Have you ever had an invasive surgery, been pregnant, have a history of congenital heart disease, or a history of gall stones? Then you may have encountered some form ultrasound technology in the course of your medical treatments. If the person who performed the ultrasound was not your physician, then it was probably your ultrasound technician (tech).
Ultrasound Tech: What Do They Do?
An ultrasound technician is a non-physician healthcare practitioner who works with an imaging apparatus to allow analysis of a patient’s internal organs. They are also referred to as diagnostic sonographers when working in a medical facilities like a hospital. Ultrasound has both diagnostic capabilities as well as the ability to treat various medical issues such as tissue damage or pain management. Ultrasound works through the use of sound waves to perform either of the aforementioned tasks. An ultrasound tech assists medical professionals through performance of diagnostic ultrasound imaging allowing for appropriate diagnosis and treatment.
Many people assume that an ultrasound tech is only responsible for observing the growth of a fetus in a mother’s womb. However, there is more to an ultrasound technician than meets the eye. Ultrasound may be used in the imaging of various internal organs. Sonographers can take images of organs including the gallbladder, liver, kidneys and pancreas. Ultrasound is only part of the diagnostic array that physicians may use in order to determine any underlying issues that patient’s may have, that cannot be seen with the naked eye.
Medical Diagnostic Sonography: Job Description
Although diagnostic imaging is the primary responsibility for ultrasound technicians, they must, at times, help to prepare a patient see the doctor. The technician would be responsible for explaining the process involved during the procedure. They will then take the images and provide the results for analysis to ensure that they are of the appropriate quality for diagnostic testing. If results are unsatisfactory the technician would repeat the test until the results are appropriate for the diagnostic process. Ultrasound techs must also summarize and record the results so that the physician is able interpret the results easily and able to make the appropriate decisions in the diagnosing the patient’s issues.
Ultrasound equipment maintenance and cleaning before and after each procedure is very important. A qualified ultrasound technician will be able to know when there is a problem with the equipment. Technicians have to keep a record of all the information obtained after a successful ultrasound. This will ensure consistency and proper diagnosis of patient’s problems even when a new doctor is in charge. An ultrasound tech must also be able to interpret and communicate results to a radiologist or a doctor depending on the patient’s condition.
Ultrasound Technician Programs
If you’ve found any interest in any of the information above, you may want to consider pursuing a career in the field of medical diagnostic sonography. Before doing so, you have to consider attending ultrasound technician programs. Many employers and/or medical facilities would prefer to work with an educated and certified ultrasound technician. The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) is a body that well-known in providing certification for aspiring ultrasound techs. This is a great way to survive in the job market as different medical facilities would be more inclined hire certified professionals. Several ultrasound technician programs are accredited institutions and are currently enrolling students. These degree programs enable scholars to build a strong career background.
Ultrasound technician programs have encompassed subjects such as mathematics, physics, human anatomy, health and medical ethics. These courses provide students with a broad science background that will ensure competence in the profession of medical diagnostic sonography.
Ultrasound technician programs take about four years of educational training in order to attain a degree and certification. Practical or vocational training occurs after completion of the core curriculum. Vocational training lasts for about a year and will qualify students to work as an ultrasound technician. However, the amount of education you receive and ability to perform at higher levels than your peers will be the determining factor in securing a career after receiving certification.
Ultrasound technician programs online have benefitted many aspiring students to become part of the profession of medical diagnostic sonography from the comfort of their own homes. The programs are typically affordable and allow for the convenience to study at your own pace. If you have a busy schedule and cannot attend local classes it is easy to enroll online and achieve your goals. Ultrasound tech online courses are professionally accredited programs and flexible enough for the working student. These online programs allow for specialization in fields like echocardiography, vascular sonography, and even ultrasound tech. These professions require people with a desire to help others and improve the quality of healthcare being provided today.
Prospective students are typically required to have received a high school diploma or GED. However, it is important for one to have the desire to help people and have a keen eye for details. The job market for ultrasound technicians is growing significantly each day. If you receive good training, this will definitely open more doors for you in this field. Ultrasound technician programs will open doors to move horizontally to other careers such as nursing, radiology, or even as physician assistants, as the core courses will allow for the basic knowledge needed to succeed in healthcare.
