How do I Become an Ultrasound Technician?

Autumn Rivers

If you are interested in sonography, you might consider getting to know the steps to become an ultrasound technician. You should first choose a medical field that excites you, as gastrointestinal medicine, obstetrics, and ophthalmology are just a few of the specialty fields that require ultrasounds often. The next step is to go to school for this career path, noting that you will at least need an associate's degree, though a bachelor's degree is often advised. Finally, you will need to become certified before you officially become an ultrasound technician, as most employers require this qualification before hiring anyone for sonography.

A prenatal ultrasound.
A prenatal ultrasound.

Many people think of pregnancy when they hear about ultrasounds, and while the obstetrics field definitely has a need for sonogram technicians, there are other medical specialties that do, as well. For example, neurology and ophthalmology are fields that are often in need of ultrasound technicians. If you are interested in taking a look at the spleen, liver, kidney, or other organs in the abdomen, you should consider specializing in sonography for gastrointestinal medicine. Of course, if you are particularly interested in pregnancy or the female reproductive system in general, then you should indeed become an ultrasound technician in the obstetrics and gynecology field.

A woman holding a prenatal ultrasound.
A woman holding a prenatal ultrasound.

Once you have determined a specialty, it is time to apply for college since just about every employer requires a degree. The minimum requirement is typically an ultrasound technology degree from an accredited college, which usually takes about two years to complete. This is often called an associate's degree, and can typically be obtained from either a community college or a vocational school. Of course, a bachelor's degree in ultrasound technology or a related field is also an option before you become an ultrasound technician, particularly if you want to advance quickly in this industry. In fact, competitive job markets often require a four-year degree in order for you to have the best chance of getting a position.

An ultrasound technician doing an ultrasound.
An ultrasound technician doing an ultrasound.

While most areas do not require that you be licensed in order to become an ultrasound technician, it is helpful to become certified in this field. This may entail taking short courses in addition to your formal education, resulting in a certificate that you can present to potential employers. This shows that you are up-to-date on the current methods of sonography, which is important to most hospitals and clinics. Additionally, this type of certification often allows you to learn skills related to your specialty field, making it easier to get a job in the medical concentration that you prefer.

Ultrasound technicians can answer questions about anatomy, however only a doctor can deliver a diagnosis that relates to an ultrasound's findings.
Ultrasound technicians can answer questions about anatomy, however only a doctor can deliver a diagnosis that relates to an ultrasound's findings.

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