Facts About Becoming A Medical Sonographer
Medical ultrasonography is a highly important tool for doctors around the world, and the professionals that operate the imaging devices often are known as ultrasound technicians, although their proper job title is diagnostic medical sonographer. This is a bustling occupational field and sonographers constantly are in demand. If you are considering medical ultrasonography as a career, here are some facts you should know.
First of all, there are many different kinds of medical sonographer, and you may want to specialize in one specific type of sonography. For instance, obstetrical sonography is used to check fetal development during pregnancy. Echocardiography is a type of ultrasound used to diagnose problems of the heart. Other areas of concentration include vascular sonography, pediatrics and there are even generalized programs that focus on many areas of sonography.
You will need to obtain a two-year associate degree or bachelor’s degree from a college or university that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs or CAAHEP. It is unwise to consider any program not accredited by CAAHEP. There are hundreds of colleges around the country that offer the classes you will need in order to complete your sonography class work. There are also bachelor’s degrees available in medical sonography from more than two dozen universities around the country.
A typical two-year program might require prerequisite class work such as taking a class in medical terminology as well as anatomy and physiology prior to entering the program, and there may be several other classes you must take prior to entering the program at the college of your choice. Once you enter the program, you will take a wide variety of classes related to your career choice, including classes that offer hands-on clinical experience.
During your clinical experiences, you will learn how to use many different types of ultrasound equipment. These ultrasound machines might include GE ultrasound equipment, Philips ultrasound machines, Voluson ultrasound machines, portable ultrasound machines and much more. You also will be learning how to interact with patients and health professionals.
After you complete your class work and clinical experiences, you will have to obtain enough hours of training to sit for the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography exams. These also are known as ARDMS exams. Students will take one exam known as the SPI (Sonography Principles and Instrumentation) exam, as well as exams that fit within the student’s corresponding specialty. For example, if you wish to earn a credential as a Registered Vascular Technologist, you must pass both the SPI exam and the Vascular Technology exam. You can take multiple exams if you wish to gain certification in several areas, which definitely can increase your ability to obtain a job.