Sonogram Tech Job Summary
There are several professional titles for ultrasound techs (technicians). They are also referred to as sonogram techs, diagnostic medical sonographers (or just sonographers) and ultrasound technologists. Regardless of name, they all have the same basic job function, which is to carry out diagnostic ultrasound procedures on patients. While a number of techs practice as generalists there are specializations within the field, for instance in cardiology and pediatrics. Most work in Wyoming hospitals, clinics, outpatient diagnostic imaging centers and even private practices. Routine daily job tasks of a sonogram technician may include:
- Keeping records of patient medical histories and details of each procedure
- Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
- Preparing the ultrasound machines for testing and then cleaning and recalibrating them
- Moving patients to treatment rooms and making them comfortable
- Using equipment while limiting patient exposure to sound waves
- Reviewing the results and determining need for further testing
Ultrasound techs must regularly gauge the performance and safety of their machines. They also must adhere to a high ethical standard and code of conduct as health practitioners. So as to maintain that level of professionalism and stay current with medical knowledge, they are mandated to enroll in continuing education training on an ongoing basis.
Sonogram Technician Degree Programs Available
Sonogram tech enrollees have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will typically require around 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the program and class load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to finish. Another option for those who have already obtained a college degree is a post graduate certificate program. If you have earned a Bachelor's Degree in any major or an Associate Degree in a related health field, you can instead choose a certificate program that will take just 12 to 18 months to finish. Something to keep in mind is that most ultrasound technician schools do have a clinical training component as a portion of their course of study. It often may be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which numerous colleges sponsor with Wyoming hospitals and clinics. After you have graduated from one of the certificate or degree programs, you will then need to comply with the licensing or certification requirements in Wyoming or whatever state you choose to practice in.
Ultrasound Technology Specialties
Ultrasound technology, or diagnostic sonography, has become more popular for diagnosing internal medical conditions because, unlike other medical imaging tools such as X-rays or CT Scans, ultrasound doesn’t expose the body to radiation. This safer approach has made ultrasound imaging the preferred method for testing pregnant women and infants, who have a higher risk for complications due to radiation. However, babies and expectant mothers are not the only ones who can benefit from ultrasound imaging and it is used in many ways to diagnose illness in the body. Following is a partial list of ultrasound technician education specialties available in Wyoming:
- Musculoskeletal sonographers can create real-time images of joint injuries, assisting orthopedic surgeons and sports physicians in their diagnosis and treatment.
- Abdominal sonographers specialize in generating images of abdominal internal organs and tissues, such as the pancreas, spleen, liver and gallbladder.
- Breast sonographers conduct ultrasound scans using a sound frequency specifically targeted for breast tissue to evaluate tumors and other abnormalities as a method of verifying or contradicting the results of a mammogram.
- Obstetrics/Gynecology sonographers work with women to scan their reproductive organs and assess the development and health of fetuses throughout the pregnancy.
- Echocardiography sonographers are trained in the imaging and evaluation of the heart, its valves and vessels, and the blood flow to and from the heart.
- Vascular technologists are trained to use ultrasound technology to identify damaged areas or blockages in blood vessels, and to gauge the flow of blood through veins and arteries.
- Ophthalmology sonographers conduct diagnostic tests on the eyes and surrounding muscles and tissue.
- Neurosonology sonographers are specially trained to use ultrasound imaging to detect blockages, tumors or abnormalities of the brain and spinal cord.
Sonogram Tech Online Colleges
As earlier discussed, nearly all sonogram tech schools have a clinical requirement to their programs. So although you can obtain a certificate or degree online, a substantial part of the training will be either carried out in an on campus laboratory or at an approved off-campus medical care provider. Practical training can usually be fulfilled by means of an internship at a local Wyoming outpatient clinic, hospital or family practice. But the remainder of the classes and training may be accessed online in your home. This is particularly beneficial for those students that continue working while earning their degrees. In addition online schools are often less costly than traditional options. Costs for study materials and commuting may be lessened also. But just as with any sonographer college you are looking at, check that the online school you ultimately pick is accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Accreditation is particularly crucial for certification, licensing and finding employment (more on accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn away from the classroom in the convenience of your own home, then online classes could be the ideal option for you.