Medical technicians of all kinds are becoming a competitive field and for good reason.
With the top 10% of ultrasound technicians earning an average of $100,000 with only an associates degree required, it is easy to see why so many people want these jobs.
That's great, but how hard is it to get into this job and what should I expect?
Let's talk about the ultrasound technician courses you will be required to take in school.
What Is an Ultrasound Technician?
Ultrasound technicians come in many forms. Some are general technicians, capable of performing ultrasounds on any part of the human body. Others are more specialized in one area of the body.
Ultrasound technicians, as a whole, are a critical part of any medical team. Even better, the industry is booming!
Between 2014 and 2024, these jobs are expected to grow by 26%, nationwide.
With high salaries and low educational requirements, these jobs are becoming competitive, making it important to set yourself apart from the crowd if you want to land one of these jobs.
While the minimum requirement for these jobs is an Associate's degree, there are other ways to set yourself apart.
People can receive this training through military experience or even a Bachelors or Masters program.
If you are looking to enter the workforce or change your career path, regardless of how you enter the field, there are some courses you will be required to take.
Ultrasound Technician Courses
These jobs sound very rewarding, but it is best to know what to expect before jumping into it.
Here are the 8 courses you will take if you are going to become an ultrasound technician, other than the pre-requisite classes most schools require.
These courses are available in ultrasound technician schools across the country, and many offer online courses. Click here to find out more about online training.
1. Introduction To Sonography
With any field that you go into, there will always be an introductory course to build a foundation of knowledge for more specific courses.
Introductory sonography will go over the basics and take many shallow dives into all different aspects of sonography, including:
- Pulse-echo Imaging
- Vascular Technology
- Career Paths
It's a great way to start building an understanding of the field and can be started with some basic pre-requisites, although it can vary by school or program.
2. Ultrasound Physics
This course is very enjoyable for science-lovers. Here, you get to study how the machines generate and receive ultrasound waves.
You will learn about the different modes used in these machines, and how they work. Brightness mode (B mode) is the basic mode that is used for most ultrasounds.
Fun fact: ultrasound waves are emitted from what is known as piezoelectric crystals of the ultrasound transducer, but your professors will tell you all about it!
3. Sonography Patient Care
Here, you will get to learn about the basics of patient care, geared toward technicians. This can involve:
- Safety Standards
- Basic Emergency Procedures – Training can be different between courses and medical facilities.
- Sterilization and Cleanliness
Patient care for technicians is certainly a different training compared to nurses and PCTs, but the basics are critical to learning for any medical profession.
4. OB/GYN Ultrasound
This is what most people think of when discussing ultrasound technology. Most of us are familiar with ultrasounds primarily for checking on the health of a growing baby in the womb.
Here, you will get to learn the ultrasound process for checking on an embryo or fetus in the uterus, which will require some skill testing for locating the uterus.
This is the most popular career path to follow for ultrasound technicians, being the most well-known and the highest paying specialty in the field.
However, it is certainly not the only specialty.
5. Cardiovascular Ultrasound
Moving up a foot or two, cardiovascular ultrasound courses will teach you the skills involved with examining the heart and lungs.
Yes, ultrasounds are not just used for checking on the baby, they can be used as an easier method for investigating any internal health problems.
Cardiovascular ultrasounds are commonly used, non-invasive method for detecting heart valve and lung defects.
Cardiac sonography is a field of its own and is a promising career path with a high average salary compared to other specific ultrasound tech jobs.
6. Abdominal Sonography
This is a broad one. Here, you will not learn how to locate and inspect one specific location.
Instead, you will be learning about the majority of the organs in the human body, and how to locate and read them on a sonogram.
While you will take anatomy courses as pre-requisites, this will be more hands-on and specific to ultrasound usage.
This is one of the more complex courses, diving into the process to properly locate and ultrasound the kidneys, liver, stomach, and the list goes on.
No, you do not need to be a brain surgeon for this course, but you will learn how to properly locate and ultrasound specific parts of the brain.
There are also masters courses available at many schools for fetal neurosonography, but the overlying training is critical for general technicians.
8. Health Ethics
This is arguably the most important course for any medical professional to study.
Health ethics are critical to the field and should be an ongoing learning process throughout this career path.
You've probably heard horror stories of medical negligence, and it can ruin lives as easily as careers.
Health ethics courses will teach about:
- Hospital Ethics Boards
- Ethics Standards
- Patient Relationships
Take the information in all of these courses seriously, but if there is one that needs a notebook, it is this.
This is a growing, promising field that offers a lot of specialties.
These jobs are not likely to disappear in your lifetime and have been growing at a consistent pace since the '90s.
If you are committed to the field and want to learn more, check out the schools in your area or online that offer ultrasound technician courses and get started today!
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Newly middle-aged wife of 1, Mom of 3, Grandma of 2. A professional blogger who has lived in 3 places since losing her home to a house fire in October 2018 with her husband. Becky appreciates being self-employed which has allowed her to work from 'anywhere'. Life is better when you can laugh. As you can tell by her Facebook page where she keeps the humor memes going daily. Becky looks forward to the upcoming new year. It will be fun to see what 2020 holds.