Jul 08

How To Become An Ultrasound Technician

Becoming an ultrasound technician is something that can be extremely rewarding and requires a great deal of dedication. Sometimes called a sonographer, it helps to begin studying early on. Fortunately, even if you are late to the party you can still become a sonographer. Very popular, the job of ultrasound technician has a great future outlook, a relatively short period of study and pays fairly well. Getting started really depends on how soon you decide you want to get in the field.

how to become ultrasound tech

If you are still young and in school, then getting a high school diploma is a must-have. The basics are important such as mathematics, English and science, but you should also study computers, health care, biology and any other applicable courses. High school can prepare you a great deal for the wonderful world of sonography if you try to tailor your classes towards learning about the human body. Even chemistry can help you out a great deal.

Next, you will want to seek out an ultrasound technician program that is accredited by the CAAHEP. This is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. You also need to get an Associate’s Degree ideally.  There are shorter programs out there if you want to take a shorter route, but they generally give you only a certificate. These are less desirable to potential employers upon completion but they can get your foot in the door on occasion. Certainly you are better off with a two year degree.


Four year programs are by far the best because you are able to get extensive training. Coming out of those programs you will be highly in demand with potential hires.  Keep in mind that the shorter the program, the less desirable you will be right out of the gate. You will almost certainly be up against others with longer degrees if you take the short route. What you save in time you will almost certainly lose in salary and marketability for the better positions.

To really make your marketability soar, take the ARDMS testing exams. This is the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography exams and they will add quite a bit of luster to your resume. They are not required, but they are certainly worth your time. Not only will it increase your options as a sonographer, it will also help you to advance in the job once you get one.

This exam is also great for helping you to specialize in a particular area. Many sonographers want to work in an exact sub-science of the job. These might include ob-gyn, abdominal sonography, cardiac or any number of other options. You get to choose a sub-specialty to go along with the general classes and information you study for these exams.

If you have all of these things in your back pocket, then you are ready to head out and find a job with as a ultrasound technician. With such a rewarding career ahead of you, you are ready to make a real difference in the health care field.


Jul 08

Ultrasound Technician Certification

Getting certified as an ultrasound technician is pretty straightforward but that does not mean that it is simple. You have to get your schooling behind you and prepare for the test first. Once you have that behind you, then you sit for the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) exam. This exam and those that give it have been around as a not-for-profit since 1975 and provides the credentials that will determine your job future as a sonographer. This is the litmus test for sonographers nationwide.

There are a number of different awards or credentials that you could be given upon completion of the exam. The most common one is the RDMS credential. This is the basic certification and stands for Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer. This basically says that you passed the exam and are capable of doing the job at a base level.

The next credential is RDCS and it stands for Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer and it says that the student is capable of working in the specialty area of the heart. This is a highly sought after sub-category among potential employees.
How to get ultrasound technician Certification

Another credential is RVT. This is a sub-category that stands for Registered Vascular Technologist. This allows the student to be recognized in excellence with vascular sonography. There is also a physician’s credential that is RPVI. This is a Registered Physician in Vascular Interpretation.

Finally there is the RMSK credential and it stands for Registered in Musculoskeletal sonograpy. This is self explanatory and allows one to work with the muscles and skeletal types of sonography.

Each of these areas are all possible for the ultrasound technician to pursue and getting accredited in each of them could be a goal for the professional that wants to master the profession.

Ultrasound Technician certificate

The ARDMS has certified nearly 80,000 individuals and they are globally considered the standard in the profession. They are made up of three main groups.

  • One group is the Board of Directors. These folks are volunteers that are experts in their fields and they determine any policy or direction changes for the organization.
  • The Examination Development Task Forces handles all of the actual testing materials. They determine what should and should not be on the test.
  • Finally, a great staff of professionals handle the actual program implementation and takes care of the registrants. These folks are the nuts and bolts of the accreditation process.

Keep in mind that ultrasound technology is a very competitive and popular field so anything you can do to make your resume stand out can make a huge difference. When you go to apply for a job, one of the primary things they are going to look at is how long of a program you went through and what certification you have. If you come in with a six month certification, you are going to have a tough time competing against those with a four year degree and a couple of specialty certifications. Try to get as much experience and certifications as you can so that you can enhance the chances of getting a job you want.

Jul 08

Ultrasound Technician Training

Becoming an ultrasound technician is one of the most rewarding careers in the health care industry. Not only can you make decent money, but you can quickly move up the ladder of success and learn new and interesting things. Few jobs are afforded a better outlook financially, and even fewer careers have a better outlook as far as new job creation. Sonographers are in demand all over the place and there is little reason to expect that to change anytime soon. Training in this important health care field is the primary key to getting hired. The level of training courses that are out there vary wildly and knowing what to look for is very important. Here is a look at the sonography training that you need to look into if you want a career as an ultrasound technician:


High School Diploma and Related Classes

The first thing you will want to do is ensure that you have your high school diploma. At a bare minimum this will be required and any related classes you can take will be beneficial as well. Any of the sciences will be highly helpful including physics, chemistry and particularly biology. You also will want to take any health care related electives that are available. In fact, some high end sonography jobs might even require nursing skills. Take all you can during high school.

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)

This accreditation is not required outright to work in the field, but it might as well be. Few employers will want to hire you without completing this, despite what many short term programs try to say. If a program offers up anything less than this, then you are wasting your time and money on it. Stick to the programs that give you this accreditation and you will be just fine.


What about college?

By far a four year degree is your number one option to give yourself choices, but you can certainly begin with only a two year degree. Assuming you get the accreditation mentioned above, you can really go either way. A four year degree will afford you a great deal more options once you are ready to go to work, however. Is it worth the time? If more money and a better position are important to you, then yes it is.

Keep in mind that the certificates that are offered up in these short term courses are usually not nearly enough to get you a job. What would you rather have — a four year degree candidate that has full accreditation, or someone that took a eight week course and got a certificate?

What about specialization?

It is very common to want to go into a specific field of sonography and this can be done a number of ways. One way is to take the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography exams. These allow you to get advanced training and to learn about a specific sub-section of ultrasound technology such as ob-gyn, abdominal or cardiac to name a few. Getting these exams will also put you in another pay scale than you otherwise would be. Your resume will shine a great deal with this on there.  Once you are certified, then you can really write your own ticket to find the job you really want. They are in massive demand all across the country.