Ultrasound technicians, sometimes referred to as sonographers, are healthcare professionals who work primarily in hospitals, physicians’ offices and diagnostic imaging centers. Their primary responsibility is to conduct ultrasound examinations on patients for the purpose of diagnosing medical conditions such as cancer, heart disease and pregnancy. Some sonographers specialize in the imaging of certain organs and body systems, while others choose to generalize. Your interest – as well as your place of employment – will often play a large role in whether or not you select a specialty. Sonographers working in a maternity ward will become specialists in monitoring fetal development, for example, while those working in a cardiology practice will become specialists in cardiac sonography.
Individuals who wish to become cardiac or diagnostic sonographers must complete a specialized sonography program at an allied health school such as the American College for Medical Careers. Here, students will complete a combination of theoretical and hands-on coursework to develop a comprehensive understanding of the sonography field. The curriculum focuses heavily on anatomy and physiology, as well as the fundamentals of sonography, with specific coursework in:
- Gross anatomy of the cardiovascular system
- Organ relationships
- Factors that affect blood flow
- Fetal anomalies
- Physical characteristics of sound
- Emergent technologies
- Disease pathology
Students at ultrasound technician schools also get a great deal of hands-on experience through their practicum training. This hands-on experience gives students ample opportunities to practice their ultrasound techniques, gain familiarity with the equipment and learn how to interact with patients and staff members. All of this experience is designed to prepare students for the national licensing exam so they can earn their credentials and begin their careers.
For incoming students who already have a Bachelor’s Degree, the training programs at ultrasound technician schools are relatively short – allowing students to begin their new careers in less than two years of full-time study. At ACMC, a Bachelor’s degree is required for admittance into the program.