Ultrasound technicians assist physicians in diagnosing medical conditions by generating images and conducting tests with medical imaging equipment. Sometimes called sonographers, their responsibilities include preparing as well as maintaining and operating diagnostic imaging equipment, analyzing and reviewing diagnostic imaging results, preparing patients for procedures by taking medical history and answering questions, and recording findings.
Massachusetts Ultrasound Technician Schools
In order to become an ultrasound technician, it is typically necessary to complete a formal education program in the field. Below is a list of Massachusetts schools that offer sonography training programs for prospective ultrasound technicians:
- Bunker Hill Community College: Founded in 1973 and enrolling approximately 14,000 students each semester, Bunker Hill Community College is the largest community college in Massachusetts. It is also considered one of the most affordable and diverse community colleges in the state.
- Massasoit Community College: Established in conjunction with 12 community colleges in 1965, Massasoit Community College was named after the chief of the Wampanoag tribe, who was a symbol of mediation through dialogue between different cultures.
- Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences University: MCPHS University has over 100 different health science programs. It also has prepared more students for professional careers in pharmacy than any other academic institution in the world.
- Middlesex Community College: A 2-year public educational institution, Middlesex Community College has an average class size of 21 with almost 600 full- and part-time faculty members. It also offers more than 75 degree and certificate programs, and has a significant impact on the area's economy.
- Springfield Technical Community College: Founded in 1967, the Springfield Technical Community College is the only technical community college in Massachusetts. It focuses on a variety of technical career programs such as Biotechnology, IT Security, Nursing, Sonography, Robotics, Laser Electro-Optics, and Telecommunications.
What to Expect from Massachusetts Sonography Programs
Most sonography programs include courses in medical terminology, anatomy, applied sciences, and the usage of ultrasound equipment. The specific coursework required in order to complete the program will generally depend on the designated specialty, ranging from vascular or cardiovascular sonography to breast or abdominal sonography. Each specialization typically includes more specialized classes for that particular focus.
Another common factor in many programs is an in-field clinical component which requires candidates to study under experienced sonographers in a hospital, imaging laboratory, or physician's office while earning institutional credit. Some programs may also offer students the opportunity to participate in an internship at a nearby health care facility.
Massachusetts Ultrasound Technician Licensing and Certification
Although ultrasound technicians are not legally required to be licensed in Massachusetts, certification is often integral to a successful career in the field. In many cases, employers would rather hire professionally certified candidates, partly due to the fact that most insurance companies and Medicare only cover procedures conducted by certified technicians. Certification is recognized nationally and is offered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) and Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI).
In order to gain certification, candidates are required to pass an exam as well as graduate from an accredited program. Most employers prefer hiring graduates of sonography schools that are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
There are a wide range of certification specialties for sonographers to choose from. Cardiovascular sonography and vascular sonography certification, for instance, are both offered by CCI. ARDMS offers certifications in diagnostic medical sonography with concentrations in fields like breast, abdomen, or pediatric sonography, as well as cardiovascular and vascular sonography. Sonographers will commonly have at least one certification in a specialty, and many earn multiple certifications.
Resources for Ultrasound Technicians in Massachusetts