How to Become an Ultrasound Tech in 4 Simple Steps

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What is an Ultrasound Tech

Before we start analyzing how to become an ultrasound tech let’s find out what the daily duties are and the working environment of an ultrasound tech.

An Ultrasound Techs’ work is to operate an ultrasound machine in order to capture images of various body organs.

They try to diagnose a patient’s medical condition and find infections and illnesses of the internal organs that cannot be seen by the bare eye.

Like all medical professions you will need to have a solid knowledge of human body anatomy, physiology and stay updated on the latest technologies, as you will be operating a machine.

Ultrasound machines use sound waves to produce images and not radiation, making them one of the safest diagnostic imaging machines, both for patients and operators.

The daily duties of an ultrasound technician include:
• Studying medical records and histories
• Correctly position the patient
• Capturing accurate images
• Making calculations
• Taking measurements
• Evaluating preliminary results
• Helping the doctors by making correct diagnosis’s

Ultrasound techs usually work at hospitals and private clinics or at physicians’ offices.

Ultrasound techs at hospitals and private clinics work mostly at an ultrasound station in the diagnostics area. They also conduct mobile ultrasounds to patients who cannot move from the bed. They work fulltime on shifts but a few of them work part-time too.

The average salary of an ultrasound tech is $67,530
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Becoming an Ultrasound Tech

Step 1: High School Preparation

What High School Courses Do I Need to Take to Become an Ultrasound Tech?

Take as many Science classes as you can

Take as science classes as you can
It is a good idea for those who want to follow a medical profession to take as many science classes as they can. Take chemistry, biology, physics, anatomy and physiology.

Getting good grades on these courses will not only help you to get accepted at a good ultrasound technician school but will also help you with your coursework when you study, as the majority of the courses you will have, will be science oriented.

Take Computer skills and math classes

operate but also maintain and find possible damages to it.

Another part of your work will be taking measurements and making complicated calculations so having a strong math foundation is essential.

Taking algebra, calculus and any other math class available (preferably with advanced placement) is a good idea.

Take Advanced English

As an ultrasound tech you will be working with patients, so having strong communication skills is a must.

You will need to explain to them the procedure of the sonographer in a clear way that will keep them relaxed.

You will also need to collect information about their medical history in a friendly, comfortable manner.

You will maintain their medical and patient records, so strong writing skills are also required.

Taking advanced English classes will help you build the communication and writing skills required for this profession.

becoming an ultrasound tech

Step 2: Get an ultrasound technician Undergraduate Degree

Associate’s Degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (Ultrasound) 2 years

Associate’s Degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography programs are 78 to 112 semester credit hour programs that can be completed mostly on campus.

It is relatively easy to get accepted to an associate’s degree program like that as you will only need a high school diploma or a GED.

Before you choose a school it is really important to ask about the hours and the place of practicum or internship the school is offering you.

For this profession it is really important to get at least 6 months of practicum or internship at a hospital and get real working experience next to a professional ultrasound technician.
A typical curriculum of an Associate’s Degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (Ultrasound) will look like this:

General Education Requirements (22 – 30 Credits)

• Human Anatomy & Physiology I
• Human Anatomy and Physiology II
• College Composition
• Culture and Diversity
• Physics
• Introduction to Psychology
• Precalculus I
• English Composition I
• English Composition II
• Medical Terminology
• College Algebra with Modeling
• Microcomputer Applications
• Humanities
• Introduction to Computers
• American Literature
• English Literature

Core Courses (56 – 82 Credits)

