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Ultrasound Technician Job Description: What You Need to Know

ultrasound technician job description

The demand for sonographers and ultrasound technicians continues to increase. The growth rate for these positions is about 14 percent, far higher than the average for other professions. A recent report showed that there are about 134,000 such positions available throughout the country.

You may be interested in this profession but unsure what it entails. There are many different responsibilities that are distinct, with others that overlap with similar health worker jobs.

Below is a basic ultrasound technician job description. It explains what these professionals do on a daily basis as well as the training required to become one. Keep reading to find out if it might be a good fit for you.

Basic Ultrasound Technician Job Description

Regardless of the unique field in which you work, there are some basic ultrasound tech responsibilities. In general, this starts with being able to communicate with patients. Technicians must be able to explain what the ultrasound procedure involves and the medical goals they wish to achieve.

Doing an ultrasound entails spreading ultrasound gel on the patient’s skin and manipulating the transducer. These imaging procedures require training, skill, and knowledge about operating the ultrasound equipment.

Other responsibilities include evaluating the images. This helps ensure quality and that the intended area was captured.

Ultrasound technicians also are responsible for presenting the images to the appropriate healthcare staff. They also should expect to be able to explain different aspects of the findings to physicians.

Finally, ultrasound technicians must record medical notes. They are expected to maintain patient records related to the ultrasound procedure.

Valuable Ultrasound Tech Qualities

Ultrasound techs can work in a range of medical fields. This often can include fast-paced environments but not always.

Many positions also require working longer shifts, such as 12-hour ones, but this too can vary by field and location. Ultrasound techs may need to be flexible in terms of work environments and schedules, especially when they are first starting out.

The flip side is that, once an ultrasound tech gains some experience and becomes more established, positions may be more flexible. As your career advances, you will be able to choose between a wide variety of work environments and options.

Ultrasound techs need excellent hand-eye coordination. In addition to performing the tasks described in the section above, they will need solid decision-making and problem-solving skills. They also should be able to communicate effectively and work under pressure.

Ultrasound techs must be able to maintain the highest level of confidentiality. That is because they regularly engage with personal patient information that is protected by law.

Ultrasound Educational Requirements

Most ultrasound tech positions require a minimum associate’s degree, though some may prefer a bachelor’s degree in the related field. There are also one-year certificate programs for individuals who work in another healthcare field.

These are for people who already have related background education but want to make the switch to ultrasound tech. This allows them to gain specific skills without having to complete another formal degree program.

There are national organizations that provide certification for ultrasound techs. These include the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography. While this may not be mandatory for some positions, many clinics and hospitals prefer it.

Most states only require professional certification for ultrasound tech practice. However, there are four that demand their own licensure. These are New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Oregon.

Finally, like many healthcare positions, an ultrasound technician’s training is ongoing. Pursuing continuing education and professional development can help them stay up-to-speed on the most current and innovative technologies and techniques needed to perform their job well.

Ultrasound Technician vs Sonographer

The terms “ultrasound technician” and “sonographer” are often used interchangeably. That is because they share very similar responsibilities. However, there are a few distinctions between a sonographer and ultrasound technician job description worth noting.

In general, “ultrasound technician” is a more generalized term. It refers to using ultrasound technology to monitor various medical conditions in the body.

This could be creating an image to help physicians assess the status of an illness or injury. It might be for images that aid in monitoring fetal health during pregnancy.

Ultrasounds can also provide insights into different aspects of a patient’s physical health. They allow doctors can make a diagnosis and put together a treatment plan.

Sonography is a particular field of ultrasound technology. It focuses on using ultrasound images to diagnose, monitor, and treat diseases that affect the soft tissues. This often includes major organs in the body.

For example, sonographers might provide oncologists with images of parts of the body affected by cancer. This can help the doctor evaluate the spread of cancer or the status of an affected area.

In general, sonographers must complete the same educational requirements and certifications as ultrasound technicians. They likely must pursue additional training as well. This is often specific to their specialization.

For instance, a sonographer may first complete basic ultrasound tech education. If they want to become a diagnostic medical sonographer they might pursue additional training in that particular area. Besides oncology, common ones include cardiology or neurology.

How Much Do Ultrasound Techs Make?

The median annual salary for ultrasound techs is just under $79,000. The highest-paid technicians make upwards of $166,000 per year. The industry with the highest pay rate for ultrasound techs is outpatient care centers, which have an annual average salary of over $113,680.

The annual salary or hourly rate will vary based on qualifications and experience. It also will be impacted by where you live, including the demand for technicians and the type of experience needed.

Find an Ultrasound Technician School Near You

Now that you understand what an ultrasound technician job description entails, you can determine if it is the right career for you. Becoming an ultrasound tech can spark a healthcare career that is both exciting and rewarding.

Healthcare Career College was founded in Paramount, CA, in 1990. Our goal is to provide a fast and direct path to employment for a variety of healthcare fields, including ultrasound tech. Reach out to us today to learn more.