Advancement Opportunities for Ultrasound Technicians

Ultrasound technicians use diagnostic equipment to create images for physicians. After working as an ultrasound technician, these professionals may wish to receive advanced certifications in specific areas of ultrasound, supervise other ultrasound techs, or focus on the medical equipment that they use.

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Career Growth Opportunities for Ultrasound Technicians

Ultrasound technicians use ultrasound devices that utilize sound waves to create images that help physicians evaluate a patient's condition. They typically enter the field with an associate's degree. After working in the field, ultrasound technicians may wish to advance. They might consider an advanced specialty in ultrasound such as advanced cardiac sonography or vascular technology, a management position such as chief ultrasound technologist, or translating their experience with ultrasound equipment into a position as a medical device sales representative. Some information on these careers is presented below.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2016-2026)** Education or Experience
Advanced Cardiac Sonographer $61,784 (cardiac sonographer) 17%(diagnostic medical sonographers and cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including vascular technologists) Bachelor's degree and certification program
Vascular Technologist $65,826 17%(diagnostic medical sonographers and cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including vascular technologists) Six months experience and certification examination
Chief Ultrasound Technologist $75,243 20% (medical and health services managers) Bachelor's degree and experience
Medical Device Sales Representative $63,074 5% (sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, technical and scientific products) Bachelor's degree

Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

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Career Information

Advanced Cardiac Sonographer

Ultrasound technicians have experience producing high-quality sonograms for diagnostic purposes. Those who wish to specialize in one particular area of ultrasound would do well to consider advancing to a position in cardiac sonography. The title of advanced cardiac sonographer is relatively new. These professionals specialize in performing cardiac ultrasounds, or ultrasounds of the heart. They ensure that diagnostic images are of good quality and write reports for the diagnosing physician. They must be familiar with three-dimensional echocardiography and may have some role during heart procedures. Advanced cardiac sonographers may also provide training and supervision to other ultrasound technicians. To become an advanced cardiac sonographer, the candidate must first have a bachelor's degree and be a registered sonographer. They must then attend a program to be trained in administering cardiac ultrasounds and sit for the examination in advanced cardiac sonography. Registered ultrasound technicians with extensive experience in cardiac sonography may also qualify to sit for the examination.

Vascular Technologist

Another advanced sonography role to consider is that of a vascular technologist. These specialists focus on taking ultrasound images of a patient's circulatory system. They must prepare the patient for the examination and ensure that they stay comfortable throughout the procedure. To become a registered vascular ultrasound technologist, an ultrasound technician must either undergo a vascular technology program or have six months of experience in vascular ultrasound and pass an examination. Professionals in other allied health fields may also qualify to become vascular technologists.

Chief Ultrasound Technologist

Some ultrasound technologists may wish to move into a management position. These professionals may wish to pursue a job as a chief ultrasound technologist. Chief ultrasound technologists are responsible for the ultrasound division. They review the images produced by other ultrasound technicians to ensure their clarity and supervise the work done by these sonographers. Chief ultrasound technologists ensure that all regulations of the state and of the hospital are performed to specification. Most employers will prefer a chief ultrasound technologist to have a bachelor's degree and several years of experience in ultrasound.

Medical Device Sales Representative

Ultrasound technicians must be very familiar with the ultrasound devices and technology they use. Those who wish to further explore the role of medical technology could consider a position as a medical device sales representative. These individuals find potential buyers for medical equipment and then conduct demonstrations to encourage them to purchase the product. The contract for sale might then be developed with the potential client. They must then write sales reports to document their visits and their sales. Medical device sales representatives typically have a bachelor's degree and a background in the medical industry. Some experience with sales may also be helpful.

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