• Essentials of Sonography & Ethics
• Ultrasound Physics & Instrumentation
• Ultrasound Physics & Instrumentation LAB
• Ultrasound Physics and Instrumentation II
• Ultrasound Instrumentation LAB II
• Sectional Anatomy
• Abdominal Sonography
• Advanced Abdominal Sonography
• Obstetrics & Gynecologic Sonography
• Advanced Obstetric Sonography
• Clinical Education I
• Clinical Education IV
• Clinical Education III
• Clinical Education V
• General/SPI Registry Review
• Clinical Education II
• Clinical Education VI
• Pathophysiology I
• Human Cross-Section Anatomy
• Small Parts with Vasculature Sonography
• Pathophysiology II
• Ultrasound Equipment I
• Pathophysiology III
• Ultrasound Equipment II
• Vascular Ultrasound Technology
• Practical Aspects of Sonography
• Pathophysiology IV
• Ultrasound Equipment III
• Advanced Studies: General Ultrasound
• Acoustic Physics/Instrumentation
• Clinical Rotation I
• Clinical Rotation II
• Clinical Rotation III
• Ultrasound of Superficial Structures and Neonatal Brain
• Hemodynamics & Cerebrovascular Sonography
• Clinical Rotation IV
• Clinical Rotation V
• Clinical Rotation VI
• Clinical Rotation VII
• Clinical Rotation VIII
• Sonography Graduate Seminar
• Clinical Practicum

The cost of a Diagnostic Medical Sonography associate’s degree program is relatively low and ranges from $25,000 to $37,000.

When deciding which college or university to attend, we strongly recommend contacting them for further information and details.

Click the button below to get free info about accredited associate’s degree programs near you.
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Bachelor’s degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (Ultrasound) 4 years

A Bachelor’s degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography is a 120 semester credit hours program that can be completed mostly on campus.

Admission requirements vary from school to school with the majority of them being having an ultrasound technician or health related associate’s degree and ARDMS Registered Diagnostic Sonographer Certification.

A typical Curriculum of a Bachelor’s degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (Ultrasound) will look like this:

General Education Requirements (55 Credits)

• Anatomy & Physiology I
• Anatomy & Physiology II
• Physics
• Math
• English
• English Composition I
• English Composition II
• College Algebra
• Biology
• Physics
• Geology
• Literature
• Philosophy
• Arts
• Music appreciation
• United States History I
• United States History II
• American Government I
• American Government II
• Anthropology
• Economics
• Criminal justice
• Geography
• Psychology
• Sociology
• Social work
• Sectional Anatomy
• Introduction to Applied Statistics
• Technical Writing
• World Religions for the Healthcare Professions
• Legal Aspects of Healthcare
• Leadership and Organizational Behavior
• Marketing and Healthcare
• Components of Healthcare Financial Management
• General Chemistry
• Microbiology
• Statistics
• Ethics or Medical Ethics
• Medical Terminology
• Public Speaking
• Patient Care Course
• Computer Literacy

Core Courses (65 Credits)

• Diagnostic Imaging
• Introduction to Educational Methodology
• Management Principles for Imaging Professionals
• Advanced Topics in Sonography
• Advanced Sonographic Specialties
• Medical Imaging in the Digital Environment
• Case Studies in Healthcare
• Issues and Trends in the Healthcare Arena I
• Issues and Trends in the Healthcare Arena II
• Research Methods in Allied Health
• Foundations of Sonography
• Gynecologic Sonography
• Abdomen I Sonography
• Vascular Technology
• Cross-Sectional Abdominal Anatomy
• Clinical Practicum I
• OB Sonography
• Abdomen II Sonography
• Abdomen III Sonography
• Vascular Technology II
• Vascular Technology III
• Superficial Sonography
• Clinical Practicum II
• Concepts Review and Case Studies
• Ultrasound Physics I
• Pediatric Sonography
• Fetal Anomalies
• Clinical Practicum IV
• Research Project and Publication
• Ultrasound Physics II
• Mock Exams
• Professional Growth and Development
• Clinical Practicum V
• Research Project and Publication II

The cost of a Bachelor’s degree in ultrasound technology program ranges between $26,000 and $55,000.

When deciding which college or university to attend, we strongly recommend contacting them for further information and details.

Click the button below to get free info about accredited Bachelor’s Degree programs near you.
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Step 3: Get an Ultrasound tech Graduate Degree (Optional)

Diagnostic Medical Sonography Certificate 2 years

These certificates are 50-120 semester credit hour programs and can be completed mostly on campus.

In order to get accepted at a program like that you will need at least an Associate’s degree at a relevant field.

