If you’re interested in learning how to become an ultrasound technician, you chose a great career option. Job prospects are on the rise as well as the earning potential. To break into the industry it takes a lot of dedication and hard work.
If you’re ready to commit 19 months or more to school and take the necessary exams to gain credentialing, you’ll be rewarded with an exciting career in the medical arena. We’ve compiled some information to help you learn a little more about how to become an ultrasound technician.
Step 1: Find the Right School
This is the most important part of pursuing your career in the ultrasound realm. There are plenty of schools out there to choose from and it’s important to pick one that will prepare you to enter the field fully qualified.
The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs is the agency tasked with ensuring schools are up to par in educational standards and student success. To gain accreditation from the CAAHEP, schools are required to meet a number of strict benchmarks.
Everything from the quality of the professors to curriculum, student services and facilities are taken into account when determining whether a school should be accredited. Members who sit on the CAAHEP board will ultimately decide if a school is worthy or accreditation. It’s not a designation that is handed out easily and plenty of schools are rejected every year.
Make sure the school you choose is accredited.
Step 2: Apply Early
Some of the top schools only offer a very limited number of seats during each term. This keeps the student-to-professor ratio low and allows for closer communication. It also means seats are that much more competitive.
Applying early is a good idea for a number of reasons. First, it sets the administrative wheels in motion and puts you ahead of the pack. Secondly, if you forgot any supporting documentation, or need to supply additional information, you’ll have plenty of time to remedy the situation before the application deadline looms.
It’s also important to keep in mind that applying to a program usually isn’t free, so you’ll want to narrow it down to your top three schools. Only applying for one may be a bit of a gamble, so having a couple backup applications in the pipeline is a good way to make sure you have a better shot at getting into a great ultrasound technology program.
Step 3: Choose Your Program
There are several degree and certificate options available. Most people who want to learn how to become an ultrasound technician enter an associate degree program, which usually lasts around 18 months. There are also bachelor degree programs, which take longer to complete, but increase earning potential and the opportunity to advance your career.
It wouldn’t hurt to get your associate degree first, gain some work experience and enroll in a bachelor’s degree program after your first round of student loans are paid off. Some ultrasound technology programs offer certificates as well, but these are typically reserved for professionals in a similar occupation who want to expand their abilities.
Learning how to become an ultrasound technician is a big and important life decision. Set the foundation right by making sure the education you get will be among the best the industry has to offer.