What's the Job Description of an Ultrasound Technologist?

Would you like to enter a career using medical imaging machines that don't use radiation? Would you like to learn what requirements are needed to earn a job as an ultrasound technologist? Continue reading to find out what skills and certifications are needed for most careers in diagnostic medical sonography. Schools offering Diagnostic Medical Sonography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Definition

Ultrasound technologists are also known as diagnostic medical sonographers. Equipment in this field uses sound waves to detect abnormalities in the human body. As an ultrasound technologist, you work under a radiologist (a specialized physician) by providing support using imaging hardware. You may focus on one specific area of the body, and identify the best images to present to the radiologist for analysis.

Important Facts About Ultrasound Technologists

Job Outlook (2014-2024) 26% growth (for all diagnostic medical sonographers)
Key Skills Social nuance, attention to detail, physical endurance, clear communication, problem solving, critical thinking, manual dexterity
Work Environment Hospitals, physician's offices, medical and diagnostic laboratories
Similar Occupations Radiation therapists, radiologic and MRI technologists, nuclear medicine technologists, medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Patient Interaction

The ability to understand patient needs is crucial. You are expected to know how to communicate tactfully, prepare patients for imaging, maintain patient safety, and provide ethical services. Ultrasound technologists must maintain patient comfort, show compassion, and maintain professional composure regardless of the patient's condition. Not only will you work with patients, but you may also interact with family members and other caregivers.

Equipment Use

This type of skill requires you to understand proper treatment preparation for the best possible image. You need to know how to read the imaging screen, properly place imaging equipment according to the scanning area, and adjust settings for optimized images. Your training may also allow you to recognize possible pathological areas prior to presenting images to the physician.

Record Keeping

As an ultrasound technologist, you will also be required to ensure current and accurate patient files. You may need to be proficient in recording relevant information and incorporating new results with old patient information. Excellent reading, writing, and data-input skills are highly valued for this career.

Related Certification

As in many medical occupations, you may need to be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid. The BLS suggests that many employers may require you to have active registration through American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) with the Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer designation. Your potential employer may require you to earn additional designation specializations, including neurosonology, abdomen, obstetrics and gynecology, fetal echocardiography and breast sonography. Various experience and education combinations fulfill the requirements for earning certification.

Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the median annual salary earned by diagnostic medical sonographers was $67,530 in May 2014. Sonographers working at specialty hospitals, except for psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals, made more than any other industry, with technologists and technicians earning $75,550 a year.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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