How to Become an Ultrasound Technician

If you’re looking to enter the medical field and help others, becoming an ultrasound technician may be the perfect career for you. Ultrasound technicians use diagnostic imaging to help doctors treat their patients. If you’re interested in this field, read on to learn how to become an ultrasound technician.

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Becoming an ultrasound technician requires completing an accredited training program. There are many schools across the United States that offer accredited programs. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) are the two main organizations that accredit ultrasound technician programs.

What kind of education is needed

The type of education you need to become an ultrasound technician varies by state. Some states require you to have a certificate or associate degree from an accredited program, while others may only require certification from national credentialing organizations. Typically, programs last between one and four years, and include both didactic (classroom) and clinical (hands-on) training.

Where can I get this education

Ultrasound technician programs are typically two-year Associate’s degree programs, although some may be four-year Bachelor’s degree programs. You can find these ultrasound technician programs at many community colleges and some universities.


Many employers prefer or require their ultrasound technicians to be certified. Certification shows that you have the skills and knowledge necessary to perform the job. There are a few different ways to become certified. The most common way is to pass an exam administered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS).

What is certification

National certification is not required to work as an ultrasound technician, but some employers prefer to hire technicians who have earned the Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS) credential from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). To qualify for the exam, candidates must have completed an accredited educational program and completed a required number of clinical hours.

How do I become certified

There are several certification pathways available for those seeking to become certified ultrasound technicians. The most common certification is through the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS), which offers multiple certification exams. Once you have passed an ARDMS exam, you will be credentialed as a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS). There are also specialty exams available through the ARDMS for those who wish to focus their career in a particular area, such as cardiac sonography or obstetric/gynecologic sonography.

Other certification organizations include the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). These organizations offer similar certification exams as the ARDMS, and passing these exams will also credential you as a certified ultrasound technician. To be eligible to take these exams, you will need to have completed an accredited ultrasound technician program and have met all other prerequisite requirements.

Once you have passed a certification exam and become credentialed as an RDMS or equivalent, you will need to keep your credential current by completing continuing education requirements. These requirements vary by organization but typically include completing a certain number of continuing medical education (CME) credits every few years and/or passing a recertification exam every few years.

Job Opportunities

Ultrasound technicians, also known as diagnostic medical sonographers, use special equipment to create images or conduct tests. They may specialize in obstetric and gynecologic sonography, abdominal sonography, breast sonography, neurosonography, or cardiac sonography. Although most ultrasound technicians work in hospitals, some find jobs in physicians’ offices, outpatient clinics, or imaging centers.

What are some common job titles

Some common job titles in the ultrasound field are sonographer, diagnostic medical sonographer, vascular sonographer, and ultrasound technologist. An ultrasound technologist is a professional who uses special equipment to create images of the human body for diagnostic purposes. A sonographer is a medical professional who specializes in producing and interpreting images of the body using ultrasound technology. A diagnostic medical sonographer is a health care professional who specializes in using imaging techniques to diagnose and treat medical conditions. A vascular sonographer is a medical professional who specializes in using ultrasound technology to image the blood vessels of the human body.

What are the job outlook and salary statistics

The job outlook for ultrasound technicians is very good. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment in this field willgrow by about 17% between 2016 and 2026 – much faster than average for all occupations.1 This growth is being driven by advances in ultrasound technology, which are making this diagnostic modality increasingly useful in a variety of settings. As a result, ultrasound technicians are in high demand in hospitals, diagnostic imaging centers, and doctor’s offices across the country.

In addition to a growing number of job opportunities, ultrasound technicians also enjoy relatively high salaries. The median annual salary for this occupation was $70,880 in 2016,2 and the top 10% of earners made more than $94,350 that year.3 Salaries vary depending on experience, geographic location, and employer, but overall they are very competitive compared to other occupations in the healthcare field.

Furthering Your Career

Whether you’re just beginning your journey in the field of diagnostic medical sonography or you’re a seasoned veteran, there may come a time when you’re looking to further your career. There are many ways to do this, but perhaps the most common is to seek out more education in the form of a degree or certification.

What are some common ways to further your career

Most people in the medical field will further their careers by getting a higher degree, going into management, or becoming a specialist. Here are some common ways to further your career as an ultrasound technician:

-Get a higher degree: You can get a higher degree in ultrasound technology or in a related field such as medical imaging, diagnostic medical sonography, or radiology. This will give you more knowledge and skills to advance your career.
-Go into management: You can become a manager of an ultrasound department or of a hospital. This will give you more responsibility and authority.
-Become a specialist: You can specialize in a certain area of ultrasound such as vascular sonography, breast sonography, or fetal echocardiography. This will make you more expert in that area and increase your value to employers.

What are some common challenges you may face

As with any career, there are certain challenges that come along with being an ultrasound technician. Below are some of the most common challenges you may face in this field.

One of the main challenges you may face is finding a job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the job market for ultrasound technicians to grow by about 17 percent from 2016 to 2026. This is faster than the average for all occupations, but it still means that competition for jobs will be stiff. To increase your chances of getting hired, make sure you have completed a training program and have earned certification from a recognized organization, such as the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

Another challenge you may face is dealing with stressed or emotionally distraught patients. Many patients who undergo ultrasound procedures are anxious about what the results will reveal. As an ultrasound technician, it will be your job to help put these patients at ease and explain the procedure in a way that they can understand.

Lastly, you may find yourself working long hours or irregular shifts. This is especially true if you work in a hospital setting where emergency procedures are often performed outside of normal business hours. You should be prepared to work evenings, weekends, and holidays if necessary.

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