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.
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