Diagnostic medical sonographers or ultrasound technicians operate the complicated and delicate machinery that makes ultrasound medical diagnosis and treatment possible. Ultrasound has developed in the last few years as a profound diagnostic tool that requires little to no invasion of the body and can give far more accurate results than most other testing methods.
Ultrasound technicians work in hospitals, doctor’s offices, clinics, and anywhere else where ultrasound diagnostic technology is regularly used. They operate the equipment required to perform these tests and read the results that are obtained in ultrasound diagnostics.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that job growth for ultrasound technicians will be 44 percent in the next ten years, much greater than the job growth rate for all jobs combined. Ultrasound technicians earn an average of $64,380 with a two-year college degree, making this one of the highest-paid jobs available for one of the shortest educational investments.
However, it is not easy becoming an ultrasound technician. These medical professionals must be intelligent and able to vie for positions in highly competitive training programs that may only admit a few students per year. In order to maximize your chances of becoming an ultrasound technician, it is helpful to know the facts about how to become an ultrasound technician, how much schooling will cost you, and what you must to do obtain a job in this field.
How Do I Become An Ultrasound Technician?
In order to become an ultrasound technician, you must first complete an accredited training program. These programs are two-year college degrees that are offered through many colleges, universities, and technical schools. Upon completion of the program, you will have an associate’s degree that allows you to take the state test to receive your license as an ultrasound technician.
While a test is required in some states to obtain certification as an ultrasound technician, in other states only the completion of an accredited program is required. Employers may have individual requirements for their ultrasound technicians as well, such as continuing education classes on a regular basis. Some states also require continuing education to keep certification as an ultrasound technician current.
How Much Does Ultrasound Technician Training Cost?
Ultrasound technician training is a great educational investment because your investment can be recovered very quickly after graduation and getting a job. Most ultrasound technicians hold a two-year degree, and this means that ultrasound technicians spend far less on their education than other healthcare professionals who need a four-year degree or even more education in order to complete a course of study.
At most schools, credits cost between $75 and $500 per credit hour. If an ultrasound technician program encompasses 125 hours of coursework, the cost for an ultrasound technician degree would range from $9,375 to $62,500. However, this does not include incidental costs such as books, food and lodging while in school, and travel expenses. You can add in at least another twenty percent to your tuition bill for these costs, so ultimately your degree may cost you as much as $75,000.
You can offset much of this cost with student grants and loans. Grants do not have to be repaid so you should investigate those before turning to loans. You may also negotiate with an employer to repay some or all of your student debt; many healthcare employers are willing to help students with their tuition costs in order to secure well-qualified ultrasound technicians. Because of the high demand for employees in this field and the relatively low number of qualified applicants, employers are often willing to pay bonuses or other perks to good ultrasound technicians.
What Qualities Should An Ultrasound Technician Have?
Like many other healthcare professionals, ultrasound technicians must have good attention to detail and excellent organizational skills. Ultrasound technicians keep up with a wide variety of information including patient records, so it is very important that they keep their records straight in order to avoid unnecessary or dangerous complications with their patients.
Ultrasound technologies require a high degree of technical understanding and dexterity. Ultrasound technicians must understand how to operate the complicated equipment used in ultrasound diagnostics, be able to read the results obtained from the tests, and be able to tell if the equipment is working properly.
Ultrasound technicians should also have good interpersonal skills. Most people who are in the hospital for testing are not feeling their best, so it is important that ultrasound technicians be adept at dealing with people who may not be in the best moods while still keeping their own positive attitude.
Choosing a career as an Ultrasound technician can certainly be rewarding. To learn more about Ultrasound Technician schools do a search online for accredited schools and speak to college advisors about your degree program options.