How to Become an Ultrasound Technician: The Steps Explained

young woman doctor is viewing an ultrasound result to test for visible trisomy 21 signs

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Ultrasound technicians in the sonography sector of radiology are in high demand these days. In fact, over the next ten years, the industry is expected to grow by twelve percent, which is much faster than the national average. After you understand how to become an ultrasound technician, you’ll be fairly pleased with how straightforward the process is.

With minimal education requirements, you can become an ultrasound technician and find employment in many subcategories. In this article, we’ll go over the main steps that you need to follow in order to become an ultrasound technician.

Are you interested in learning more? If so, then keep on reading and we’ll walk you through everything you’ll want to know.

1. Obtain Formal Education

It’s generally recommended that you at least get an associate degree in a health-related field before you receive your certifications. If you don’t want to go through a bachelor’s degree program, then you should look for schools the offer degrees in Health Science.

Some schools will even offer a degree program that’s more closely related to sonography, such as diagnostic medical imaging. After you’ve received or bachelor’s or associate degree, you can then think about what area of sonography you want to specialize in.

2. Pick a Specialty

When you become an ultrasound technician, you may have more possible areas of concentration than you realize. Other than prenatal health, there are three other sections of anatomy that need the assistance of a sonographer. Below are the other categories that you can concentrate in:

Breast: This type of sonography examines the breast area for indications of breast cancer.

Nero: This is a part of sonography that examines the brain and its functionality.

Abdominal: This kind of sonography examines the organs of the abdomen, (bladder, liver, and kidneys).

Vascular/cardiac: This kind of sonography is devoted to performing ultrasounds on the heart and blood vessels in the body.

Of course, you can also specialize in Obstetric/Gynecologic ultrasounds. This kind of sonography deals with the female’s reproductive system as well as prenatal health. It’s the one most commonly associated with ultrasound technicians.

As an ultrasound technician, you can specialize in more than one area. After you’ve decided what specialty you’re most interested in pursuing as a career, you can move on to thinking about the recommended certifications.

3. Complete Certifications

There are three main routes when it comes to finishing your ultrasound technician certification. All three offer their own unique programs with the goal of preparing you for your career as an ultrasound technician. You can even take an ultrasound class online.

American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography

The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) offers five certification courses that touch every section of sonography. You can get certifications in the following areas:

  • Registered Vascular Technologist
  • Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS)
  • Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS)
  • Midwife Sonography Certificate
  • Registered Musculoskeletal Sonographer (RMSKS)

In order to retain your certification, you’ll need to pay a yearly fee to the ARDMS. You’ll then need to reapply for this certification after six years.

Cardiovascular Credentialing International

Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) offers nine different certifications that are associated with cardiovascular sonography. These certifications are:

  • Registered Vascular Specialist (RVS)
  • Registered Cardiac Sonographer (RCS)
  • Registered Cardiac Electrophysiology Specialist (RCES)
  • Certified Rhythm Analyst Technician (CRAT)
  • Advanced Cardiac Sonographer (ACS)
  • Registered Phlebology Sonographer (RPHS)
  • Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist (RCIS)
  • Registered Congenital Cardiac Sonographer (RCCS)
  • Certified Cardiographic Technician (CCT)

To maintain your certification with the CCI, you must pay a fee after you have had that certification for a year. You will then need to show your continued education every three years.

American Registry of Radiological Technologists

The American Registry of Radiological Technologists (ARRT) provides a certification program that will the recipient get an advanced certification. With the ARRT, you can obtain the Primary Eligibility Pathway certification.

In order to maintain this certification, you’ll have to pay a fee every year. You’ll also need to classes every other year.

While each of the above programs is going to come with its own timelines and list of requirements, you should be able to complete the majority of certifications in one year.

4. Pick Your Preferred Work Environment

As an ultrasound technician, you will have the ability to pick between a variety of different work environments. You can work as an ultrasound technician in a medical lab, at a private practice, or in a hospital setting.

You’ll need to refine your search based on which settings are available to you.

5. Practice Your Interview Skills

With the help of a friend, you should think about what questions you’ll likely be asked in an interview. Then come up with answers to those possible questions.

You want to show that you can be personable since you’ll be working with doctors as well as patients. You also want to make sure that you have a well-organized and relevant resume.

The Importance of Knowing How to Become an Ultrasound Technician

Hopefully, after reading the above article, you now have a much better understanding of how to become an ultrasound technician. As we can see, as long as you dedicate the time and attention to this practice, the process of getting a certification should be fairly simple and straightforward. Just make sure that you have a good idea of what section of sonography you’d like to specialize in.

Are you looking for other helpful career articles? If so, then make sure to check out the rest of our blog today for more!

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