Ultrasound technicians, sometimes referred to as diagnostic medical sonographers, operate sonography equipment, which uses high-frequency sound to produce images of patients' bodies. Technicians produce and record sonographic images for later use by physicians in diagnosis and treatment. Ultrasound techs must be familiar both with the equipment that they use to produce images and the medical and physiological issues that their images will be used to diagnose.
These medical workers help diagnose issues in many different medical specialty areas, including obstetrics, cardiology, vascular medicine, and musculoskeletal structure. Ultrasound techs are also required to interact with patients during procedures, so training programs typically include components focused on interpersonal relationships.
Earning an associate degree in diagnostic medical sonography helps prepare graduates to work as entry-level technicians in clinics, hospitals, imaging centers, or outpatient medical facilities. These programs typically take two years or more to complete, and graduation from an accredited program makes the student eligible to take professional certification exams. Certificate programs are generally intended for professionals already working in the field, or who already have a degree in a related health care field and wish to add sonography certification to their qualifications.
The following Arizona school offers several training options for students interested in entering the field of diagnostic medical sonography:
Students in ultrasound technician training programs should expect instruction in basic science courses, including biology, anatomy, physiology, chemistry, and physics. Admission to programs is often competitive, and admissions officers may give preference to applicants who are already employed in related fields, hold degrees in related areas, or have prior backgrounds in science- or health-related coursework. Accepted students may also be required to complete prerequisite courses before beginning sonography programs.
In addition to basic coursework, students can expect to gain training in specialized medical areas, such as:
Most programs also include an internship to provide participants with hands-on clinical experience prior to graduation. Such clinical experience is a requirement for certification exam eligibility.
Ultrasound technicians in Arizona do not need a license issued by a governmental agency in order to practice professionally. However, sonographers must hold a certification from either the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) or Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) in order to be considered for employment in the state.
Prerequisites for certification include graduation from an accredited training program and successful completion of multiple certification exams. To earn the Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS) certification, students must pass both a basic exam and a specialization exam. Further specialized certifications for experienced technicians are also available.
Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
The map below shows job statistics for the career type by metro area, for Arizona. A table below the map shows job popularity and salaries across the state.
Listed below are metro areas ranked by the popularity of jobs for Sonographers relative to the population of the city. Salary data was obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; O*NET® 22.1 Database, O*NET OnLine, National Center for O*NET Development, Employment & Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, onetonline.org
Annual Median Salary