Of any industry out there, healthcare is one that offers stability in any economy. Whether or not people have money, healthcare is a commodity that cannot be expended. As the industry, overall, continues to grow, so do the individual branches that fall within the umbrella of healthcare services. One of said branches is medical diagnostic imaging. Diagnostic imaging plays a key role in a physicians ability to clearly diagnose any conditions or problems different patients may have. With an array of choices within the field of medical diagnostic imaging, how can anyone determine which profession best suits them? Today, we set out to clarify some key similarities and differences between radiology and ultrasound technicians. More specifically, the key comparisons between radiology technician schools and ultrasound technician schools.
In regards to pre-requisites, education and overall job responsibilities, there are many similarities between the two professions. In deciding to pursue schooling for a career in healthcare, be aware of the expectations of the courses and be ready to go above and beyond said expectations. Both radiology technician schools and ultrasound schools are offered in community colleges, technical schools, trade schools and even in universities. It is easy to enroll in any one of these institutions so long as you’ve completed all the pre-requisites for the programs. Educational facilities can be found all across the United States and the number of online programs continues to grow every day. Keep in mind that the higher the quality of education you receive from your career schooling, the more of a head start you will have compared to your peers.
Both ultrasound technician schools and radiology technician schools have similar prerequisites for their respective programs. Depending when you decide to pursue a specific career path will determine what should be done to prepare for your program of choice. If you are a high school student, you need to make sure you either graduate or received your GED. Moreover, you it would beneficial to take the following classes in order to give you a head start: AP Biology, Chemistry, Basic math, English and anatomy if offered at your school. For those who are later in their lives and have more than one year experience in the medical field will have an easier time transitioning into a career in either field. A background in healthcare allows people to be more familiar with the terminology and expectations of the profession, thus what would be expected from your respective program. It is also good to have references to ensure you are accepted to different accredited institutions. Most radiology technician schools and ultrasound technician schools are will provide you with a quality education; all it will take to pass the exam is patience and passion.
Radiology Technician Schools and Ultrasound Technician Schools: Courses
Most of the major courses are similar between both programs; courses include anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, ethics, medical law and first aid. Ultrasound technician schools ensure that the courses cover all areas to prepare students for their respective national exam. These programs will place more emphasis on physics, more so the topics surrounding sonography. On the other hand, radiology technician schools will focus more on chemistry revolving around radiation therapy and the accuracy calculations behind imaging. More specifically, human anatomy will includes topics such as cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, urinary and reproductive, among other body systems. Students will complete their respective programs having learned how acids, bases, fluids and electrolytes and how they affect homeostasis as well as their importance in radiation therapy. Laboratory work will include specimen dissection, examination of cadavers and analysis of the results.
Medical terminology courses offered will include instruction on prefixes, suffixes, root words as well as pronunciation of important terminology surrounding radiation, oncology, and pharmacology among other clinical concepts. Clinical chemistry class will allow students to learn and understand organic and inorganic compounds, instrumentation and even medical laboratory testing. Students must also possess a thorough understanding of laboratory instrument. Other courses enrolled students will encounter are organ testing, nutrition testing, reduction of errors and how to ensure quality in the medical diagnostic process.
Radiology technician schools and ultrasound technician programs will offer an opportunity for every student to participate in an internship or practicum. This is very important in ensuring students get practical skills needed to succeed in their profession as well as in patient care. Internships and clinical practicum serve to provide students with ample opportunity to interact with patients in hospitals or other medical facilities. Do not take this lightly while in school because this is also a requirement for graduating from each respective program.
The major difference between ultrasound technician schools and radiology technician schools involves the type imagery technology that is used in practice. The ultrasound technicians will utilize sonography imagery involves the use of sound waves to capture images of internal organs within the human body. On the other hand, radiology technicians will use X-ray equipment to capture images of denser material within the human body, such as bone. X-ray is very sensitive mode of imagery and can be harmful to a person if over-exposed. Thus, radiology technicians must be licensed in order to perform the daily duties.
The exam for licensure that radiologists and ultrasound technicians take also involves a practical portion. It is good to be well prepared because the examinations are tough, but serious and committed students shouldn’t have issues passing. You may find that some students fail the exam and have to repeat classes to take the exam once more. Passing the examination will allow both radiology and ultrasound technicians to work in hospitals, clinic or any medical facility that requires imaging services. It is possible to secure job in the public hospital or private clinic with some experience. If you are able to work in either profession, the average salary expectation is well enough to sustain a comfortable life. Ultrasound technician have an average of 60,000 dollars per year while radiology technicians make about 45,000 dollars per year. These are very great careers to pursue as long as have the passion to help others.