Have you ever seen a movie where the the Ultrasound Technician reveals to the excited and nervous parents the gender of their baby? Or maybe you’ve been in that room yourself, anxiously awaiting the news of whether you have a boy or girl on the way. This is the scenario most people think of when they consider Ultrasound Technicians. While this is an important and exciting part of their job, Ultrasound Techs actually do much, much more!
The field of ultrasound has many different specialties: OB/GYN, breast, vascular, cardiac, abdominal, ophthalmic, interventional, and more. Because of this range, students of Ultrasound technology can find a niche that best suits their particular interests and talents.
Ultrasound technology uses sound waves to produce images of internal organs, soft tissue, and blood vessels, as well as to observe developing fetuses in the womb. Ultrasounds are less expensive to utilize than many other imaging techniques (including MRI or CT scans), so ultrasound is often the preferred, first-option exam. Ultrasound technology is non-invasive and does not use radiation, so it is perfectly safe and harmless in trained hands.
Ultrasound technology depends upon the skill of the operator, so Ultrasound Technicians must possess a strong knowledge of human anatomy and physiology, as well as mastery of the technology itself. An effective ultrasound exam requires a well-trained operator who can correctly position the patient and record accurate images, distinguishing the normal anatomy from the abnormal. Ultrasound Technicians must take medical histories in order to guide their ultrasound examinations. Perhaps most importantly, they must be able to do all these tasks while directly interacting with the patient.
So what exactly does an Ultrasound Technician do? As skilled clinical technicians, Diagnostic Medical Sonographers, commonly called Ultrasound Techs, perform ultrasound studies ordered by physicians. They gather sonographic data in order to diagnose a variety of conditions and diseases. Ultrasound Technicians perform the appropriate procedures and record anatomical, pathological, and/or physiological data as well as the sonographic data and other relevant observations made during the procedure.
Duties of an Ultrasound Technician/ Diagnostic Medical Sonographers include:
- Verify patient history and health status
- Operate ultrasound equipment, record and analyze findings in real time during the exam, and communicate findings with interpreting and referring physicians
- Select and capture the best images, take measurements and make calculations
- Evaluate tests and images relating to a patient’s condition
- Communicate with patients and physicians as needed
- Consult with medical professionals on patient results
Approximately 60% of Ultrasound Technicians work in hospitals, while others work in private physician offices, outpatient diagnostic imaging clinics, medical and diagnostic laboratories and outpatient care centers. Ultrasound Technicians may be employed full- or part-time. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average pay for an Ultrasound Technician is $35.19 per hour, or $73,200 annually.
Securing a job as an Ultrasound Tech is a safe bet. Demand for less invasive diagnostic techniques continues to grow, so the demand for Ultrasound Technicians continues to increase as well. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects the field to grow by 26% through 2024. You can be a part of this growing field; at IBT Tech you can get your certification and be ready to enter this exciting and rewarding career!