Ultrasound Technician Careers

Written by NS StaffJuly 14, 2011
Ultrasound Careers

When you hear ultrasound technician (also known as sonographer or ultrasonographer), you might first think of babies. And you would be right. But as an ultrasound technician, you would also have the opportunity to aide doctors in discovering cancer, heart disease, and other life-threatening illnesses in patients.

Sonographers are trained to use specialized equipment that produces dynamic images of internal body structures and organs by directing high-frequency sound waves into body tissues. Using the skills learned in ultrasound training school, they place patients in the correct positions and select the best images to pass on to doctors for diagnosis. Many ultrasound technicians specialize in a specific area of medicine, such as obstetrics/gynecology, echocardiography (the heart, valves, and blood vessels), ophthalmology, or neurosonology (the brain and spinal cord).

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Schools to consider: 

To become an ultrasonographer, you will need to get your associate's or bachelor's degree from a trade school, community college, or university. Ultrasound degrees usually take about two years, but there are accelerated study programs available. Classes will include biology, anatomy, and other medical topics as well as hands-on experience with ultrasound machines. Many sonographers take the voluntary certification exam with the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers as an extra mark of confidence for their patients and medical coworkers. In fact, some employers require their sonography techs to have ARDMS certification.

The job market for ultrasound technicians has grown a lot in the past 20 years, and it's expected to keep growing. Sonography is being used more and more by healthcare providers, as patients and doctors alike view it as a safer, less invasive alternative to x-rays and other diagnostic methods. In addition, new sonographic technology - such as 3-D sonography - will create further uses for sonography and could lead to even more growth in ultrasound jobs. As an ultrasound technician, you can work in hospitals, clinics, and physicians' offices. You'll run the machine, keep records of the images, and record patient histories.

Salaries for sonographers range depending on area of specializing and place of employment. The average annual salary is more than $61,000 (including both hourly salary and overtime pay). The average hourly rate is $29. 

To find out more about starting your new career as an ultrasonographer, check out the list of ultrasound schools below. Click on any of the links to request free information.

St. John Health
Ultrasound Careers

Ultrasound Technician Schools: