What is an ultrasound technician?
An ultrasound technician, also known as a diagnostic medical sonographer, uses sound waves to pinpoint a patient’s medical problems.
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Job description of an Ultrasound Technician
The specializations required for an ultrasound technician make it one of the most valuable jobs in the medical field. There are many different specializations that an ultrasound technician can choose. Some choose to specialize in gynecology, heart health, pregnancy, and many others. The main goal for any technician, regardless of specialization, is to examine the state of the organs, the health of the human body, and in some cases view a fetus in the womb. All of this is accomplished using ultrasound technology. Technicians are important because they help doctors diagnose and treat the medical problems of their patients. Those who specialize in pregnancy are also responsible for making sure that the mother and fetus are completely healthy and do not need medical attention.
Being an ultrasound technician can be very difficult. Each patient will have a different personality and requires a great amount of patience and communication from the technician. More than just knowing how to work the equipment, the technician must also maintain a clean work environment and prep the equipment for the next patient. Accurate records of all patient information is expected, as well as the ability to explain the procedure to each patient. Some patients may need to be coached throughout the process so that the technician can capture each image with clarity.
In addition to patient interaction, an ultrasound technician‘s job requires a fair amount of administrative duties including creating schedules and keeping a close eye on other ultrasound technicians that they work with.
How to become an Ultrasound Technician?
Like most medical jobs, becoming an ultrasound technician requires some form of higher education. Through this education, you will learn about the human anatomy and the correct operation of ultrasound technology. After graduating high school with a diploma or obtaining a GED certificate, future technicians can enroll in any CAAHEP certified training program. Depending on the program you choose, take into account the general education required courses that may include math, english, health, computer science, and physical or life science.
The CAAHEP, or Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education, is the most common certifier of ultrasound technician training programs. Through these accredited programs, you can obtain an associates or bachelors degree. Associates degree programs are the most commonly pursued track by students and typically take two years. The bachelors degree program will take four years, but offers a leg up on the competition. These types of degrees are very important when striving to advance in the field or simply looking to be hired by a competitive employer.
If you are a recent high school graduate or simply switching careers, you may choose to take a one year program that will offer a vocational certificate. You can finish these programs faster than a degree program, but they will not offer the same competitive edge. This option is best suited for those who are wanting to change careers quickly or only looking for an entry-level position.
Some colleges and universities may require the completion of a Certified Nursing Associate (CNA) before you can enroll in their Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (DMS) program. During your education, you will learn both in the classroom and through clinical training. Clinical training offers the opportunity for hands on experience, where you can apply what you’ve learned in the classroom. Taking an internship that will give you the chance to develop your skills in a real-life healthcare environment is also helpful. If you still want more experience, take advantage of any continuing education career opportunities or conferences that interest you. Once your work and designated hours are completed, you can enroll to take the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography exams. This test allows you to specialize in a certain area through extra certifications that may open up doors to higher salary rates and new career opportunities as an ultrasound technician.
Work Environment and Schedule
An ultrasound tech has many options for employment including hospitals, medical clinics, physician’s offices, and many others. This field has a a high expected growth rate with many new opportunities for ultrasound technicians in places like laboratories, nursing homes, and other care centers.
Many ultrasound technician jobs require a full-time schedule, however, you may be able to find a company willing to hire a part time technician. If you have built up a positive, well-known reputation, you may work at more than one place. Ultrasound technology is needed full-time because patients need this service at odd hours including nights, holidays, and weekends.
Sonography Tech Salary
The job prospects for an ultrasound technician are good. With the required ultrasound technology education completed, you can expect to find a solid job with a great starting salary. With additional certifications you can expect better career options and a higher pay rate. The average income for an ultrasound technician is approximately $65,400 a year (SalaryVoice.com). This average is influenced in the US by the state of residence and extremes in the economy.
The level of experience as an ultrasound technician will greatly affect your annual salary. With less than one year of experience, the average salary is $39, 340 a year. Those with one to four years of experience make an average of $46,462 a year.
The amount continues to grow as the technician achieves more experience. An ultrasound technician with ten to eighteen years of experience makes an average of $67,600 a year. Even though an ultrasound technician‘s salary depends on several different factors, your career can flourish by choosing a good employer. Some ultrasound technicians, having achieved some experience in the field, choose to work in an administrative or supervisor position. Others decide to further their education by working towards additional certifications in the field of ultrasound technology. The private industry is another great choice for an ultrasound technician.
Like in most jobs, there are extremes that affect the economic standing of a business. The lowest ultrasound technician salary is about $56,100. The highest salaries reach up to $80,100 or more. The median salaries in this field are between $61,510 and $74,100 a year. In addition to the base ultrasound technician salary, there are other benefits including paid vacation days, healthcare contribution, and a pension. These extras can add $95,050 per year to the salaried amount, however, bonuses are not awarded to these technicians. The average pay package, including these extra amenities, is $67,240 a year.
The ultrasound technician salary is influenced by the specific field of employment. For example, a technician working for a hospital can make $63,780 and a technician working for a physician’s office can earn $63,850. A technician working for an educational institution can earn $66,270. The career opportunities for an ultrasound technician are very good for each US state. This career offers many rewards, and requires education and certification to be successful.
Ultrasound Tech Salary in Canada, Australia and UK
Each country contains many different factors that may affect the salary range of a technician. The ultrasound technician salary in the UK is usually between £20,050 and £60,050 per year. Those working independently in the field can earn between £20,050 and £48,050 per year. These salaries depend on the place of employment and the amount of education the technician has received.
Those working in a hospital typically make between £26,050 and £40,050 a year. Ultrasound technicians working in the federal government make between £28,050 and £40,050. Private practices offer a little better salary ranging between £31,010 and £47,010. Someone who has completed a bachelors degree can make a salary of £65,010. As you can see, education plays an important role in this field.
In Canada, an ultrasound technician can earn between CAD$65,010 and CAD$75,010. The highest hourly wage is found in Calgary, Alberta, where a technician can make CAD$42.16 an hour. The lowest hourly wage is found in Quebec, Montreal, where a technician can make as low as CAD$19.05 an hour.
In Australia, the hourly wage for an ultrasound technician is typically between AU$28.23 and AU$59.61. These numbers are affected by the area of employment and type of employer. The number of years of experience you may have as an ultrasound technician plays a large role in the amount you can earn per year and the type of employment you can obtain.
Conclusion on Ultrasound Technician Salary
The growth in this medical field is higher than other fields due to the ever growing demand for this specialty and the development of new technology. Opportunities for ultrasound technicians will continue to grow throughout the next ten years as patients and doctors require the expertise of these professionals. The amount of experience a technician acquires will play a large role in job placement and salary amounts.
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