Ultrasound Technician Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

An Ultrasound Technician, or Sonographer, is responsible for using ultrasound equipment to help visualize internal anatomy functions. Their duties include calibrating and manipulating ultrasound equipment to conduct appointments, taking pictures or videos of potential abnormalities and discreetly notifying medical personnel if they identify something concerning.

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Ultrasound Technician duties and responsibilities

The duties of an Ultrasound Technician go beyond diagnosing ailments. Other responsibilities include:

  • Use sonographic equipment to identify and observe the area(s) of concern
  • Prepare the exam room for examinations and assist Radiologists with vascular ultrasound procedures and ultrasound-guided biopsies
  • Report to the appropriate medical staff of any abnormalities that require immediate attention
  • Maintain sonography equipment and report machinery failure
  • Conduct scan tests and write reports based on the results
  • Manage several patients and priorities and be able to adapt to a fast-paced work environment
  • Work under minimal supervision and cooperate with other team members

What does an Ultrasound Technician do?

Ultrasound Technicians typically work for hospitals, Physician’s offices or diagnostic laboratories to diagnose potential diseases, injuries or health conditions.  They also use their equipment to check on the health of fetuses at different stages throughout a patient’s pregnancy. Their job is to use sonographic equipment to take pictures or videos throughout the appointment for further review by Physicians. They may also be responsible for sterilizing ultrasound equipment and exam rooms in between appointments.

Ultrasound Technician skills and qualifications

Some of the essential skills for an Ultrasound Technician are:

  • Verbal communication skills
  • Active listening skills
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Reading comprehension skills
  • Interpersonal skills

Ultrasound Technician salary expectations

An Ultrasound Technician makes an average of $17.86 per hour. The exact pay rate may depend on the Ultrasound Technician’s level of experience, education and geographic location. 

Ultrasound Technician education and training requirements

Ultrasound Technicians should have some formal education and training to be successful in the role. The most common training for Ultrasound Technicians is an associate degree program with coursework in human anatomy, ultrasound equipment, pathophysiology and obstetrics. Similarly, there are also one-year certificate or degree programs from technical and vocation schools, community colleges and certain universities. Some states require Ultrasound Technicians to be certified as part of their licensure requirements. To become certified, candidates must pass the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) exam and maintain their certification through continuing education.

Ultrasound Technician experience requirements

In addition to a formal education and certification, many Ultrasound Technician employers require at least 1 year of work experience with a reputable public or private medical center. Ultrasound Technicians should be experienced with acquiring medical histories, explaining procedures and facilitating positive patient experiences. They should be able to perform general, vascular and OB ultrasound sonographic examinations as well as assess patients to determine the right diagnostic protocols.

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Frequently asked questions about Ultrasound Technicians

 

What is the difference between an Ultrasound Technician and a Radiologic Technician?

Both Ultrasound Technicians and Radiologic Technicians use medical equipment to produce images of internal human anatomy. They differ in the types of equipment they use and the types of patients they interact with. For example, Ultrasound Technicians are trained to use equipment like transabdominal machines. This type of equipment creates high-frequency sound waves that develop an image of what’s going on inside the body. Ultrasound Technicians typically use this equipment to monitor a fetus’s health, detect tumors or cysts and diagnose cardiovascular conditions. 

In contrast, Radiologic Technicians use medical equipment like MRI machines. These machines use radiation to create images of internal structures. Because of the use of radiation, Radiologic Technicians have the ability to get even more in-depth images of anatomical structures. For this reason, Radiologic Technicians usually help diagnose broken or fractured bones or concussions.

 

What are the daily duties of an Ultrasound Technician?

On a typical day, an Ultrasound Technician starts by checking their appointment schedule. Before each appointment, they prepare the exam room, turn on sonographic equipment and review the patient’s medical records to learn more about their need for an ultrasound exam. Throughout the day, they greet patients, talk to them about the procedure and perform ultrasounds on patients. After each exam, Ultrasound Technicians sanitize their exam room and speak with Physicians about what they found during the procedure.

 

What qualities make a good Ultrasound Technician?

A good Ultrasound Technician has a personable nature, which allows them to interact with patients in a friendly way. This quality helps patients feel relaxed and enhances patient satisfaction. They have a keen attention to detail, enabling them to look at sonographic monitors to determine the gender of a fetus or any abnormalities present. Further, a good Ultrasound Technician practices discretion. This is especially important when they detect potential abnormalities in fetuses or anatomical structures as it helps the patient stay calm until they can confirm or deny their diagnosis.

 

Who does an Ultrasound Technician report to?

Ultrasound Technicians usually report to the Ultrasound Manager or Sonographer Manager at a diagnostic or medical laboratory. In other healthcare facilities, Ultrasound may report directly to one or more Physicians. These individuals act as a point of communication for Ultrasound Technicians when they have concerns about a patient’s condition. 

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