Career Planning: Should You Be an Ultrasound Technician?

Career Planning: Should You Be an Ultrasound Technician?

The healthcare industry is the largest employer in the United States, and that doesn’t seem likely to change anytime soon.

If you’re looking for a stable career with a great salary, competitive benefits, and lots of opportunity for growth, a career in the healthcare industry is the right call.

Are you interested in working in healthcare but don’t necessarily want to be a doctor or nurse? Luckily, those aren’t the only options from which you get to choose.

Have you ever considered working as an ultrasound technician? Not sure what an that is or what they do? Read on to gain more information on this fascinating career path!

What is an Ultrasound Technician?

Before getting into the perks of working as an ultrasound technician, let’s clarify what this job is and what it entails.

It is an ultrasound technician’s job to perform a variety of tasks related to conducting sonography exams. Technicians work with many different patients, including pregnant women.

Some of the specific responsibilities a technician must perform include:

  • Preparing the exam room and ultrasound equipment to conduct exams
  • Assisting radiologists with procedures like ultrasound-guided biopsies
  • Caring for sonography equipment to ensure it works properly and lasts as long as possible
  • Writing reports after scans are complete
  • Alerting medical staff when they notice abnormalities on scans that require immediate medical attention

It’s important to note, too, that technicians often work full-time in hospitals or physician’s offices.

They regularly have to work nights, weekends, and holidays. They also spend a significant part of their workday on their feet.

Average Salary and Job Outlook

On average, people who work as ultrasound technicians earn over $71,000 per year.

This field is expected to grow by 17 percent by the year 2026 — that’s much faster than the average job growth in the U.S.

The increase in availability of technician jobs has to do, in part, with the aging of the baby-boomer population. This has lead to an increase in the need for diagnosing medical conditions using sonography equipment and other technologies.

Characteristics of a Good Technician

At this point, a career as an ultrasound technician is probably looking pretty appealing, especially if you’re looking for a high-paying job with a lot of growth potential.

Before you decide that this is the career for you, you need to consider your temperament and whether you have the right personality for the job.

You also need to make sure you’re not making a common career mistake and getting into the job for the wrong reasons.

Soft Skills

So, do you have what it takes to work as an ultrasound technician? Some soft skills a good technician must possess include:

  • The ability to actively listen: The patients you see are likely going to have questions about their procedure, and you’ll need to be able to listen to their concerns in order to answer their questions the right way.
  • The ability to communicate verbally: In order to get accurate images, you’ll need to be able to instruct your patients on the proper way to position themselves.
  • Good interpersonal skills: You’ll also need to have good social skills and be able to sympathize and empathize with the patients you see.
  • Sufficient reading comprehension abilities: You’ll need to be able to read and understand the instructions the doctor gives you.
  • Critical thinking skills: There will also be situations in which you need to evaluate problems and come up with alternative solutions.

Do you have these soft skills? If so, you’ll probably make a great technician.

Personality Traits

There are also some personality traits that are associated with performing well as an ultrasound technician. People who possess these personality traits are also more likely to enjoy working as a technician.

  • Social, extroverted people who enjoy meeting and working with others
  • Investigative types who are observant and like to learn
  • Those who value relationships, achievement, and providing support to others in the workplace

If this sounds like you, a career as a technician might be a good fit.

Remember, though, you can still be an effective technician (who is satisfied with his or her job) even if you don’t possess all of these personality traits. There are plenty of technicians who are fulfilled by their work even if they’re not particularly social or relationship-oriented.

How to Become an Ultrasound Technician

Okay, you know you’ve got the personality and soft skills necessary to work in this particular branch of the medical field. And, you’re more than ready for that great salary and job security.

You’re probably eager to read more now about how to actually start working as a technician. The good news is that this career requires relatively little schooling.

In order to become certified, you’ll first need a minimum of an associate’s degree from an accredited college or university. This takes about two years to complete.

Some people also go on to complete a bachelor’s degree in diagnostic imaging. This takes about four years to complete.

If you have already been working in the healthcare field and are just interested in a career change, you can also participate in a one-year certificate program. This will allow you to start working as a technician more quickly.

Once you graduate, you’ll also need to take and pass a national credentialing exam. Once you pass this test, you’ll be able to become certified as a diagnostic medical sonographer.

Is This the Career for You?

As you can see, there are lots of reasons you might want to consider becoming an ultrasound technician.

If you’re interested in a career in the medical field but don’t necessarily want to spend nearly a decade in medical school, this is a great alternative that still lets you work with patients and make a difference in their lives.

Want to learn about other careers in the medical field? Not sure which career is right for you? We’ve got resources to help you make the right decision.

Check out this article on seven medical careers that are going to be in high demand in the coming years.

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