The workforce of 2017 is more mobile and global than it has ever been, and countries with shortages of sonographers are doing everything possible to professionals. To overcome long-term labor shortages, they have simplified the visa process, making it easier for trained sonographers to immigrate and start work. Diagnostic Medical Sonographers able to move to another country can take advantage of these opportunities, adding worldly experience to resumes while exploring a new culture.
Begging for Sonographers
Countries like Canada, the UK and Australia are begging for sonographers because 2017 is bringing a continued shortage of qualified professionals. To encourage immigration, the governments are fast-tracking the visa process to make it less cumbersome and to get sonographers into the workplace. Three countries experiencing long-term shortages are the UK, Canada and Australia.
Following is a brief review of the steps U.S. sonographers take to transfer their skills to another country.
Sonographers in UK
Sonographers can work in the United Kingdom which has a public National Health Service. The UK Government Migration Advisory Committee has placed sonographers on the list of specialty shortages. It is necessary to obtain a tier 2 visa which requires a sponsorship. The sponsor is usually a hospital which requires a minimum one-year work commitment.
It is necessary for sonographers to obtain professional indemnity insurance which can be obtained through registration with the Society of Radiographers. Sonographers are not regulated in the UK, and there is no formal system for assessing qualifications earned outside the UK. This places the responsibility for assessment on the employer. So the first step is satisfying an employer that the sonographer’s training and experience is satisfactory and matches needs. Once employed and legally in the country, it is wise to register with the Public Voluntary Register.
Sonographers in Canada
The neighboring country of Canada needs sonographers so much that they are being given a fast-track immigration status. Foreign nationals who are sonographers must have completed an accredited sonography program so those who attended a CAAHEP accredited program qualify.
The first step is completing an online Skilled Worker Assessment at Immigration.ca. If eligible for immigration, the sonographer can gain immediate entry into the country. However, each province has its own set of requirements as to who is qualified to work as a sonographer.
For example, in British Columbia the international and Canadian sonographers must complete the CARDUP National Certification Examination, and Sonography Canada’s approval is required to take the exam. CARDUP is the acronym for Canadian Association of Registered Diagnostic Ultrasound Professionals. It is important to verify the employment requirements of the province or territory of interest.
Sonographers in Australia
The country of Australia is begging for sonographers who meet the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) 2512-14. The sonography occupation is in such demand that it is listed on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL). The sonographer can apply for one of several visas included in the General Skilled Migration Program. The visa assessment form is available online.
The Australian Institute of Radiography (AIR) represents radiation therapists, radiographers and sonographers. Any sonographer who earned qualifications outside of Australia must be assessed by the AIR before he or she can work in Australia. Once qualified, the AIR issues a Certificate of Proficiency, and that qualifies the sonographer to apply to the ASAR for registration. ASAR is the Australian Sonographer Accreditation Registry. So the process is not that different from the U.S. process of assessment and registration.
There are sonographer positions open in other countries. For example, Ikon Solutions Asia, an overseas recruitment agency, has 20 sonographer positions open in Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates. The education requirements are listed as “any” and only 2 years of experience are required.
Considering International Work
If considering international work, the first step is to check with the appropriate regulatory body in the country of interest. Each country has an immigration agency and a U.S. embassy that can provide assistance. It is also wise to discuss opportunities and the immigration process with the country’s leading or industry recognized sonography or radiology associations or societies. They can provide great insight and tips.
Sonographers decide to work overseas or in Canada for many reasons. Sonographers who are ARDMS registered but have minimal experience and limited family commitments are likely to be more interested in an international position. Working in another country can be a great career booster. The professional can gain experience that will be recognized upon return to the U.S., making them more competitive in the job market. Since sonographers are in such great demand, they are welcomed and appreciated.
Anywhere in the World
There are unlimited opportunities open to sonographers on a global basis. The UK, Canada and Australia are just three of the many countries that mobile U.S. sonographers can consider. There is a demand for sonographers around the world, especially if they have ARDMS registration in multiple specialties. The world is much smaller than it used to be.