Ask ten ultrasound technicians why they chose to become an ultrasound tech and there will be ten different answers. People mention good reasons like varied sonographer work duties and having opportunities to provide proof a fetus is developing normally. There are even more great reasons to become an ultrasound tech, ranging from playing a critical role in the diagnosis of medical conditions to being a major provider of medical services in a transforming healthcare industry.
Changing Healthcare Industry
Anyone who decides to become an ultrasound tech has made an excellent decision and can tick off a list of personal reasons. However, there are more than personal reasons that make ultrasound technology an excellent career choice. One of those reasons is the fact the Diagnostic Medical Sonography discipline is a perfect fit for a transforming healthcare industry.
The Affordable Care Act, coupled with rising medical costs and significant changes in insurance rates and coverages, has redirected focus to the services that can lower costs without degrading the quality of healthcare. Sonographic scanning can meet both requirements. In addition, the ACA requires expanded health insurance coverage of events related to pregnancy and childbirth, and for well visits. Other changes marking the transformation of the healthcare industry include greater use of outpatient care centers, transitioning of in-hospital services to physician offices and clinics and increasing reliance on advancing technology for service upgrades.
The Bureau of Labor statistics include Diagnostic Medical Sonography as one of the top professions expected to see significant growth over the coming years. Employment is projected to grow by 43.5 percent from 2012 to 2020. Though already significant, it is likely the numbers are understated because the full impact of the ACA has not been felt and will not be for many more years. The changing healthcare industry thus provides one of the great reasons to become a sonographer. In this setting, the profession can only continue assuming a more prominent role in delivering healthcare services.
More Great Reasons
With the transforming healthcare industry as a backdrop, a student can find many more great (and not just good) reasons to become an ultrasound technician.
The growth in the number of jobs is likely to accelerate while offering a variety of positions in a mix of healthcare settings. Once employed, job stability is strong with many people working for the same facilities for years.
Successful sonographers often mention the ability to serve as a patient advocate as a great reason for their career choice. Patients find great comfort in receiving services from highly trained, professional Diagnostic Medical Sonographers. The ultrasound technicians meet with patients before scans are done, serve as links between patients and physicians and interact with other medical personnel on behalf of the patients. The compassionate patient advocacy role is extremely important to working sonographers who serve as examples for students.
Sonographers are always moving, and that aspect of the work appeals to energetic people. This is definitely not a desk job except for brief periods of filling out required forms or talking to patients. Sonographers enjoy a fast-paced work shift that combines a variety of duties with plenty of action. The time goes fast while at work. (10 ultrasound specialties)
Ongoing Skill Challenges
No two patients have identical issues thus no two scanning assignments have identical requirements. Sonographers are consistently challenged to produce the ideal images that assist physicians with making critical diagnoses. New technology and scanning techniques are frequently developed, requiring sonographers to consistently upgrade skills and competencies.(How to advance your sonography career?)
Nothing in the Way of a Great Career
The CAAHEP accredited ultrasound technician programs have similar but strict training requirements to ensure students are prepared to take the ARDMS exams upon graduation and are ready to perform high quality diagnostic services. Most programs are on-campus, but students can also attend an ultrasound tech online program. The requirements are the same in terms of didactic instruction and clinical training.
As of February 2017, there are two online sonography programs available that are accredited by the CAAHEP:
- Sonography program provided by Jackson College in Jackson, Michigan – earn an associate’s degree or a certificate
- Sonography program provided by Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas – earn a certificate
With such great on-campus and online program options, nothing should stand in the way of anyone choosing to become an ultrasound tech. It is possible to become the one in one year, which is also appealing to students desiring to start a career as soon as possible. The list of great reasons to become a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer is going to grow as the healthcare industry continues to adapt to regulatory requirements, technology and a growing, aging population.