An ultrasound technician uses advanced equipment to produce images of the internal body. A career in ultrasound technology is rewarding and can be lucrative. It’s also a field that is expected to grow significantly in the next 10 years, which means a lower risk of unemployment.
If these benefits sound good, a career in ultrasound technology may be perfect for you. But before you make the leap, it’s important to understand some of the duties ultrasound technicians are responsible for while working.
One of the main responsibilities is that you will be in charge of using equipment that will send sonic/sound waves into a patient’s body to capture images of tissues, organs, and blood flow. While many call this an ultrasound, medical staff often calls it a sonogram.
The sonographer isn’t only responsible for taking the images; he or she must also interpret them. This means the person must have knowledge concerning what abnormal tissue looks like. This is the most important part of the job because missed diagnoses could result in fatal consequences.
After the sonographer reviews the images to determine if there is a health concern, he or she will file away the information, and send it to the doctor responsible for the follow up appointment.
Besides using the equipment and interpreting results, an these technicians must also interact with patients. To help with this part of the job, technicians should have good people skills. These skills include excellent communication abilities, patience, and compassion for others. It’s the job of the technician to help the patient feel calm and comfortable during the sonogram, and sometimes, this can be hard to do for those that are nervous.
Where Technicians Work
Most people think of an OB/GYN office or women’s center when they think about where ultrasound technicians work. While these are common places for technicians, there are many others that many people would find interesting.
One of the places is at a cancer facility. A neurosonography uses the same equipment but different waves to take images of the head and central nervous system. This can detect brain tumors, clots, and many other abnormalities.
A heart health center is another place many ultrasound technicians seek work. In this type of setting, a vascular and cardiovascular sonography is used to identify abnormalities in the heart valves and tissues. This equipment also helps track blood flow.
Many other medical facilities use sonography equipment such as eye, gastrointestinal and musculoskeletal care centers. Each of them requires the skills of an ultrasound technician to assist with the daily diagnosing of patients seeking medical help.
How to Decide if This is the Right Career for You
One of the biggest draws to this career field of the job outlook. According to the BLS, this field is expected to grow 44 percent by 2020 which is much faster than other fields. If reading about ultrasound technology excites you and you can picture yourself working with patients on a daily basis, it’s likely you’d found a career you’ll enjoy. Continue to research the field such as salary, expected job growth, and what you need to do to become one. If everything still fits what you are looking for in a lifelong career, start the path to becoming an ultrasound technician.