Do you want to join a fast-growing health profession that doesn’t need a medical degree? If so, you should consider becoming an ultrasound technician.
As you may know, ultrasound techs often work in prenatal medicine. They also perform vital diagnostic imaging.
The requirements for how to become an ultrasound technician are fewer than those for many other medical professions. This makes a career in ultrasound imaging accessible to everyone.
Ready to start pursuing this rewarding profession? Here are the five steps to becoming an ultrasound technician that you should start taking today.
1. Attend College
While there isn’t one specific degree needed to become an ultrasound technician, you will need to attend some amount of college. Most programs will accept applicants with either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a related field.
Some schools offer a specific program in diagnostic medical imaging. Others have condensed one-year ultrasound technologist certificate programs. The classes needed to become an ultrasound technician will depend on your state’s requirements.
2. Pick an Ultrasound Specialty
Ultrasound techs work in a wide range of medical fields.
Most people are familiar with Obstetric/Gynecologic ultrasound. This is the specialty that works with pregnancy and women’s reproductive health.
If you want to work in women’s health but aren’t interested in obstetrics, consider breast sonography. This specialty focuses on cancer screenings and is useful for early detection.
Other sonography specialties include:
- Neurosonology: examines the brain and spinal cord
- Abdominal sonography: examines organs and tissue within the abdominal cavity
- Echocardiography: uses EKGs to check the heart, blood flow, and associated structures
- Vascular sonography: evaluates blood flow in parts of the body away from the heart
- Opthalmology ultrasound tech: works with ophthalmologists to diagnose problems in and around the eyes
Some ultrasound techs specialize in two or more related areas. For example, an echocardiography tech may also learn vascular sonography.
3. Get Certified
Once you’ve chosen a specialty, it’s time to get certified in it. Your certification can come from one of three agencies:
- American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers
- American Registry of Radiologic Technologists
- Cardiovascular Credentialing International
The typical certification process involves a year of specialty training and exams. If you graduate with a degree in diagnostic medical imaging, getting certified may be part of your standard coursework.
4. Apply for Work
Now it’s time for all your hard work to pay off! Once you’ve graduated from your degree and certificate programs, start applying for work in your chosen specialty. The most common places to find ultrasound jobs include hospitals, private practices, and specialty clinics.
5. Keep up With Continuing Education
As with other medical jobs, having a degree and certificate doesn’t mean you’re done taking ultrasound classes. After getting hired, you’ll need to complete continuing education courses to prove that you’re still learning about the field. Thankfully, you can do many of these courses online at your own pace.
Follow These Steps Toward Becoming an Ultrasound Technician
Becoming an ultrasound technician isn’t as hard as you might think. If this rewarding career sounds interesting to you, contact local colleges and hospitals in your area to learn more.
Are you still looking for insight into potential careers and their educational requirements? Take a look at our other articles for more informative content like this.