In the medical career market, ultrasound jobs are increasingly in demand because as technology advances, the need for high-tech healthcare jobs also grows. An ultrasound technician, or ultrasound tech, is an individual who is qualified to administer a medical scan called a sonogram, which is more commonly known as an ultrasound. Sonography is the art of using high-frequency sound waves to create a picture of the inside of the human body. This procedure is often diagnostic in nature, but it is also a common part of most prenatal care routines.
Hospital jobs are some of the most readily available employment opportunities for ultrasound technicians. Hospitals need a number of individuals who can keep up with the high demand that is usually present. Ultrasound jobs in these settings may require the sonographer to perform testing in a special room or laboratory, or the setting may allow for the machinery and technicians to work directly in the patients' rooms. Diagnostic ultrasound jobs may include imaging of the cardiovascular and vascular systems, the abdomen and the brain. Ultrasound techs in this setting are expected to have a wide breadth of knowledge on the body's general workings.
Another common location where ultrasound jobs are present is in the gynecology and obstetrics field. Sonograms of unborn children are usually taken at regular intervals to ensure that the fetus is developing correctly and on schedule. Gynecological sonography may also be used to determine any abnormalities for a woman who is trying to conceive, or who may otherwise be having trouble with her reproductive system. On some occasions, ultrasound jobs in this category may also be performed in conjunction with mammograms to ensure proper breast health in women who need to be examined. Gynecological/obstetric sonographers may also be employed by hospitals, but they are most commonly employed by private practices.
The typical workweek for those who hold ultrasound jobs is about 40 hours, but overtime may be required in some locations. Ultrasound jobs require specialized training, which varies by location and setting. Typically two to four years of an accredited training program are required to qualify for ultrasound jobs, with requirements for continuing education. No specific licensing is required in most locations, but ultrasound technicians in specialized fields may need more training than standard sonographers.