Perhaps the smartest way to find your true ‘calling,’ or career, is to first examine your interests – what excites and moves you to want to learn more. These interests should then be coupled with a career choice that will provide you the forum to use your skills and training, as well as provide stability and the opportunity for growth. Of the ten fasting growing jobs on the market today, seven of them are in healthcare. The healthcare field has remained stable and is predicted to skyrocket.
If you have always wanted to help others, and desire a career where you can work closely with patients, a career as an Ultrasound Technician may be perfect for you. This exciting career offers daily interaction with patients and staff, providing new and interesting challenges each day. You will enjoy the opportunity to truly help others, reflecting your caring nature. The skills you possess will be instrumental in the continuity of patient care, assessment and testing, and allow you to be one in the chain of committed healthcare professionals working with that patient. At the end of each day, you will know you really made a difference in someone’s life.
Unlike other testing which can expose patients to radiation such as x-rays, sonography technology is harmless. Also known also as an ultrasound, sonography provides internal images of a patient for diagnosis or treatment. The manner in which the images are obtained is by high frequency sound waves. A transducer, a small device, is placed on the skin in the area to be imaged. Frequently, a lubricant is used so the transducer can easily glide across the skin. The transducer transmits the high frequency sound waves, unheard by the human ear, into the patients’ body. These waves form an image of the internal organs or tissue inside the patient. The body’s structure, skin and organs, bounce off differing sound waves, which are then analyzed by a computer. The resulting image is viewed on a television screen.
The Ultrasound Technician uses this equipment to obtain the internal images of a patient, which are then used for diagnosis and treatment. Working closely with the patient to calm any fears as well as explain the procedure, an ultrasound technician is able to provide a wonderful bedside manner. The ultrasound technician will discuss the patients’ medical history with them, accurately charting it. The ultrasound technician will also take the patient’s measurements, as well as perform calculations and values. This analyzed information, along with the medical history and any diagnostic testing, will be completed in written and oral form for the physician and other health care professionals involved in the patients’ care.
Because ultrasound technology is so helpful in the diagnosis and treatment of patients, many areas of healthcare use sonography regularly. For heart patients, echocardiography evaluates the their heart without invasive or painful procedures. Ultrasound technology is used for diagnosis of many areas of the human body from the brain, neurosonography, to the abdomen, eyes, and even blood vessels, vascular technology. Perhaps the most well –known area of ultrasound technology is in obstetrics and gynecology. Ultrasound technology is used to determine the sex of unborn babies. As an ultrasound technician performing the imaging, you will witness and participate in the warm and emotional first views parents have of their unborn child.
To join the healthcare profession and become an ultrasound technician, you must first begin your search of schools, vocational schools, colleges or universities. It is important to note if the school you are interested in is accredited by the Commission on Accreditations of Allied Health Education Programs. This accreditation ensures the education you receive is the very best for a successful future in this field.
There are two types of degrees available for an ultrasound technician. The first, an Associate’s degree, is a two year program most chosen by those entering this field. The second, a Bachelor’s degree, is more advanced and is a four year program. The Bachelor’s degree, because it is more advanced, may provide you the tools to advance further in a managerial role.
The military offers training for ultrasound technicians, as well as many programs that offer one-year certification. Perhaps you have never worked in the healthcare field before, or maybe you work in a related field and wish to expand your knowledge of ultrasound technology. A one year program may allow you to learn if this career field is the right choice for you. However, these programs are not accredited.
During your education, you will learn human anatomy, obstetrics, path- physiology, as well as training in the ultrasound machines / equipment you will be using. Along with classroom work and study, you will also have clinical studies. These are performed at designated hospitals and are in addition to your time spent in classroom.
While certification is not necessary, a smart choice upon completion of your education may be to register through the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS). In order to register, your schooling must have included clinical studies. To register, you will be given an exam which will test you on your procedures, tasks and coursework you received through your schooling. After passing the exam, you will then be registered. While each state may not require this registration, the ARDMS registry can greatly improve your chances of employment. The ARDMS allows you to obtain certification in a particular area, such as obstetrics. Continuing education requirements are required to maintain your registry.
As an Ultrasound Technician, you will enjoy a salary that averages nationally around $64,000. There are variables that affect this amount. An Associate’s degree averages $ 40,000 while a Bachelor’s degree may allow you to enjoy a higher salary range of around $62,000 annually. The job growth for this field is projected to increase by almost 20%, ensuring you will be in high demand as an ultrasound technician.