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Be a Gynecologist Technician: Education and Career Roadmap

Aug 17, 2018

Find out how to become a gynecologist technician, also known as a diagnostic medical sonographer. Research the education and training requirements, and learn about the experience you need to advance your career as a diagnostic medical sonographer. View article »

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  • 0:03 Become a Gynecologist Tech
  • 1:35 Earn Degree or Certificate
  • 2:24 Seek Professional Credentials
  • 3:04 Earn State Licensure
  • 3:25 Seek Employment
  • 3:50 Pursue Continuing Education

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Video Transcript

Become a Gynecologist Technician

A gynecologist technician is a diagnostic medical sonographer who specializes in gynecology and obstetrics. These workers operate special imaging equipment like an ultrasound machine that directs sound waves into a woman's reproductive system. Pregnant women regularly receive ultrasounds to track a baby's growth and health. Diagnostic medical sonographers also prepare patients for tests, maintain imaging equipment, analyze images for quality, and update patients' records.

Medical sonographers work in hospitals, doctor's offices, and imaging clinics. Almost all sonographers work full-time, and those who are employed by 24-hour care centers may be scheduled in the evening, overnight, or on weekends. Technicians spend long hours on their feet, both at patients' bedsides and in dimly lit sonography rooms. Gynecological sonographers should be strong enough to assist very pregnant women in moving about or getting up on the exam table.

Gynecologist technicians should be detail-oriented and able to operate medical equipment and utilize medical software. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that diagnostic medical sonographers, including gynecologist technicians, made a mean annual wage of $70,880 as of May 2015.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Associate's degree or post-secondary certificate
Degree Field(s) Diagnostic ultrasound, diagnostic medical sonography, or related field
Licensure & Certification Varies by state and employer; may need licensure or certification by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers in obstetrics and gynecology
Key Skills Detail-oriented; ability to operate medical equipment and utilize medical software
Mean Salary (2015) $70,880 (for all diagnostic medical sonographers)

Let's trace the steps to become a gynecologist technician.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Earn an Associate's Degree or Certificate in Sonography

Individuals interested in becoming diagnostic medical sonographers need at least an associate's degree. Degree programs are available in diagnostic ultrasound, diagnostic medical sonography, and related fields at many colleges, universities, and technical schools. Core courses in these programs generally include human anatomy, medical terminology, acoustical physics, obstetrical and gynecological sonography, ultrasound equipment, and echocardiography. Clinical coursework is also required. Instead of a degree program, current healthcare workers might be able to complete a one-year certificate program in sonography.

Step 2: Seek Professional Credentials

Employers often prefer to hire sonographers who have professional certification. These credentials are usually offered by industry associations and require a degree in sonography and passage of an exam. Many professionals in the field seek the Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS) designation from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS). The RDMS certification exam takes about three hours to complete and has about 170 questions.

Step 3: Earn State Licensure

Prospective diagnostic medical sonographers should check with their state government to see if they need a license to work. States such as Oregon and New Mexico require that diagnostic medical sonographers have a state license, and more states are expected to enact similar laws.

Step 4: Seek Employment

Some employers require registration with ARDMS, and applicants must be a graduate of an accredited ultrasound program. They also need exceptional customer service skills, and they must be able to work collaboratively on a team and adhere to the standards of practice for diagnostic medical sonographers.

Step 5: Pursue Continuing Education

Individuals seeking advancement opportunities might want to pursue continuing education to keep their knowledge and skills current. The International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology (ISUOG) offers various ways for diagnostic medical sonographers to gain additional training. The association holds an annual conference and publishes a peer-reviewed research journal. ISUOG also provides online educational materials such as web and on-demand lectures. Sonographers with three to five years of experience might become a lead sonographer or director of an ultrasound unit. They also might seek careers in imaging administration, equipment manufacturing and sales, or education.

Remember, to become a gynecologist technician, you'll need at least an associate's degree in diagnostic medical sonography or related field. You also might need state licensure, and many employers prefer candidates with professional certification.

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