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.
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.
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