How to Become a Diagnostic Medical Sonography Certification Technician (2020)

A probe or transducer with ultrasound gel applied to the patient’s skin is used by diagnostic medical sonography certification technicians during a variety of diagnostic procedures on patients. Then, high-frequency sound waves are sent through the gel and into the body, where they are then collected by the transducer and processed through a computer to create an image.

Depending on where they work, ultrasound technicians may examine adults, children, or even animals. The most typical and well-known application may be to monitor the development of the fetus during normal prenatal exams. Although it’s not necessary, it’s strongly encouraged that you get certified in diagnostic medical sonography to conduct this work.

How Does
Ultrasound Therapy Work?

To obtain images of the inside of the body for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes, general ultrasound imaging is a painless, noninvasive, and safe medical procedure. High-frequency sound waves are used to create images, passing via a small transducer, or probe, and specialized gel that is applied to the skin.

Due to the patient not being exposed to ionizing radiation, ultrasound is much safer than x-rays. Real-time ultrasound imaging, often known as sonography, can give a clear view of blood flow as well as the shape and movement of interior organs. Unlike CT scans, which are essentially thin, flat cross-sections, which are what conventional ultrasound technology produces, recent technological advancements have made it possible for three-dimensional (3D) ultrasound to produce 3D images.

A sophisticated ultrasound method utilizing Doppler may be employed in specific circumstances. Doppler makes it possible to see blood flow in the body’s veins, arteries, organs, brains, and extremities more clearly.

There are three different types of Doppler: color Doppler, which utilizes a computer to transform the readings into a color image to illustrate blood flow direction and speed; power Doppler, which provides more precise blood flow information without directional information; and spectral Doppler, which measures blood flow as well as transforms the data into a sound that is heard with each heartbeat.

Doctors can diagnose a variety of conditions by using ultrasound tests to:

  • assessing signs and symptoms such pain, inflammation, and edema.
  • internal organs like the thyroid, eyes, heart, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen, kidneys, bladder, male and female reproductive systems, and the pancreas are all examined.
  • directing operations such spinal taps, amniocenteses, and needle biopsies.
  • An echocardiogram, often known as an echo, is used to diagnose cardiac diseases such as valve dysfunction, congestive heart failure, and heart attack damage.
  • locating blood clots, congenital vascular anomalies, cancers, restricted or blocked blood vessels, restricted or blocked blood flow to organs, and determining whether a patient is a good candidate for invasive procedures (often with Doppler ultrasound pictures).

A post-graduate one-year certificate, associate, bachelor, or master degree from one of the numerous approved ultrasound technology schools offered across the U.S. is required to pursue a career as an ultrasound technician or diagnostic medical sonographer. Of course, the more education, the greater the possibility for better salaries and more difficult positions.

Diagnostic Medical Sonography Certification Technician Career Information

The following are some of the duties performed by ultrasound technicians:

  • confirming the patient’s clinical background and state of health
  • ensuring the patient’s safety and comfort throughout the exam
  • ensuring the safety of the testing equipment and maintaining the equipment
  • Using the ultrasound equipment and guaranteeing the usefulness of the data obtained
  • assessing tests and pictures
  • supplying the patient with clear information regarding the operation and responding to inquiries
  • administering contrast material via an intravenous line if required for some examinations, with a doctor’s consent
  • maintaining high standards for patient care as they are formally stated before, during, and after the process
  • Finding and recording anomalies that might need additional testing or urgent attention
  • completing the necessary paperwork and documentation for the test
  • upkeep of patient medical records
  • filing claims with insurance providers
  • following a code of conduct for professionals

Ultrasound Technician Education

To work as an ultrasound technician certified in diagnostic medical sonography, you must have at least an associate’s degree.

You can get an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree by enrolling in a formal ultrasound technician education program at a community college, university, vocational school, or teaching hospital. You could also get a one-year ultrasound technician certificate if you already have an associate’s degree or higher in a healthcare-related profession.

Programs for ultrasound technicians)

There are a number of things to take into account when choosing an ultrasound technician program:

  • The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health/Education Programs (CAAHEP), which has recognized 150 programs nationwide, should grant accreditation. It’s crucial to realize that receiving accreditation entitles applicants to register for the widely accepted diagnostic medical sonography certification exam.
  • Admission requirements
  • Options for specialization because not every program offers every specialty, including vascular and cardiac ultrasonography
  • A program that provides lots of opportunities for practical application

After completing your study, you must pass certification exams in diagnostic medical sonography in order to become licensed and look for work.

