What Does it Take to Become an Ultrasound Tech?

A quick overview of the requirements to become an ultrasound technician.

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Becoming an ultrasound tech, or sonographer, is a great way to enter the medical field without having to commit to years of schooling. Ultrasound technicians use special equipment to create images of patients’ internal organs and tissue, which are then interpreted by physicians. This process is called diagnostic medical sonography, and it can be used to diagnose a variety of conditions.

If you’re interested in becoming an ultrasound tech, there are a few things you should know. First, you’ll need to complete an accredited training program. There are many community colleges and technical schools that offer these programs, and they typically last 1-2 years. Once you’ve completed your training, you’ll need to pass a national certification exam. After that, you’ll be ready to start your career!

Ultrasound technicians typically work in hospitals, but there are many other places you could find employment. For example, you could work in a physician’s office, a clinic, or even at a mobile imaging company. No matter where you work, you can expect to have regular contact with patients and their families. As such, it’s important that you have good communication skills and be able to maintain a professional demeanor at all times.

If you think becoming an ultrasound tech is the right career path for you, then take the first step today and research accredited training programs in your area!

What Does it Take to Become an Ultrasound Tech?

Ultrasound techs use high-frequency sound waves to create images of patients’ internal organs and blood flow. The demand for ultrasound techs is expected to grow in the coming years due to the aging population. If you’re interested in becoming an ultrasound tech, here’s what you need to know.


There are no formal education requirements to become an ultrasound technician. However, most employers prefer to hire those who have completed an accredited training program. These programs typically last between one and four years and lead to a certificate, diploma or associate’s degree.

Those who complete a two-year program typically earn an associate’s degree in diagnostic medical sonography. In addition to coursework in anatomy and physiology, students receive clinical training in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Upon graduation, they are eligible to take the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) exam to earn certification as a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS).

Those who complete a one-year program typically earn a certificate in diagnostic medical sonography. These programs provide less clinical training than two-year programs, so graduates are often required to complete a period of on-the-job training before they can sit for the ARDMS exam.

Some four-year colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degrees in diagnostic medical sonography. These programs include more liberal arts courses than certificate or associate’s degree programs, so they take longer to complete. However, they may give students a competitive advantage when applying for jobs or admission to graduate programs.

Most ultrasound technicians complete some form of continuing education throughout their careers to keep up with advances in technology and changes in the healthcare field. Many organizations, such as the ARDMS, offer continuing education courses and seminars that ultrasound technicians can take to renew their certification or expand their skillset.

Education and Training

Ultrasound techs, also called diagnostic medical sonographers, use special equipment to create images of patients’ internal organs, blood vessels, and other tissues. These images are then used by physicians to make decisions about treatment.

Becoming an ultrasound tech usually takes two to four years. Most programs lead to an associate’s degree or certificate, although some may offer a bachelor’s degree.

Many community colleges, technical schools, and hospitals offer two-year associate’s degree programs in diagnostic medical sonography. These programs typically include classroom instruction in anatomy, physiology, and physics, as well as hands-on training with ultrasound equipment. Some programs may require students to complete clinical rotations in order to gain experience working with patients.

After completing an accredited program, graduates must obtain certification from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). To be eligible for certification, candidates must pass a written exam and a skills assessment. Once certified, ultrasound techs must renew their certification every two years by completing continuing education credits.

Licensure and Certification

Though certification is not required for entry-level jobs, it may be beneficial to your career and provide you with greater job security. Certification also may be required for those who wish to move into management or research positions. To become certified, you must pass an exam administered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).

Skills Needed

Ultrasound technicians, also known as diagnostic medical sonographers, use ultrasound machines to create images of patients’ internal structures. To perform their jobs, technicians must have in-depth knowledge of human anatomy and be able to operate sophisticated equipment. They must also be able to put patients at ease and explain procedures clearly.

In addition to having the necessary skills, ultrasound technicians must complete formal education and earn credentials in the field. Although there are some one-year training programs available, most employers prefer to hire technicians who have completed two- or four-year degree programs in diagnostic medical sonography. Once they have completed their formal education, technicians must pass a professional credentialing exam before they can begin working.

What is the Job Outlook for Ultrasound Techs?

The ultrasound technologist job outlook is positive with a projected employment growth of 17 percent from 2016 to 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is faster than the average growth rate for all occupations. The median annual salary for ultrasound technologists was $68,530 in 2016.

Employment Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for ultrasound techs is excellent. The employment of diagnostic medical sonographers is projected to grow 24 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. An aging population and advances in medical technology are expected to lead to increased demand for diagnostic medical sonography services.

There will be a need for diagnostic medical sonographers in a variety of settings, including hospitals, physician’s offices, outpatient care centers, and mobile health units. Some diagnostic medical sonographers may be able to find work in research facilities.

Salary and Job Growth

Salary and job growth for ultrasound techs is very positive. The median salary for an ultrasound tech is $64,380 per year, and the job outlook is projected to grow by 17% from 2018 to 2028. This is much faster than the average for all occupations.


In conclusion, there are many different paths you can take to become an ultrasound tech. There is no one “right” way to do it, and the best way for you may depend on your individual circumstances. However, all ultrasound techs share one common goal: to provide high-quality patient care and help save lives.

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