Ultrasound technicians are also called diagnostic medical sonographers, or ultrasonographers. They use ultrasound to diagnose the human body. When we hear “ultrasound,” pregnancy often comes to mind, because pregnant women would often get an ultrasound check-up. But what is ultrasound?
Ultrasound is defined as a cyclic sound with frequency greater than the upper limit of the human ear. It is, however, classified as a “normal” form of sound, with the only distinguishing fact that humans are not able to hear it. To be an ultrasound technician, one must undergo ultrasound technician training.
ULTRASOUND TECHNICIAN JOB DESCRIPTION AND TRAINING
What does ultrasound technicians do? These people help in taking sonography or ultrasonography images of patients to diagnose medical conditions. Their duties include operating sonography or ultrasonography equipment; adjusting and maintaining said equipment, directing patients to make movements that will take the best sonography images, much like a photographer to his model; recording the patient’s medical history; performing ultrasound testing in small areas as instructed by a physician; maintaining patients’ records; selecting the best areas for the physician’s review; and many more. The technician has to maintain all records, which are related to the ultrasound exam, such as pathology files, jackets, medical imaging requisites, daily logs, and patient charts. Responsibilities may include evaluation of equipment purchases, management of diagnostic imaging equipments and diagnostic imaging departments.
The job of an ultrasound technician, as described above, can be quite tedious, since handling ultrasound exams is tantamount to determining the condition of a patient and can lead to either life or death; therefore if one aspires to work as a technician, he or she must undergo certain training. An aspiring ultrasound technician must be proficient enough in operating complex medical equipment, and must have enough physical strength to lift or turn a patient while taking ultrasound images. A technician must also be efficient in operating ultrasound equipment, selecting the right technical factors, and exposing the film properly to get the highest quality ultrasound images. He or she must have good eyesight to select the best images to be reviewed by the physician, must have the ability to manage a complex work environment, and the most importantly, must have excellent patient interaction skills.
There are schools that provide the necessary ultrasound technician training accredited by the proper authorities. One can train in universities or hospitals. A background in science or health care is often required to get into the program. Those who graduate from ultrasound technician-certified programs receive a Bachelor’s Degree or an Associate Degree. The subjects usually covered in the training program include medical ethics, instrumentation, anatomy, physiology, basic physics, and patient care. In the United States, the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography, or ARDMS, gives accreditation to ultrasound technicians. Those technicians registered under the ARDMS are called Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographers, or RDMS.
REASONS TO BE AN ULTRASOUND TECHNICIAN AND THE OUTLOOK OF BEING ONE
The job of an ultrasound technician is growing popular because it earns from $50,000 to $65,000, depending on position held, experience, and location. The demand for this profession is also increasing in several hospitals because it is a highly specialized field. Also, the job stability is quite an important factor apart from the sizable pay, since the employment opportunities in this medical field is growing and is expected to grow faster than other occupations. Also, the safety factor of an ultrasound technician is greater than that of a radiologist, since the main instrument would be sound waves and not radiation. The profession also has the added advantage of not having a license required, no limitations to the job, the opportunity to live in the city, and the chance to help improve other people’s lives. That is why many who wish to have a stable paying job and are in the medical field are highly recommended to undergo ultrasound technician training.
The job outlook of an ultrasound technician lies in health care, one of the most stable career choices in the world. It was the largest industry in 2006, with fourteen million in salary-and-wage jobs and 438,000 self-employed. Though majority of the employers are hospitals, private healthcare facilities are also beginning to employ ultrasound technicians, making the demand grow bigger as more people undergo ultrasound technician training to seize the ever-growing job opportunity.