Ultrasound Technician Jobs

There are many different job types in the ultrasound technology industry due to the various areas of specialization. Successful technicians have a variety of traits, including additional education and training, a dedication to lifetime learning and ongoing education, membership in professional organisations, high standards and ethics, and a positive outlook.

There are many different ultrasound technologist occupations, including:

  • Hospitals, imaging centers, and outpatient clinics are often the places where diagnostic ultrasound technicians and medical sonographers work. People frequently complete clinical education and training while earning their certification in diagnostic medical sonography to work in this field.
  • To train new technicians, ultrasound sonography educators are frequently used in colleges, universities, vocational institutions, and clinical hospitals. Depending on the position, a master’s or doctoral degree is often necessary, as well as retaining awareness of new and developing research and practical advancements in the field.
  • The role of a research ultrasound sonographer involves performing studies in fields including pathophysiology, newly developed equipment and/or procedures, and other related areas, and publishing the findings in scholarly journals.
  • The focus of an ultrasound application specialist is largely on the goods, technology, and instruments utilized to carry out ultrasound testing. Sales representatives, equipment demonstrations, installation supervisors, conferences or trade fairs attendance, marketing, management, and equipment training can all fall within the purview of this function.

While the majority of ultrasound technology professionals work in hospitals, imaging centers, or other similar establishments, there is also the possibility of working for oneself, on a per-diem basis, or under contract. This might be a choice for those who don’t need regular hours, like to travel, and meet new people.

Ultrasound Technician Training

The minimum educational requirement for ultrasound technician training is an associate degree from a community college, university, teaching hospital, vocational school, or military program.

Some ultrasound technologists go on to earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Along with formal education, internships, externships, and military service, training calls for at least 1,000 hours of clinical experience. Candidates must pass their qualifying exams in order to be certified in diagnostic medical sonography, which is required to work as a professional ultrasound technician, after meeting the educational and clinical requirements.

A one-year ultrasound technician certificate is available for persons who have at least an associate’s degree in another allied health discipline. After completing this program, which lasts between 12 and 14 months, participants must pass the required exams to become certified in diagnostic medical sonography.

How to Become an Ultrasound Technician

Most people believe that ultrasound technologists exclusively perform sonograms on expectant mothers in order to track the development of the fetus. Although this is a common application of ultrasound technology, ultrasound technicians also play a crucial part in the evaluation and diagnosis of a wide range of medical disorders in patients of all ages, including fetuses, infants, toddlers, adults, and elderly ones.

While non-invasive like x-rays, ultrasonography does not expose patients to radiation because it uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images. In addition, using ultrasound is significantly less expensive than using CT and MRI scans.

The procedure is not difficult if you’re wondering how to become an ultrasound technician. This training first and foremost calls for a formal education that emphasizes human anatomy and physiology as well as the specifics of every ultrasound technology and equipment.

Ultrasound technologists are highly skilled specialists that can accurately position patients, carry out required treatments, explain processes to patients and respond to their inquiries, as well as produce high-quality images. In order for the diagnostic physician to make an accurate diagnosis, ultrasound technicians must also choose and obtain the best images, collect measurements, perform numerous computations, and review preliminary results. However, you need to perform all of this while conversing with the patient.

Ultrasound Technician Salary

The average annual wage for ultrasound technicians was $70,880 as of May 2015, or $34.08 per hour, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average ultrasound technologist made $68,970 year, or $33.16 an hour. One of the highest paying careers you can get with just an associate degree, according to Monster.com, is ultrasound technologist.

Your ultrasound technician income will depend on your degree of education, the number of years of experience, the type of setting in which you work, and the state in which you reside, just like it does with any other profession. Also, if you specialize, you may be able to make more money than an ultrasound technician who performs broad sonography.

With an annual mean pay of approximately $96,000, California currently has the highest average ultrasound technologist compensation in the nation. Other states with high pay are:

  • California
  • District of Columbia
  • Oregon
  • Washington
  • Massachusetts
  • Alaska
  • Nevada
  • Maine
  • Colorado

But keep in mind that higher salaries typically correspond with increased living expenses.

