What are the Different Ultrasound Technologist Jobs?
Ultrasound technologists, also called ultrasound technicians, are specially trained medical personnel who use sonographic equipment to obtain and record visual diagnostic data. Training typically takes two to three years, plus an exam to obtain certification. Ultrasound technologist jobs are typically filled in hospitals and specialty clinics, but may also be found in private practice medical offices.
One of the most obvious areas of medicine in which ultrasound technology is routinely used is obstetrics and gynecology. Obtaining an ultrasound is routine for nearly all pregnant women receiving prenatal care and in the case of high risk pregnancies, more than one is typically obtained to monitor growth and development of the fetus. Ultrasound technology is also used to detect and diagnose uterine and ovarian cysts along with other conditions affecting female anatomy. While obstetrics and gynecology is often the first area of medicine that comes to mind when speaking of ultrasound technology, there are many other areas where ultrasound imaging is useful.
Other specific areas of medicine where ultrasound technology is used include vascular medicine, diagnostic medicine, cardiology and general internal medicine. Some ultrasound technologist jobs require expertise, experience or credentialing in specific areas, such as obstetrics and abdominal sonography or cardiac sonography, while others are less specialized. Most hospitals and doctors’ offices specify the level of experience and training required for specific positions.
In addition to interacting with patients to perform the ultrasound procedure, ultrasound technologists also interpret data and images, keep records of all data collected, calibrate and maintain the equipment, help maintain the diagnostic area or facility, and may schedule appointments as well. The actual amount of time interacting with patients may vary, ranging from 20 minutes to an hour per scheduled patient. Ultrasound technicians may or may not be required to communicate with ordering physicians.
The outlook for ultrasound technologist jobs is good. Starting salaries may be on the lower end of the average and range from $43,000 to $50,000 (USD) for full time positions. The higher end of the pay scale encompasses the top 10% of earners making more than $80,000 (USD) per year. While most positions are full-time, some ultrasound technologist jobs are part-time, entailing working in a hospital or facility two to three days per week. Advancement in the field of sonography is possible through experience, additional training and multiple certifications.
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