Ultrasound Technicians work on the frontline of healthcare by scanning internal organs to help doctors in the diagnostic process.
In case you were wondering, yes it is ultrasound technicians who tell pregnant patients if they’re having a boy or a girl.
It is a very interesting, versatile and rewarding career that may interest you.
If you think you would enjoy being an ultrasound tech then learning some about the educational requirements will help guide your decision.
Let’s start out by considering some of the good reasons to become an ultrasound technician and then go over the education requirements sharing the various degree and certificate options.
Being an ultrasound technician can be a rewarding and stable career with steady growth and advancement opportunities.
Here are some of the reasons why you should consider being one:
As an ultrasound technician, you would be responsible for the machine that records and produces images. You will also conduct tests, which will become the basis for the physicians to diagnose a patient.
Aside from pregnancy, the ultrasound technician is also called upon to record and produce images of the muscles, brain, lungs, breast tissue, tendons, organs, joints, and spinal cord.
You can also pursue further studies if you want to specialize in something. For instance, those who specialize in taking images of the heart, heart chambers, vessels, and heart valves are called cardiac sonographers. Those who specialize in producing images of the blood flow and blood vessels are called vascular sonographers.
However, you are not just simply taking images of the insides of the patient. You need to have a sharp eye and extensive knowledge of human anatomy so you can see any anomaly in the images. You will provide the initial diagnostic information for the physician to look at.
You will work in hospitals, clinics, laboratories, government medical centers, private doctor’s offices, among others.
There are several ways to build a career as an ultrasound technician. For example, you can get:
As part of your curriculum, you will study different medical-related subjects such as chemistry, biology, anatomy, physics, and physiology. These subjects are prerequisites to the major subjects in your ultrasound program. Depending on the school, you may need to have some background in healthcare or science before you can be accepted in the program.
However, high school graduates can also get a certificate or diploma.
You may encounter the following courses in your path toward being an ultrasound technician.
Take note, however, that you won’t encounter everything listed above. It will depend on your area of specialization.
A major requirement of this degree is the extensive on-the-job training, which will last from three to six months. This will allow you to gain practical experience in addition to what you learned in the classroom.
There are so many schools in the country that offer this program. So which one do you choose? Here are some of the things you should consider in choosing a school:
You will also need to choose between an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree on your way to become an ultrasound technician.
Knowing which degree plan you want to pursue will help you choose the right ultrasound technician school.
You can take an associate’s degree if you want to kick start your career immediately. You can enter the workforce in just 18 to 24 months. This is an entry-level position that can be a good choice if you don’t have enough budget to earn a bachelor’s degree.
You will have plenty of hands-on training with the equipment, as well as hours and hours of lecture on science subjects and patient care. A good ultrasound technician must know how to deal with very different personalities as they go about their jobs.
You can also choose a bachelor’s degree in medical sonography. The two extra years that you will spend honing your craft will only benefit you. Apart from what they teach you in the associate’s degree, you will also enhance your problem-solving skills, as well as get plenty of opportunities to enter the academe or take research projects. You can also choose to become a doctor should you want.
If you are seriously considering a bachelor’s degree, there are two options you can take:
You need a background in social sciences, college algebra, and English grammar as part of the curriculum.
You will study the following:
Apart from the classroom and laboratory, you will also undergo extensive on-the-job-training at a certified laboratory or medical facility.
With the associate’s degree, you can also pursue further studies for your specialization.
To practice your profession, you need to have a certificate in place of a degree in medical sonography. If you are earning a certificate, you need to have a college education, which is not required of the other certificates.
The program will last from 12 to 18 months, depending on what school you are enrolled in.
To secure a certificate in medical sonography, you need to have at least a bachelor’s degree as an undergraduate, or an associate’s degree in a health program relevant to your course.
A certificate program can be finished much earlier than a bachelor’s degree. However, it doesn’t mean that the teachings are half-baked. You will gain plenty of experience during the externship with the hospital, laboratory or clinic.
Regardless of what you choose, you need to finish the programs according to the prerequisites. The curriculum is designed that way so that the lessons you learn today will become the foundation of more lessons in the future.
You will have a great career as an ultrasound technician as the industry continues to expand. It’s an exciting time for the medical field, indeed.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook