An ultrasound technician is sometimes called as a diagnostic medical sonographer. This technician’s main duty is to help diagnose different medical conditions using ultrasound technology.
Ultrasound technician job description and duties
Ultrasound technicians do more than just operate the ultrasound machine to help doctors make a diagnosis. They usually start with verifying the health condition and clinical history of the patients and analyzing relevant test and the resulting images. They also deal with the patients, explaining to them what happens during the procedure, answer their questions, and try to allay their fears. Ultrasound technicians serve as liaison between the patients and the interpreting or referring physicians if there are any concerns before the ultrasound procedure. They also consult other medical professionals and determine whether certain adjustments must be made to the procedure to get the best results.
As ultrasound technicians, they are responsible for administering contrast media through an IV line once it is approved. It is also their duty to follow patient care standards before, during, and after the ultrasound procedure.
During the procedure, they have to operate the ultrasound equipment and study the images in real time to ensure that only the best images are obtained. They move and assist the patients during the ultrasound to ensure that they feel safe and comfortable throughout the procedure. It is their job to minimize patient exposure to high-frequency sound waves. They evaluate the test results to spot both expected and unexpected results considering how the procedure was planned. They also have to verify whether all the test protocols and guidelines were met. When they find some unexpected results, they have to record such results, and decide whether further testing or medical attention is needed.
After the procedure, ultrasound technicians have to fill out worksheets that show the results of the tests to the physician.
Where does an ultrasound technician work
Ultrasound technicians usually work in hospitals, medical/diagnostic laboratories, outpatient centers, doctor’s offices, and other healthcare facilities. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the industry of general medical and surgical hospitals hired the highest concentration of diagnostic medical sonographers, which include ultrasound technicians. The other industries that hired many ultrasound technicians and sonographers include the offices of physicians, medical and diagnostic laboratories, outpatient care centers, and specialty (except psychiatric and substance abuse) hospitals.
Why should you become an ultrasound technician
There are a few good reasons to become an ultrasound technician. According to the BLS, the profession is estimated to grow by 39% between 2012 and 2022. This is way faster than the average growth for all occupations in the US.
Another reason to consider the profession of being an ultrasound technician is that most positions require only an associate’s degree. This means that after two years’ worth of schooling, one can start looking for work in the medical field right away.
There are also a lot of specializations within the field. The most common areas of ultrasound technician specialization include neurosonographers, abdominal sonographers, breast sonographers, obstetric and gynecologic sonographers, and musculoskeletal sonographers.
As for their compensation, they get a decent median salary of around $70,206, as of April 2015. These are only a few of the advantages of being an ultrasound technician.