Ultrasound technicians must complete training to understand how to operate diagnostic sonography equipment as well as to garner a strong understanding of human anatomy and physiology. Ultrasound technicians may complete formal training from an accredited program. Depending upon their specialization, they may complete coursework that corresponds to their relevant certification exam. These educational programs typically require clinical internships where individuals gain ultrasound skills in a healthcare facility. Some employers prefer to hire ultrasound technicians who have professional certification, which they can obtain after they complete their degree or certificate program.
Those interested in becoming an ultrasound technician may complete formal education from an accredited institution, such as an associate or bachelor’s degree in sonography. One-year certificate programs are also available, but most individuals who complete these are already employed in the healthcare industry. Sonography programs may include coursework in medical terminology, anatomy, and applied sciences. In addition, most sonography programs are divided into specialized fields based upon the students’ specialized field. These specialized programs may include coursework that are related to the specific certification exam, such as breast or abdominal sonography.
Within these educational programs, students typically attend lectures and partake in hands-on experiences through lab work and clinical internships. Most programs require students to complete clinical internships where they can obtain ultrasound skills in a healthcare setting. These internships are vital because students apply their knowledge into practice and work with other healthcare professionals in a real-life job situation. Individuals may also secure on-the-job training as well as training with continuing education credits and at professional conferences.
Certification & Licensure
Although currently most states do not require ultrasound technicians to have certification, certain employers may require job candidates to have certification and licensure. Individuals are eligible to sit for certification exams upon completion of their educational training programs.
The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) is one of the most recognized licensure organizations and offers certification in areas such as abdomen, breast, vascular technology, obstetrics/gynecology, echocardiography, and neurosonography. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) also offers sonography certification. In addition, ultrasound technicians can obtain licensure from specific areas of sonography from other specialties. For instance, Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) features certification in vascular, cardiac, and phlebology ultrasound while the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO) allows ophthalmic ultrasound certification.