What does a Sonographer (Ultrasound Tech) do?
Like so many careers in the medical services industry, jobs in diagnostic health are booming. Experts in this expanding career are trained in the use of diagnostic imaging technology, an increasingly vital set of tools that helps doctors diagnose and determine patient care faster than ever before.
The seemingly unstoppable forward motion of technological advancements, high demand for care, and increased emphasis on personalized medical service means techniques in ultrasound, X-Ray, MRI (and the experts who know how to use them), are now more in-demand than ever before. Two promising careers in this rewarding and expanding industry include radiology technician and medical sonographer.
How to Become a Sonographer
The educational requirement for a Sonographer is an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.
The sonography education track requires two to four years of study with hands-on training in operating the necessary equipment. It’s true that some employers prefer a bachelor’s degree, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get started with an associates degree and work your way up from there.
For those who already work in healthcare and simply want to expand their skill set, 1-year certificate programs are also an option. Employers tend to seek out recruits from accredited institutes or hospital programs, and while you do not need to be licensed to work as a sonographer, getting your certification from a recognized institution such as The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) can help set you apart from other applicants in your field.
Job Description of a Sonographer
When most people hear the word “sonography” they think of ultrasounds, the technology doctor’s use to take images of fetuses during pregnancy. Actually, sonography has many applications in the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. The technique, which uses sound waves to produce medical images, is also often used in the abdomen, chest, heart and in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal problems.
As well as being responsible for operating the necessary machinery, sonographer’s help doctors by preparing patients for the procedure, keeping medical records, and helping read images to determine if consult by a physician is necessary. Some sonographers even offer assistance to physicians and surgeons during surgery.
Sonographers typically work a regular 40-hours-a-week schedule and are employed by hospitals, physician’s offices and medical and diagnostic laboratories. Similar to the above X-Ray technician position, this job can be physically demanding, keeping you on your feet and requiring you to help lift patients or machinery.