The Paths For Becoming An Ultrasound Technician

Becoming an ultrasound technician necessitates earning proper certification from an accredited program. You must have the appropriate ultrasound technician degree, which is most commonly an associate’s degree. Certificates, bachelors and masters degrees are also available. When you finish training, you must then take licensing and certification exams, which vary depending on your state and specialty. If you pass these, you can then enter the profession. Employers prefer candidates with a lot of experience, so you should seek out ultrasound technician certification in several areas. Basically, the more experience you can get in training the better, so it is a good plan to take an extra internship if your schedule allows it.

There are 1-year certificate programs available to become a sonographer, but these are only considered appropriate for those who are cross-training into the field from another medical area, such as radiology or nursing. Such fields are closely enough related that you can easily apply what you already know to Sonography, mastering the skills quickly. You might even be able to arrange on-the-job training at the healthcare facility where you already work, so that a job will be ready for you once you achieve your ultrasound technician certification.

Ultrasound Technician TrainingThe majority of ultrasound tech schools offer 2-year associates degrees. These rigorous programs teach you didactic courses in Sonography, physics, anatomy and patient care, combined with several clinical rotations in assorted areas of Sonography. When you receive your ultrasound technician degree, you will usually need to take exams for certification. What certifications are necessary will depend on your location and specialty. Your region may not require a license but many employers prefer that you be licensed before you begin practicing. If you are already working in the field and are interested in pursuing further ultrasound technology career advancement, you might earn a bachelor’s degree. This will enable you to go into healthcare management and work for the government in shaping health policy.

The highest ultrasound technician degree available is a master’s degree. If you are interested in research, publication and teaching, as well as working in the upper echelons of management and public policy, a master’s degree will help you get there. Many of these positions will allow you to earn a higher ultrasound technician salary. You should be aware, however, that the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) accredits very few ultrasound tech schools at the master’s degree level.

All ultrasound technician schools will insist that you undertake 1 or more clinical rotations during your course of study. You can gain further experience through an extra internship if you want an additional ultrasound technician certification on hand when you leave school. You can start an internship even before you enter your program, and it can be a great way to secure a job once you are certified.

Finally, it can be helpful to join a professional organization, such as the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography. In addition to being able to access more job boards and make contacts, it demonstrates your professionalism and commitment to the field.

Advice For Ultrasound Technician Professionals

Whether you are just beginning your ultrasound technician career or are looking to advance, 1 of the best ways to get ahead is by word of mouth. Your good reputation will precede you, and excellent networking will open doors. It is up to you to remain positive, take initiative, work hard and pursue the ultrasound technician employment opportunities that speak to you. People love to be asked for advice, so never be afraid to ask, so long as you remember to take the advice.

As you gain ultrasound technician experience during your clinical training, you will quickly find that some areas of the field appeal to you more than others. Make a special effort to connect with your teachers, the staff in the department and other professional ultrasound technicians. Let them know that you hope to pursue your ultrasound technician program or career in a particular area. They may even want to hire you themselves, and many grads have jobs lined up before they finish school. But if they cannot take you on, many professional are willing to help a talented sonographer connect with the right department.

However, just because some graduates snap up full-time jobs easily does not mean it will happen for you, even if you graduate at the top of your class. Ultrasound technician employment opportunities are mostly excellent, but it can be difficult to land that first full-time, permanent job. Your job then becomes 1 of staying positive and continuing to work toward your goal.

There are a number of things you can do to land ultrasound tech jobs when none seem available. You might volunteer at your school and offer tutoring to new students. This will show your dedication to the field and can open up other possibilities. Volunteer experience will always help you stand out in an interview, and practice with teaching might prompt you to pursue a higher degree, which will then allow you to go on and teach new students, while commanding a high salary.

Remember that the biggest mistake you can make when you go into an interview is to be overconfident. You may have graduated with top marks and commendations, but you are still just a student and have a long way to go before you can prove you deserve the excellent ultrasound technician salary of a top job.

ultrasound-technician-adviceRemember too that you are always learning, even after 10 years on the job. Ultrasound technology jobs have changed with medical innovations and will continue to do so. When you start out, take notes on all the procedures, even if you think you already know them. You need to get to know what individual doctors want and the protocols of a given department. The more adaptable you are, the more challenges you will be offered. You will have to earn further certifications and retake exams every 5 years, but if you realize from the outset that every day is about learning, you will advance much more quickly.

Never be afraid to ask questions and ask for advice. Everyone can help you, and they all have something to offer. Asking and taking advice can be 1 of the best things you can do to help yourself when you are the new ultrasound technician.


While the demand for top sonographers is growing, you may have a hard time landing your first full-time, permanent job. Stay positive, work hard and explore different opportunities. You will get there, and it will all be worthwhile.