Also known as sonographers, ultrasound technicians use sophisticated ultrasound machines to create diagnostic imagery of a patient's internal organs and other tissues. Doctors use these images to monitor, diagnose, and treat a variety of medical conditions, from pregnancy to cancer to heart disease.
To obtain certification from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS), you must graduate from a sonography training program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Two New Mexico schools offer such programs:
Upon completion of their chosen program, graduates should pursue ARDMS certification in order to begin their career as an ultrasound technician.
Students who graduate from a sonography program learn a variety of skills designed to improve their chances of success. These typically include:
While specific curriculum will vary from program to program, sonography students can expect to study the following topics:
In addition, students spend a great deal of time (typically 1,000 hours or more) working in a clinical setting with actual ultrasound equipment. This may take place at a campus lab, or even at a local health care facility.
Currently, New Mexico does not have a licensure requirement for ultrasound technicians. However, legislation requiring licensure passed recently, though no date is provided on when it will go into effect.
Upon graduation from your ultrasound technician program, you are strongly encouraged to obtain ARDMS certification, as most employers require these credentials. Additionally, certification can greatly boost your earning potential. ARDMS offers four certification options:
To obtain ARDMS certification, you'll need to pass two exams, the Sonography Principles and Instrumentation exam, as well as the specialty exam of your choice. You must also submit a Clinical Verification Form, completed application, the appropriate fee, and your transcript. ARDMS returns any incomplete applications but does not reimburse the application fee.
The map below shows job statistics for the career type by metro area, for New Mexico. 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.
2017 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; O*NET® 23.1 Database, O*NET OnLine, National Center for O*NET Development, Employment & Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, onetonline.org
Annual Median Salary