Ultrasound technicians, also called diagnostic medical sonographers or sonographers, use some of the most advanced diagnostic imaging technology available to assist doctors in many valuable medical services.An associate degree is often the minimum degree required in order to work in this field. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of commonly asked questions about how to earn the credentials you need and what educational path to take. To learn more about us and our site, please visit us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
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In order to become an ultrasound technician, it’s necessary to obtain the proper credentials. Many colleges and universities offer degree programs at the associates and bachelor level. These programs focus on medical imaging science, radiology, health informatics, and many other healthcare technologies. An online degree specifically for ultrasound techs is unlikely to be found. An entry-level degree that prepares students to become an ultrasound technologist is usually a medical assisting degree.
Most two-year associate’s programs in healthcare, medical assisting, health services, or health technology will prepare you for a career as an ultrasonographer, radiology technician, or other type of medical assistant, which may require additional training. These programs cover the fundamentals of sonography and ultrasound technology. Graduates are trained to work with and under the supervision of registered nurses, surgeons, and other medical professionals.
What’s unique about this field is the wide variety of degree programs that prepare graduates to become ultrasound technicians. Students can choose from associate degree programs in medical assisting or a Bachelor of Science in health informatics. The level of education a student chooses to pursue will determine the length of time required to earn the proper credentials. While both an associates and bachelor\’s degree will prepare students for a career as an ultrasound technician, a bachelor’s degree will lead to higher income and growth potential.
Students may also wish to obtain an ultrasound technician certificate with the American Registry of Diagnostic Sonographers (ARDMS). Earning certification is a highly desirable qualification and widely recognized by employers. While an associate\’s degree in ultrasound or ultrasonography is not usually offered, there are several viable alternatives to get you started in this field. They include:
Ultrasound technicians/technologists fall under the broader category of diagnostic medical sonographers, for which The Bureau of Labor Statistics has gathered substantial data regarding salary and employment outlook. The following data were gathered in May, 2008, and are the most recent that The BLS has published regarding sonographer salary and employment.
The salary of an ultrasound tech is significantly dependent on their level of education. An ultrasound tech with a subbaccalaureate degree or associate degree will probably earn less than someone with a bachelor’s or master’s degree, even if the higher degree isn’t in the field of sonography. Since sonographers often pursue medical assistantship or other allied health skills in school, while also learning ultrasonography, they can experience a lot of variability in career and salary options.
Since ultrasound technology isn’t its own major, not many scholarships exist that pertain directly to the field. There are, however, many general grants and scholarships available to students in any curriculum, including:
All students can fill out a FAFSA – Free Application for Federal Student Aid. A FAFSA is free, and provides eligible students with grants, loans, and work study opportunities. It is also is a pre-requisite for state financial aid programs. A FAFSA is also necessary to be considered for a Parent Plus loan. Basically, a FAFSA is a comprehensive form that breaks down financial aid eligibility and helps students assess their financial aid needs.
In order to fill out a FAFSA, applicants need to have the following documentation:
Once all documentation has been compiled and submitted online, students will receive a PIN number that provides access to award information. Based on the report, students can determine what school and program best suites both their financial and academic needs.