Ultrasound Technician Schools Washington – Find Best Sonography Programs 20010, DC

Washington, DC

Ultrasound technician schools in Washington can educate you in a vital area of today’s healthcare system. Doctors can’t diagnose their patients without solid evidence of illness or other medical conditions. Nor can they easily track the progression of certain diseases or determine the status of some pregnancies unless they are able to see what is happening inside their patients’ bodies.

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Job Description of an Ultrasound Tech

Ultrasound technicians perform duties that produce results similar to other diagnostic imaging fields, including X-rays and MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machines. The difference is sonography uses reflected sound waves to create an image of the inside of a patient’s body. Ultrasound is commonly used during pregnancy to view a fetus.

Ultrasound technicians are trained to operate ultrasound equipment and to look for abnormal problem areas in an image. They must ensure that the image is clear enough for the doctor and other medical staff to make an accurate diagnosis. Also, the ultrasound technician may be required to obtain measurements, perform calculations and evaluate the results.

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Are There Different Types of Medical Sonographers?

Because sonography is used on so many different areas of the body, most sonographers choose to specialize in one or more areas. These include: obstetric/gynecologic sonographers, who study the female reproductive system; abdominal sonographers, who inspect organs such as the gallbladder, bile ducts, kidneys, liver, pancreas, spleen and the male reproductive system; neurosonographers, who study the nervous system and the brain; breast sonographers who aid in mammography in order to detect breast cancer, track tumors, monitor blood supply conditions, and assist in biopsy of breast tissue; and vascular and cardiac sonographers, who study the heart and blood vessels.

Ultrasound Technician Washington 20010 District of Columbia

How do I Become a Medical Sonographer in Washington?

There are multiple avenues to becoming a medical sonographer, including formal education from a college, university, or hospital; technical training at a vocational school; or training in the armed forces in Washington. No state requires formal certification for medical sonographers; however, certifying bodies exist, most notably the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS), and many employers prefer certified sonographers because they have been held to a regulated standard. A sonographer can qualify to sit for the exam through formal education or work experience.

If you choose formal education, the types of programs available are:

Associate Degree – These two-year programs are offered at various colleges, and are the most prevalent degree in Washington. They also make up the majority of the 150 accredited programs nationwide. Coursework includes anatomy, physiology, instrumentation, physics, patient care, and medical ethics.

Bachelor’s Degree – A few four-year sonography training programs exist at colleges and universities in Washington, but they are much less common than associate programs. These programs are also accredited.

Vocational Certificate – Some vocational/technical schools offer one-year training programs in sonography in Washington, and some employers accept this as sufficient education. This avenue is mainly recommended for professionals who are already employed in the health field and seeking training in ultrasound to increase their marketability. A certificate may not be the best way to get started in the field.

Ultrasound Technician Career Overview in Washington

Education Associate’s degree is most common; certificate and bachelor’s degree programs also available
Certification Professional certification may be required or preferred by some employers
Projected Job Growth (2013-2025) in Washington 48%
Median Salary (2011)* (Washington) $61,849
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How do I Choose an Ultrasound Technician Program in Washington?

Accreditation – The accrediting body for medical sonography programs is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health/Education Programs (CAAHEP). The CAAHEP has accredited 150 programs, including those offered by colleges and universities, as well as some hospital training programs. Though attending an accredited program is not the only way to become a medical sonographer in Washington, it does automatically qualify graduates to sit for the certifying exam and is universally recognized by employers.

Admissions Requirements – Make sure to research the admissions requirements of programs that interest you. Vocational, associate and bachelor’s programs may specific courses in math, health, and/or sciences.

Career Goals/ Specialization – Because specialization is so common in sonography, be sure that your program of choice offers your desired specialty. Vascular and cardiac sonography are two particularly specialized programs that not all schools offer.

Curriculum – Look over the program curriculum and make sure that yours provides plenty of hands-on experience. Because sonography is a very hands-on, technical profession, this might be the most important part of your education.

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ultrasound sonogram technician salary Washington

Employment Outlook for Ultrasound Technicians in Washington

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the  job outlook for diagnostic medical sonographers in Washington, commonly referred to as ultrasound technicians, is very promising with a projection of 39% more positions available by the year 2022. The BLS adds that the median ultrasound technician salary in March 2015 was $65,638 annually; the top 12% among the ultrasound job market made over $92,316 and the lowest 18% made less than $46,886. With ultrasound technician demand expected to grow, salaries in turn should reflect the growing value placed on sonography within the medical world.

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