On the other hand, the states paying the least for ultrasound technicians are Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, South Dakota, Iowa, West Virginia, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee, where the average yearly wage is just over $50,000. However, keep in mind that several of these states include sizable rural portions, and institutions there often receive lower wages than those in bigger metropolitan centers.

The average yearly compensation for ultrasound technicians in these states is lower than in other states, but it is still much greater than the average annual salary for almost all other occupations in the state.

For a , visit the BLS

The majority of full-time ultrasound technicians also receive great benefit packages from their employers, including paid vacation, sick time, life insurance, and medical and dental insurance for themselves and their families. These advantages all help to raise the overall salary of the techs.

According to the Association of Diagnostic Medical Sonography, over 25% of its self-employed members who work as ultrasound technicians make at least $100,000 annually. These ultrasound technicians’ gross salaries must be subtracted from their expenses in addition to typically having to pay for their own health and dental insurance, even though they appear to be significantly higher than the annual average.

Career Prospects for Ultrasound Technicians

The general shift toward using ultrasound testing as a potent non-invasive and radiation-free diagnostic tool makes the career outlook for ultrasound technicians promising. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts a 46 percent increase in job opportunities for ultrasound technicians between 2012 and 2022. This translates to the creation of almost 23,000 new jobs for ultrasound technicians. In fact, occupations as an ultrasound technologist outnumber those in all other allied healthcare fields by 18%.

The majority of jobs for ultrasound technicians are available in hospitals and ambulatory outpatient care facilities. The states having the most openings for ultrasound technicians, according to the BLS, are New York, California, Florida, Texas, and Ohio.

South Dakota, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Connecticut, and Florida have the largest concentrations of ultrasound technologists.

The rising demand for ultrasound technicians nationwide is a result of more and more doctors recommending the non-invasive, radiation-free scan as an alternative to other sorts of testing that would involve more invasive procedures. This has led to an increase in the need for ultrasound technicians nationwide.

The BLS predicts a 46% increase in ultrasound technician jobs between 2012 and 2022. This indicates that throughout this time, there will be an increase of over 23,000 new ultrasound technician jobs. New York, California, Florida, Texas, and Ohio currently have the highest demand for ultrasound technicians.

Ultrasound Technician Work Environments

The majority of ultrasound technicians work in hospitals, either fixed inside the radiology department or another diagnostic area, or on the go performing mobile ultrasounds on patients who are confined to beds and unable to be transported. The remaining work at research institutions, outpatient and ambulatory care clinics, medical laboratories, general practitioners’ or medical specialists’ offices.

The usual workday for an ultrasound technologist includes:

  • Getting the space and equipment ready for the patients
  • Confirming appointments
  • examining patient records
  • placing patients for the procedure and explaining it to them
  • Observing the screen and making the appropriate adjustments is part of administering the procedure.
  • Answering patient questions
  • film, tapes, pictures, or prints obtained throughout the procedure are processed and coded
  • completing forms and other paperwork
  • Shutting down equipment

Although while most ultrasound technicians work standard business hours, depending on where you work, you can have evening, late, or weekend shifts. This is especially true if you work in a hospital or other 24-hour institution to ensure coverage for emergencies. Additionally, there is a lot of room for overtime.

An ultrasound technician must be able to spend extended periods of time sitting, standing, or kneeling due to the nature of the work environment. When necessary, the tech should be able to assist in lifting or moving patients. Excellent vision, strong hand-eye coordination, outstanding interpersonal skills, and a thorough understanding of human anatomy and body systems—the latter of which the tech acquires during education and training—are all extremely desirable qualities.

Furthermore, it’s critical to understand that ultrasound technologists, like almost every other category of healthcare workers, could come into contact with infectious blood-borne viruses like HIV and hepatitis. They also have a moderate risk of developing repetitive use injuries or muscle strains from transferring patients into the proper position.

Diagnostic Medical Sonography Certification Schools

If you already have an associate degree in a field related to healthcare and want to change careers or increase your marketability, you can find accredited ultrasound technician schools all over the United States that offer programs for obtaining an associate degree, bachelor’s degree, or higher degree, or a one-year certificate.

Ultrasound Technician Schooling

Choosing the right location for your ultrasound technician education is one of the first challenges you’ll face after deciding to become an ultrasound technician. deciding on a program. You should make sure that any ultrasound technician school you are thinking about—whether it is at a university or college, community college, teaching hospital, or vocational school—is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). This accreditation certifies that the course and its faculty conform to a set of requirements.

