6 Tips for Jump Starting Your
Career as an Ultrasound Technician
What do you think about when you think of an ultrasound? You might be thinking about pediatrics and OB-GYNs, but that isn’t the whole story.
There are a surprising number of different uses for ultrasound. These include abdominal, musculoskeletal, cardiac, and even anesthesiology. Being in this field is a fulfilling and interesting line of work, which pays well. Every day brings another puzzle to solve.
Knowing what career to get into today might be hard to see. Today we’re going to reveal the 6 tips you need for starting your ultrasound technician training and career.
Identify the Needs in Your Area
The first step in this process isn’t finding out how much you can make in your area or what the licensing is like yet. Why? Imagine doing all the steps but there’s no need in your region. Make sure you have a place to use your newfound skillset.
There’s no sense in spending 1-3 years on average getting the education you need, then passing state exams and requirements, just to sit on your couch. There are also different places to work than a hospital.
Some places other than general hospitals to consider are outpatient centers, physician’s offices, specialty hospitals, and medical and diagnostic laboratories. Find out where these are, find out the needs of these institutions, and make a plan.
Consider reaching out now and finding future needs, since you now need to get training.
Education and Licensing in Your State
Of course, it’s a huge step to find the type of education you need, if it is available in your area, and then what kind of state license you need. There are plenty of technical schools, even online ones.
These courses are designed for those who already have higher education degrees in some medical capacity.
Otherwise, you need to choose between an associate’s, bachelor’s, or even master’s level program. See what is right for you, but the vast majority of ultrasonographers only get an associate’s degree in their field.
Going higher may get your dream position and more specialized training quicker. Time and money are the ultimate judges here.
Definitely look into the process state exams and licensure. Do this ahead of time so you don’t get caught by surprise by last-minute requirements that cost you an extra semester or months of extra interning.
Find Out Your Expected Earnings
Not all ultrasonographers are under the same demand in their field, as well as the median income and living expenses of your region.
For example, in New York City you have more earning potential than rural Alabama. But living expenses are not evenly distributed between the two.
You could end up having more economic advantage in Alabama.
If you don’t want to travel for a better income to expense ratio, we understand. It’s still important to know the median income of those in your field in your region, along with the top and bottom 10%.
For example, the latest report from the Bureau of Labor statistics gives mean earnings of $75,780. Take it with a grain of salt, though as this is nationwide and in all industry segments. Research it carefully to find your target.
Work on Your Soft-Skills
Soft-skills can be hard.
Empathy and being able to work in a high-pressure, low-tolerance place like a hospital don’t always go hand-in-hand. It isn’t just about diagnosis and treatment and what you need to do with your hands, but also how you treat the patient.
Listening, taking direction, putting people at ease (within reason) are all skills you’ll have to learn. Some of these you can practice before ever touching an ultrasound machine or squirting some gel. Some you can only learn on-the-job.
Prepare yourself to show a soft demeanor but have rock-like nerves at the same time. All this while trying to do your actual job.
Specialize, or Don’t
To specialize or not to specialize, that is the question.
There are obvious advantages to specializing in a certain field of ultrasound. For certification in musculoskeletal ultrasound, you’ll have to take msk ultrasound courses. You can take these courses while you already have an entry-level job in a general hospital.
There’s nothing wrong with being a specialist and making more money and being in higher demand. There’s also nothing wrong with being a generalist, going wherever needed for a while.
It’s a career path for a reason, part of the joy of a destination is the journey getting there.
Make sure to be ready for long hours standing in one place, as you assist in a procedure, helping a doctor. You’ll be walking and standing all day in most hospitals.
You’ll have a workload of 12 hour days, and see 12-15 patients per day on average. Even before dealing with the patient, you’ll be preparing, sterilizing, and calibrating machines.
You’ll also have to have a level of physical fitness for turning or lifting patients. So start lifting and build yourself up while you’re in school or even before. Make sure to eat healthy food, and get comfortable shoes!
Become an Ultrasound Technician: Are You Ready?
Becoming a technician isn’t the hardest thing in the world. It requires effort, research, and persistence, but it pays off. It’s not only about money but also about the good you do. Take a good look inside yourself today and see if it’s for you.
The chances are good that you have what it takes to be an ultrasound technician.