The BSN (Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing) degree qualifies you to become a registered nurse, however, you do not need this degree to be an ultrasound technician. In most states you can become an ultrasound technician with an associate’s degree or a certificate program; neither a bachelor’s degree nor a nursing degree is required. However, if you do have a BSN you can complete an additional certification to become licensed as an ultrasound technician. Read on to learn more about how to become an ultrasound technician, what this role entails, and the salary and job outlook for this exciting career.
What Does an Ultrasound Technician Do?
This imaging professional, also called a diagnostic medical sonographer, is responsible for using equipment to complete diagnostic examinations for patients. In many cases, ultrasound technology is used to produce images of the fetus to evaluate the progress of a pregnancy. However, this diagnostic imaging technique also has other applications, such as detecting some types of cancer and cardiovascular issues. Ultrasound technicians must use equipment, analyze images, answer patient and family questions, and make recommendations to supervising physicians. Good communication skills and keen attention to detail are essential to success in this career.
Becoming an Ultrasound Technician
An ultrasound technician must first complete an associate’s degree program in sonography. If he or she already has experience in the medical field, one-year certification programs from colleges, hospitals, and health systems are also available. While colleges increasingly offer bachelor’s degree programs in sonography, this advanced course of study is not required in most states. Sonography programs include both classroom and clinical instruction, including courses in anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, applied sciences, and hands-on training. In most states, ultrasound technicians must be licensed, which requires passing an exam, paying a fee, and undergoing continuing education classes each year to maintain certification status. To find accredited education programs in your area, visit the Council for Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.
Salary and Job Outlook for Ultrasound Technicians
This is one of the highest paying jobs available with an associate’s degree. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, ultrasound technicians earn an average annual salary of more than $65,000. This is also a fast growing field, with a 39 percent increase in available jobs projected by 2022. This means that you can expect there to be around 27,000 new positions for ultrasound technicians over the next several years. Many in this field choose to specialize in an area such as obstetrics, cardiovascular, or orthopedics, which commands a higher salary and more available jobs.
If you’re looking for an exciting, high paying career in the medical field without the need for extensive, expensive schooling, considering becoming an ultrasound technician. You do not need a BSN to be an ultrasound technician, though if you do already have this degree you can change careers simply by completing an accelerated certificate program.