Why choose an ultrasound technician school?

Ultrasound Technician SchoolsLike any skilled profession it takes a lot of time and effort to learn the necessary skills in order to become proficient and qualified. Although sonographers have the opportunity to undergo some shorter courses (around 2 years) compared to some other medical careers, their career is no less skilled or important. So how can these programs teach sonography in these timespans and what are the benefits of learning at an offline or online ultrasound technician school?

What does a sonography school teach?

Well if I really wanted to write a short article, I could simply say it teaches people how to become an ultrasound technician and finish right here. However given that I can imagine a lynch mob with pitchforks charging my door and I quite enjoy the use of my legs I’ll explain further.

For anyone who has been researching into these schools you will have read that the first and most important part of your research is to find out if both the school and training program you are looking at is accredited. Although yes it is possible to become a technician without accreditation, the job prospects are far better for those which are accredited and this is one of the main ways you can easily increase your sonographer salary.

The actual course content that the program provides will vary between institutions however being accredited they will all cover the generalities that are needed in your future day to day work. This is one of the major benefits for this kind of program, although in other subjects education can be quite theoretical with little grounding in real world application it is not so for sonography training programs. Due in part to the time constraints they have cut the course to the essential training that is required to do your job efficiently, accurately and safely in a real world environment. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Human physiology and abnormalities.
  • How to use an ultrasound machine and maintain it
  • Scanning methods and techniques
  • Administration such as how to complete patient reports and medical records
  • Bedside manner and providing quality patient care

This is just a preliminary listing and if you look at any ultrasound technician college prospectus they will provide a far more detailed course structure and information such as in this video.

How can they fit all this sonography training into such a short timeframe?

Although there are short courses available, some for as little as one year, they are not all this length. It is possible to undergo a full degree program which takes 4 years and is another way to increase your earning potential in the future. This course is obviously more detailed and provides a far better overview of the subject than the shorter courses; however there are reasons why you can practice the same career with a shorter training time. The 1-2 year courses often require several prerequisites that can mean you do not start from scratch knowing nothing about medicine or biology. This allows the schools to cut out some of the beginner knowledge that might be included in longer courses.

The main reason is however that they are vocational courses with a period of internship at the end. Technically you could say that this is still included in any training programs length however I would disagree. The internship is a paid job opportunity where you will be essentially working in your chosen career path. The only difference from that and being fully qualified is that you will be watched by an experienced sonographer while practicing. This way of learning can be of great benefit to those who learn better while doing as opposed to sitting in lecture halls listening to theory rather than doing it with their hands. It is also of obvious benefit to those who want to change career path however need to pay the bills and so wish to get paid work as soon as possible.

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Top 10 Reasons to Become an Ultrasound Technician (Part 2)

Ultrasound Throat ScanThis is the 2nd of a 2 part mini-series of the top 10 reasons to become an ultrasound technician. If you are new to the series and would like to read the whole article please read part 1 first.

As talked about in our previous post, we deem becoming an ultrasound technician one of the best career choices you can currently make. We went over the salary benefits, job security advantages and personal fulfillment reasons that make this career path a great one to explore; however we had a difficult time choosing between just 5 points. Due to this we have this 2nd part of the article that allows us to expand and explain some other interesting facets of the job.

6. Work in an innovative environment of constantly evolving opportunities

If variety is the spice of life, sonographers must work in a curry house. The job itself relies on cutting edge technology, and as with anything related to technology, it is rapidly evolving and improving both in terms of equipment and technical procedures. As seen with the invention of <a href=”http://modernultrasoundtechnician.com/3d-and-4d-ultrasound/”>3 and 4 dimensional ultrasound</a>, these new procedures can provide extensive advantages even beyond better diagnosis.

It has been repeatedly proven for instance that providing mothers with a 3D ultrasound can actually aid bonding between parent and child. While new uses for these technologies are still being thought of, other innovative ideas are already moving forwards.

For instance recently mobile phones have been used as part of a remote ultrasound scanning package where, miles from any hospital or laboratory, sonographers were able to scan a patient and send the information back to a central processing hub for examination. There are many advantages for technology such as this, from lowering the cost of equipment to simply enabling easier scanning, as the sonographer can focus on the patient scan without having to worry about identifying issues on the image simultaneously.

As with any rapidly advancing career, it is highly important that a sonographer undergoes regular ultrasound training programs in order to stay up to date with the latest procedures and advances in order to provide the best quality patient care. If you love learning new things, this job will provide just the solution to scratch that itch.

7. Keep fit

One quite surprising advantage of becoming an ultrasound technician is that you get to stay in shape. It is not something that most people would associate with a sonographer, getting a lot of exercise at work, but it is a key component of the sonography role. In fact in the course guidance given to anyone investigating studying in the area, the prerequisites are listed as needing to lift 50 pounds routinely, push and pull the ultrasound machine, help patients onto and off examination table, have full use of both hands and be able to bend and stoop.

