain skill set.  You will be looking for tiny changes in a patient’s physical make-up that might be a problem, so you should be detail-oriented.  And because you will be working with patients who may be frightened or uneasy, you need to have good people skills.

But let’s face it, you’ll have these skills already if you’re a coffee barista or work in a restaurant.  And the pay for an ultrasound technician is a lot higher!  Ultrasound technicians can make between $45,000 and $88,000 per year.

Ultrasound is Safe to Work with and Administer

Unlike X-Rays or MRIs, ultrasounds are safe for the patient and the practitioner.  High frequency sound waves are bounced off internal organs, creating a clear picture of any problems.  This safe, effective method of diagnosing medical issues can be used for everyone from pregnant women to the elderly.  And the technician stays safe as well.

As a Technician, You Can Work Regular Hours

Ultrasound technicians frequently work in doctor’s offices or hospitals where patients come for regularly scheduled examinations.  If you’re tired of working nights and weekends, and want a regular forty-hour a week position, becoming an ultrasound technician could be the perfect job for you.  But if you’re a night owl, there are part-time evening and weekend jobs available as well.

What Education Will you Need?

The type of schooling required to become certified as an ultrasound technician includes practical medical coursework.  If you took advanced courses in the biological sciences and chemistry in high school, you’ll easily be able to jump into the more advanced classes in a certification program.  If not, you might be able to take online courses while you continue working to get the classes you need to enter a program.

In addition, becoming an ultrasound technician requires practical on-the-job training.  This can be the most interesting part of the program.  You’ll learn to interpret and record ultrasound images from an experienced technologist or doctor.  If you have no previous medical training, you’ll also be taught to interact with patients.  Again, this is where those people skills you’ve been developing over the years will come in handy.

Eventually, you will receive certification by taking exams through the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography or some other organization, depending on the country where you plan to work.

Get Your Certification Right Away

Another big advantage to becoming an ultrasound technician is that the job market is very stable.  As ultrasound machines become more advanced, there will be more jobs available in the near future.  Make getting certified your highest priority, since this field is becoming more competitive.

And be careful – you can’t get a degree in six weeks, no matter what you read online.

You can find information about specific programs at the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Programs (http://www.caahep.org/default.aspx), or the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (http://jrcdms.org/).

Wouldn’t you rather be a customer than a server?  Find an accredited sonography program and get yourself out of that restaurant for good!