Ultrasound technicians typically work full time. Like many in the health care field, their services may be needed on evenings, weekends or overnight.
In a formal training program you can expect to take courses in anatomy, physiology, instrumentation, basic physics, patient care and medical ethics. In addition, you will receive supervised clinical training.
Many employers prefer to hire job candidates who have received training from accredited programs. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs accredits diagnostic medical sonography programs. Search for programs on the CAAHEP site.
There are certain characteristics that make some people well-suited for this occupation. Working one-on-one with patients requires good interpersonal skills. An ultrasound technician must have good hand-eye coordination. He or she must be detail oriented. One also needs good physical stamina because he or she spends the greater part of each day standing and must also be able to lift and move patients.
Use the Salary Wizard at Salary.com to find out how much an ultrasound technician currently earns in your city.
A Day in an Ultrasound Technician's Life:
On a typical day an ultrasound technician's tasks will include:
- selecting appropriate equipment settings and directing the patient to move into positions that will provide the best view
- using a transducer, which transmits sound waves in a cone-shaped or rectangle-shaped beam
- looking for subtle visual cues, on a screen, that contrast healthy areas with unhealthy ones
- deciding whether the images are satisfactory for diagnostic purposes and selecting which ones to store and show to the physician
- taking measurements, calculating values and analyzing the results in preliminary findings for the physicians
- explaining procedures to patients
- keep patient records
- maintain equipment
- prepare work schedules
- evaluate equipment purchases
- manage a sonography or diagnostic imaging department
Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Diagnostic Medical Sonographers, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Healthcare/Diagnostic-medical-sonographers.htm (visited January 15, 2013).
Employment and Training Administration, US Department of Labor, O*NET Online, Diagnostic Medical Sonographers, on the Internet at http://online.onetcenter.org/link/details/29-2032.00 (visited January 15, 2013).