If the idea of sitting at an office desk doesn’t appeal to you as you like to keep active and exercise to keep fit, you can happily tick that off your check list.

8. Choice of specializations

During training and throughout a career, a sonographer will focus on one of several specializations. They do this so that the training they receive can be more detailed and in depth about that region of the body, so that the technician doesn’t miss anything that could be important during a scan. Due to the high level of responsibility associated with sonography it is a strategic choice they make not to be a jack of all trades.

This specialization is a personal choice and it is recommended that each student chooses the one they feel most attracted to, and suits their individual style. The specializations vary across the entire breadth of the human body, from the brain and neurosonology to abdominal and obstetrics (pregnancy) alongside many more. We have more detailed information on the different specializations available in an earlier post.

It is never nice to feel pressured or forced into a certain area or aspect of a career that you do not like or are uncomfortable with. This choice allows the sonographer as an individual to stay in charge of their own career path and future, which for us is a very big plus.

9. Great opportunity for advancement

The promotion prospects in the area of sonography are great. We have already discussed the expected growth in the industry until the year 2020. Growth creates more jobs, and more people to manage. It is not unusual for experienced sonographers to advance and take on managerial responsibilities. In fact due to the desire for hospitals and physician offices to keep hold of good sonographers, they realize that providing a route for ambitious workers is a necessity.

10. Flexible path to qualify

Diagnostic medical sonography is a great path to take if you would like to enter a medical career, but dislike the standard idea of studying for 4-6 years to attain certification. The route for an ultrasound technician can vary from a relatively short 1-2 year course up to 4 years to obtain a full Bachelor’s Degree.

While this can seem to contradict my earlier statements about the complex and highly skilled, responsible job that this is, it’s because these courses are designed to be a more vocational training. They have been distilled down so they teach you current, active, modern procedures and techniques that you will use on a daily basis. These are not theoretical courses that you may never use again.

After the initial training it is usual to undergo an internship for 1-2 years so that you can gain paid direct word experience training under the eye of a currently practicing sonographer. You can read more about this subject on one of our previous articles.

That completes our 10 top reasons to become an ultrasound technician. Although I can’t promise not to get excited over this subject again and post a few more reasons one day…

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Top 10 reasons to become an Ultrasound Technician (Part 1)

Ultrasound TechnicianAs anyone who has read some of our other articles on this site can tell you, we think that undertaking a career as an ultrasound technician is a great choice. But that isn’t just our opinion, it’s a proven fact that we back up time and again throughout our posts. For those of you that are new to our site or haven’t yet read our other pieces, here is a summary of the top 10 reasons why you should strongly consider becoming a diagnostic medical sonographer.

1. Helping others in a fulfilling career

We had a tough discussion at the start of this list, what could make it to the top, what do we really think is the most important. There are many reasons to enter a medical career, but the real force behind it should be helping people. Sonography isn’t just a job, your helping people who have a problem, to get better. You can definitely go home at the end of the day feeling better about yourself and what more could you want from a job than that?

2.Salary

Ok so you can want more from a job than that, we all need earn enough to live and eat no matter which career path we choose. That’s where sonography really shines; you get to feel great about yourself while getting a very competitive salary. The average salary current is around $65,000 annually, with some more experienced technicians earning closer to $80,000 per year.  So now you are feeling great and are getting well paid, but we’re not even close to finished yet.

3. Job Security

Ultrasound technicians are highly valued, and highly demanded. Even through the current economic downturn we’re still seeing extremely high growth in the sector. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics has pointed out that by the year 2020 they expect the profession to expand by 44%, that’s 24% more than what is deemed “highly favorable” and equates to around 23,400 new jobs in 8 years. It is very common for sonographers to stay at their place of work for years, even decades at a time. If you like to know your future is secure, diagnostic medical sonography is definitely an area to consider.

4. Responsibility

Sonographers do a lot more than just take images of people. One of the reasons why experienced, skilled technicians are in such demand is because of how important and serious a role they play in diagnoses. Sonographers make real decisions and reports related to the sonograms they take, and provide their expert opinion to the physicians to aid the patient’s diagnosis. The job does require a very high attention to detail and great communication skills, as missing abnormalities on a scan is not an option.

5. Varied Daily Duties

If you’re not interested in the kind of job where you get given the same repetitive daily tasks every day, then number 5 will be a big bonus for you. As mentioned above sonographers do a lot more than just make the ultrasound images. They are involved in diagnosis via the decisions they make while scanning, and the reports they give to the physician afterwards. They are also involved in maintaining the ultrasound machine itself, alongside proving quality customer service to the patient and maintaining patient records. It is also common to be involved in administration such as appointment making and archiving images, with some more experienced sonographers also having managerial responsibilities.

As you can see there are very persuasive benefits to entering a career as an ultrasound technician, and this is just half of our planned list! The next post in this planned mini-series will finish the list and if you’re not already convinced about which potential career you plan to enter, we’ll hopefully be able to help you to make the correct decision for your future.

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