You should also find out how many applicants are admitted into the program annually. This might help you get a sense of the competition you would face for a specific program. Finally—and obviously—you must be aware of the program’s price. However, there are financial options like student loans, grants, and scholarships available. Ultrasound technician training and education typically cost between $20,000 and $50,000.

Ultrasound Technician Schooling Specialties

One or more specialties are available to those pursuing formal education as ultrasound technicians:

  • In order to help with diagnosis in disorders like gallstones, pancreatic cancer, kidney stones, or liver cirrhosis, for instance, abdominal sonography is used to take images of the abdominal organs and soft tissue, such as the gallbladder, liver, pancreas, spleen, and kidneys.
  • Breast sonography is mostly used to evaluate the findings of clinical exams or mammograms in order to find breast cancer at its early stage.
  • To diagnose problems specific to these systems, such as artery dissections, tumors, hemorrhages, and other conditions, neurosonography acquires images of the brain and central nervous system.
  • Obstetric and gynecological sonography captures images to assess the wellbeing, growth, and development of a fetus, or images of a female patient’s pelvis and reproductive organs.
  • The ultrasound technician utilizes Doppler sonography to evaluate the direction, flow, and volume of blood to and from important organs while doing vascular sonography, which checks the arteries and veins for any anomalies or abnormalities.
  • Cardiac sonography inspects the heart and its main blood veins to determine whether the heart is working properly or to evaluate any damage caused by a heart attack.

Classes to Take for Ultrasound Technician
Programs

The majority of ultrasound technician programs provide courses like:

  • Abdominal Sonography
  • Sonography and ultrasound for obstetrics and gynecology
  • Cardiac Diagnostic Procedures
  • Vascular Sonography
  • Concepts of Ultrasound
  • Ideas of Equipment Usage in the Field of Ultrasound
  • Equipment Maintenance
  • Doppler Instrumentation and Principles
  • Sonographic Cross-sectional Anatomy
  • Diagnostic Medical Ultrasound
  • Medical Integrity in the Ultrasound Industry
  • Pathophysiology
  • Patient Care
  • Diagnostic sonography and physics
  • Ultrasound Instrumentation
  • All accredited programs must have a clinical practicum.)

More courses tailored to students’ specializations are offered in higher degree levels.

How Many Years of School to Become an
Ultrasound Tech?

The bare least amount of education needed to become an ultrasound technician is a two-year associate degree. For individuals who want to pursue a four-year bachelor’s or master’s degree in the subject, there are over 150 approved associate degree programs in ultrasound technology offered nationwide.

A one-year ultrasound technician certificate, which typically requires 12 to 14 months of full-time study to complete, is available to those who already hold an associate degree in another allied health field.

What Is the Difference Between an
Ultrasound Technician & a Medical Sonographer?

Similar to ultrasound, sonography makes use of sound waves to produce a visual image of an interior structure, organ, or aberration to help with a variety of medical diagnoses. In order to capture these images, the diagnostic medical sonographer additionally uses a transducer or probe that is positioned on a particular conductive gel on the patient’s skin. The distinction between an ultrasound technician and a medical sonographer is therefore mainly conceptual.

It is crucial to realize that although medical sonographers and ultrasound technicians make initial decisions about which images are appropriate to give to the doctor, they are not competent to diagnose, and doing so is against the industry’s code of ethics and can have negative consequences for the technician.

According to , the terms “ultrasound technician” and “medical sonographer” are, essentially, two titles for the same job. Along with “sonographer”, “ultrasonographer”, and “registered diagnostic medical sonographer (RDMS)”, the terms are interchangeable as they all perform the same function: relying on sound waves to collect images of inside the body to facilitate diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions.

Sonographer Jobs

Most sonographers opt to specialize in one or more areas because sonography may be utilized on so many different parts of the body. Abdominal sonographers examine organs such the gallbladder, bile ducts, kidneys, liver, pancreas, spleen, and the male reproductive system; neurosonographers examine the neurological system and the brain; breast sonographers assist with mammography to detect breast cancer, track tumors, check blood supply conditions, and assist with breast tissue biopsy; and ophthalmologists examine the eyes.

