Ultrasound Technician Career Profile

Ultrasound Technician (UT) are also be referred as an Ultrasonography Technician, or simply as a Sonographer. Their duties are much like that of the x-ray technicians or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technicians because they take pictures to find the source of the problems inside human beings. The difference lies in the way the internal parts of the body are imaged. In ultrasound technology, the reflected sonic sound waves are used to record the images of internal organs and tissues. UTs are required to have a friendly approach and pleasant demeanor with patients and they have to explain the procedure to the patients and make them feel comfortable at the imaging table.

Tasks

Ultrasound images help diagnose conditions by looking inside the human body to find anything. The most common use of ultrasounds is for pregnancy, but even cancer and cardiac issues can be monitored. Generally, the sonographers are searching for any abnormalities. The clarity of the images is enhanced by the technicians to assist the physician.

UTs also have to conduct some measurements and readings of appropriate areas and angles (as per physician's direction), perform calculations and an evaluation of the fetus based on the images taken by the sonography machines. They are required to prepare a report and deliver it to either the patients or the referring physicians. They are also responsible for the scheduling of patients, recording the patient and collecting data.

There are many different fields of sonography, namely Obstetrics/Gynecology Sonography, Breast Sonography, Echocardiography, Abdominal sonography, Neurosonography and Vascular Technologists.

Work Environment

An ultrasound technician is usually employed in hospitals, physician's clinics and medical diagnostic or laboratories. A UTs will also need to be able to manage patients when lifting, moving or shifting them throughout the day.

Educational Requirements

In order to become a ultrasound technician, you will need to complete either a two-year associate degree or a four year degree from an accredited college. The bachelor's degree, or 4 year degree, would appear better on the resume in the long run. UTs need not be licensed to work. However, there is a membership with a professional association like the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) that can assist with employment opportunities.

Ultrasound technology is rapidly expanding its horizons and thus it gives rise to new procedures and utilities. So, UTs are required to maintain their knowledge and to build on their skill set. They are often required to be re-certified and complete training courses after a few years.

Income

The average annual income of UTs, calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), is between $53,000 and $58,000 in 2004. The highest paid technicians have an annual income of $72,000. The extent of the salary varies with the location of the position, your experience, specializations or certification and the level of education. Apart from the salary, they are generally entitled to additional benefits including free housing, travel reimbursements, benefits and paid vacations.

The BLS has also predicted the growth of the employment of UTs to grow much faster than the average position. The main reason for the increase is our aging population and additional necessary care that will be required, as a result.