Becoming an ultrasound technician usually involves pursuing a more general field in college, and taking classes and internships to move your emphasis toward diagnostic medical sonography. Schools do not offer bachelor’s degrees in “ultrasound technology,” but they do offer degrees in medical assisting in which you can learn the basics of ultrasound scanning and patient relations that you will use in an ultrasound tech career.
Additionally, there are several niche careers in diagnostic medical sonography that go by similar names, so if you’re interested in the field, you need to know what a sonographer does, versus what an ultrasound tech, radiology tech, or radiologist does. The medical imaging realm is littered with redundancies in job titles and functions, and having it all explained once can help you sort through your options for schooling and eventual employment.
An ultrasound technician is not the same as an ultrasound technologist. A radiographer and a radiologist are completely different. The terminology in medical imaging can be overwhelming. The following list attempts to clarify blurry terms and help you know what you’re getting into when you work towards being an ultrasound technician.
An important thing to remember is that Ultrasound Technician School is not a thing unto itself. There are ultrasound technician classes, and medical sonography classes, within other fields, but there are no schools dedicated only to training ultrasound technicians. If you want to be an ultrasound technician, pick a school that offers that as a specialty, and choose your main degree based on what kind of career flexibility or further education opportunities you want in the future.
A lot of people pay serious attention to popular rankings or “best colleges” lists when they’re trying to pick a school. While rankings and lists do offer some valid comparisons between colleges, they shouldn’t make your decision for you, because it is likely that the people releasing the rankings don’t have your particular values or needs in mind when they construct their lists. If you know what kind of info is used to build a particular college list, you know how much weight to assign it in your own decision process. Some of the data used by popular lists of “best colleges” include:
Looking into a school’s rankings can be a good place to start exploring colleges, but definitely shouldn’t be where you finish. For a niche concentration like ultrasound technology, it is best to talk to some successful professionals in the field, and ask where they were educated. Major employers of ultrasound technicians should have some idea of which schools turn out the most qualified graduates.If your school isn’t included in rankings or “best of” lists, you can always do your own research. The chart below depicts average retention rates of public and private colleges and universities in the U.S., and if you ask someone at your college of choice, they might be able to tell you more specific data about their own institution.
Ultrasound is rising in popularity as an imaging technique in medical facilities because of its significantly lower risk factors than radiographic technologies like x-ray. While the most publicly visible application of ultrasound is in obstetrics, where it is used to see unborn babies in the womb, to track their growth and diagnose abnormalities, there are many other applications of ultrasound technology which require specialized training and education. The four main uses of ultrasound technology for diagnostic imaging are:
The combination of ultrasound technology’s increasing popularity and robust growth across the medical industry in general bodes well for ultrasound technician jobs. Over 9,000 new jobs in the field are expected to be created over the next half decade.
Allied health careers are many and diverse, so do a little research before committing, and if what you really want is to be a doctor or dentist, but you don’t think you can afford it, think again! Becoming an ultrasound technician can be a great career, but make sure that, among the diverse options, it really is the one you want to pursue. Once you’ve decided, use the widget in this article to get connected with a school that can help you on your way toward a career as an ultrasound tech.
||Herzing University — With a 45 year history, Herzing University is an accredited university that offers associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees as well as diplomas in over 45 different programs. The AS in Medical Assisting program builds on the online diploma program by incorporating the general education requirements required for this level of degree. Herzing University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.|