Difference Between sonography and
ultrasonography

There is almost any distinction between sonography and ultrasonography. A sonogram is a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses ultrasound to allow doctors to look inside the body. Ultrasonography creates an image that is known as a sonogram.

The ultrasonic frequency is greater than 20 kHz (kilohertz), which is the human audible range. Yet, both terms typically apply to the ultrasound process itself.

Difference between Sonographer and
Sonologist

In its simplest form, sonology is the study of sound. Sonology is the term used in medicine to describe the application of medical ultrasonography.

When comparing sonographer and sinologist, it may be claimed that a sonographer runs the ultrasound machine while a sonologist observes the scan and reviews the case; in actuality, the terms are interchangeable, along with ultrasound technician.

Sonography vs. Ultrasound Tech Salary

Sonography vs. ultrasound tech salaries are comparable because both roles are essentially interchangeable. The median ultrasound tech pay is close to $69,000, or just over $33 per hour, while the yearly mean compensation is almost $70,880, or just over $34 per hour.

How to Become a Diagnostic Medical
Sonographer

The path to becoming a diagnostic medical sonographer involves formal education from a community college, college, university, vocational school, hospital, or from armed forces service training, much like the path to becoming an ultrasound technician. Medical sonographers typically hold at least an associate’s degree. You can obtain an associates or bachelor’s degree if you choose to continue your study formally.

There are a few bachelor’s degree programs in this area, but the majority of the 150 recognized diagnostic medical sonographer schools in the US are two-year associate degrees. There is also the opportunity to earn a one-year vocational certificate, but many who do so are already working in the healthcare industry and seeking to further their education in order to raise their marketability.

Although no states at the moment have formal certification requirements for medical sonographers, the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) offers certification in diagnostic medical sonography, and most businesses prefer certified sonographers since they know they will follow the best practices and professional standards in the field.

Sonography Education Requirements

The
sonography education requirements in order to attend an accredited ultrasound
technician program include graduation from high school or having earned a
General Equivalency Diploma (GED).

Diagnostic Medical Sonography Certification Equipment

the following is typical ultrasound technician gear:

  • Sphygmomanometers, or blood pressure cuffs,
  • Aids for positioning and immobilization for use in general radiology
  • Doppler, echo, and medical ultrasound monitors
  • High frequency transducers and accessories for medical ultrasound, Doppler, or echo
  • A-Mode or M-Mode ultrasound machines, pulsed-wave Doppler ultrasound equipment, and two-dimensional Doppler ultrasound apparatus are examples of medical ultrasound, Doppler, pulse echo, or echography devices for general diagnostic usage.

Ultrasound and Sonography Professional
Associations

You might opt to apply for membership in one or more of the recognized ultrasound and sonography professional groups as a qualified ultrasound technician or diagnostic medical sonographer. These associations include:

  • The AIUM is the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine.)
  • The ARDMS is the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers.)
  • The ARRT is the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.)
  • The ASE is the American society of echocardiography.)
  • Vascular Laboratories Commission for Accreditation (ICAVL)
  • the Intersocietal Commission for the Certification of Laboratories for Echocardiography
  • Joint Review Committee for Diagnostic Medical Sonography Education
  • North American Radiologic Society
  • Pediatric Radiology Society
  • Vascular Ultrasound Society (SVU)
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonography Society
  • Interventional Radiology Society
  • Organization for Nuclear Medicine
  • Society of Ultrasound Radiologists

Diagnostic Medical Sonography Certification Facts

  • One of the best wages one may earn with just an associate degree is for an ultrasound technician.
  • Physicians are increasingly choosing ultrasound technology over x-rays, CT scans, and MRIs because it is less invasive, uses no radiation, and is a very powerful diagnostic tool.
  • By enrolling in one-year diagnostic medical sonography certification courses in various specialties, ultrasound technicians can always increase their knowledge and marketability.
  • Diagnostic medical sonographers and ultrasound technicians are fundamentally the same profession.

Whatever area of ultrasound technology you choose to specialize in, it will continue to grow quickly, creating a lot of new job positions that need to be filled by skilled candidates. The greatest education and the most qualifications are required for competent candidates in this fiercely competitive business. You might be well on your way to an exciting, difficult, and rewarding job as an ultrasound technician/diagnostic medical sonographer in as little as two years.

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