A typical curriculum of a Diagnostic Medical Sonography Certificate degree programs will look like this:

Core Courses (50 – 120 Credits)

• Introduction to Sonography
• Introduction to Abdominopelvic Sonography
• Basic Ultrasound Physics
• Sonographic Sectional Anatomy
• Intermediate Ultrasound Physics
• Practicum I-Diagnostic Medical Sonography
• Doppler Physics
• Sonography of High Risk Obstetrics
• Sonography of Abdominopelvic Pathology
• Advanced Ultrasound and Review
• Practicum III-Diagnostic Medical Sonography
• Sonography of Obstetrics/Gynecology
• Introduction to Allied Health
• Diagnostic Medical Sonography Principles & Protocols
• Sonography & Patient Care
• Critique & Pathology I
• Sectional Anatomy (3 units)
• Critique & Pathology II
• Clinical Preceptorship I
• Diagnostic Medical Sonography II
• Critique & Pathology III
• Sonographic Pathophysiology
• Diagnostic Medical Sonography III
• Obstetrics I
• Sonography of Superficial Structures
• Critique & Pathology IV
• Obstetrics II
• DMS 56A Vascular Sonography
• Critique & Pathology V
• Advanced Applications of Vascular Technology
• Critique & Pathology VI

The cost of a Diagnostic Medical Sonography Certificate degree program is relatively low, ranging between $7,000 and $26,500.

When deciding which college or university to attend, we strongly recommend contacting them for further information and details.

Click the button below to get free info about accredited Certificate Degree programs near you.
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Master of Health Science (MHS) in Diagnostic Medical Ultrasound 2 years

There are not many universities offering a master’s degree in ultrasound technology but from the information available we can say that they are 35-50 semester credit hour programs that can be completed on campus.

In order to get accepted you will need an ultrasound technician bachelor’s degree or any other bachelor’s degree with the prerequisites each university requests.

A typical curriculum of a Master of Health Science (MHS) in Diagnostic Medical Ultrasound degree program will look like this:

• Current Trends and Cultural Issues in Health Care
• Writing for Medical Publication
• Epidemiology and Biostatistics
• Research Methods
• Ethical Issues in Healthcare
• Principles of Management in Healthcare
• U.S. Health Care Policy
• Practicum
• Directed Studies in Medical Sonography
• Clinical Pharmacology
• Applied Clinical Research & Practicum
• Physics
• Clinical Pathology
• Superficial Organs
• OB Sonography
• Abdomen Sonography
• Gynecologic Sonography
• Vascular Technology

The cost of a Master’s Degree in in Diagnostic Medical Ultrasound is around $22,000.

When deciding which college or university to attend, we strongly recommend contacting them for further information and details.

Click the button below to get free info about accredited Master’s Degree programs near you.
Find a School

Step 4: Get Ultrasound Technician Licensing

(ARDMS) American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography

Requirements

Option 1

Two-year accredited allied health education program
12 months full-time clinical ultrasound experience

Option 2

Bachelor’s Degree
12 months full-time clinical ultrasound experience

Option 3

Sonography or vascular technology Bachelor’s degree
No working experience

Option 4

DO or MD Degree
12 months full-time clinical ultrasound experience

Option 5

High school graduate
48 months full-time clinical ultrasound experience and 3.200 cases
Examination

Written test at physics and at one of the specialties below:

• Abdomen
• Breast
• Fetal Echocardiography
• Obstetrics & Gynecology
• Pediatric Sonography
Cost: $550

How Long Does it take to Become an Ultrasound Tech and How Much it Costs?

Option1: Associate’s Degree

Degree Time Cost
Associates (online-offline)2 years$25,000 to $37,000
Certification 1 month $550
Total 2 years & 1 month $25,550 - $37,550

Option 2: Bachelor’s Degree

Degree Time Cost
Bachelor’s 4 years$26, 000 - $55, 000
Certification 1 month - $550
Total 4 years & 1 month$26,550 - $55,550

Option 3: Certificate (Graduate’s) Degree

DegreeTime Cost
Bachelor’s 4 years$26, 000 - $55, 000
Certifcate (Grad.)2 years$7,000 - $26,500
Certification1 month $550
Total6 years $33, 550 - $81, 550

Option 4: Master’s Degree

DegreeTime Cost
Bachelor’s 4 years$26, 000 - $55, 000
Master's2 years$22, 000
Certification1 month $550
Total6 years $48, 550 - $77, 550
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Ultrasound Tech Training Video


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