Ultrasound Training

Ultrasound technicians are always in high demand, and are often hired by hospitals, clinics and medical institutions to provide specialized services in the field. These techs play an important role in assisting doctors, radiologists and other medical professionals in the diagnosis and treatment of various diseases, cancers and health problems. Ultrasound technician programs prepare students for an exciting and rewarding career in this field, and many schools offer specialized ultrasound training or ultrasound tech training for those who want to advance in their careers.

Most ultrasound technician training programs give students a chance to learn the body's anatomy, use different types of ultrasound equipment properly, and gain skills in reading imagery. These training programs typically last between 24 and 48 months, and may lead to an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree in the field.

Ultrasound Technician Salary Information

Many ultrasound technician training programs prepare students to work in a particular field or specialize in a certain area. An ultrasound tech may choose to specialize in any of the following areas:

  • Obstetric and gynecologic ultrasound or sonography - focuses on imaging of the female reproductive system
  • Neurosonography - focuses on the nervous system and the brain
  • Breast sonography - needed for ultrasound imaging of the breast tissue, and can help to detect breast cancer and other problems
  • Abdominal sonography - focuses on imaging of the abdominal cavity, kidney, spleen, male reproductive system and some parts of the digestive system
  • Cardiac sonography - focuses on the heart and cardiovascular system
  • Vascular sonography - focuses only on the circulatory system

Completing Ultrasound Technician Training

Ultrasound tech training programs are available at some trade schools, medical training institutes and ultrasound technician schools around the United States. Students interested in enrolling in an ultrasound tech training program need to make sure that the venue and programs are accredited. Most training programs include a hands-on or clinical component where students get to work side-by-side with doctors and medical professionals in a real-world setting. This gives them a chance to learn about hospital operations and protocol, and use some of the equipment used in hospitals and medical centers.

Some of the courses required as part of an ultrasound training program include:

  • Radiology
  • Ultrasound Principles
  • Physiology
  • Basic Physics
  • Medical Ethics
  • Patient Care
  • Anatomy

Most ultrasound training programs include a lecture component, a lab component and an internship or externship component. Students are trained how to use, care and clean key pieces of equipment including a transducer, convertor and computer imaging equipment. They are also trained on how to communicate with patients, fill out patient intake forms and paperwork, and how to use appropriate sterilization techniques throughout the imaging process. Students enrolled in an accredited ultrasound technician training program also learn the basic principle and legal guidelines around medical law, bioethics and hospital requirements.

In most cases, the first few years of training are enough for the student to apply for an entry-level medical sonographer or diagnostic medical sonographer position at a hospital, clinic, imaging center or other patient care facility. Those who wish to advance in their careers can take specialized ultrasound training courses, or complete a bachelor's degree in the field at an accredited ultrasound technician training school.