The Complete Guide to Becoming an Ultrasound Technologist
After careful consideration, you’ve decided to join the allied healthcare field as an ultrasound technologist, also known as a diagnostic medical sonographer. No matter if you already have experience or are starting fresh, there’s never been a better time to gain the skills you’ll need to succeed in this industry.
You’ve probably noticed that there are thousands of ultrasound tech training programs across America and that many of them have selective application processes. Don’t worry: our comprehensive list will give you the tips and tricks you’ll need to attend your ideal ultrasound school. Depending on where you decide to apply, these steps might be slightly different.
1. Visit the Campus
Now that you’ve chosen your future career, it’s time to pick where you’ll study. During their studies, most prospective ultrasound techs prefer to stay close to their home and jobs. With excellent opportunities throughout the United States, however, it’s not uncommon to meet students that move somewhere new and exciting.
Before applying anywhere, however, we highly recommend visiting a school in-person to conclude if it’s the right fit for you. While there, you can get a better feel for the environment, observe classes, chat with students and instructors, and sit down with an admissions team member.
Make an Appointment with an Admissions Team Member
Excellent admissions experts will help you to achieve your academic goals while going over application and enrollment procedures. They’ll ask you about your previous educational achievements, and assist you with any questions you might have about course structure and financial aid opportunities.
2. Determine Your Financial Aid Options
A lot of prospective students wrongly assume that they aren’t eligible for financial assistance. In fact, most full-time students receive at least partial financial aid, as the primary consideration for FAFSA is economic need. Another common assumption is that applying for FAFSA is difficult. Not so: this a fairly straightforward process, and only takes an hour to complete.
Be sure to submit your information at least a week before you apply to an ultrasound technologist school. Getting certified with minimal student debt is great, but getting certified and earning great entry-level salaries is even better.
3. Apply to Ultrasound Technologist Training School
Your program may have rolling admissions, which means that you are free to apply as soon as starting dates have been posted on the school website.
If your school requires you to physically turn in your application materials, make an appointment with a school representative to do so, as well as to complete an in-person interview with the sonography department. Furthermore, you may be expected to pass an entrance exam such as the Accuplacer, Wonderlic SLE, etc.
Is It Easy to Get Into Ultrasound Tech School?
Due to course popularity, there may be selective acceptance to your technical school program. Therefore, when reviewing prospective students, schools look at your highest level of completed education, prior academic performance, exam scores, letters of reference, and interview performance.
4. Wait for Your Acceptance
After submitting your admission documents and completing the application process, it’s time to wait for a decision. Some schools expedite the decision making process and inform you within a few weeks, while other schools may take longer. Once you are notified of your acceptance, you can complete the enrollment process and get ready for school.
5. Attend Orientation
Whether just before or on the first day of classes, students will be expected to attend a mandatory orientation. This is an excellent time to get to know more about school expectations, policies, and procedures. Take advantage of this time to ask the administration and professors any lingering questions that you may still have.
6. Start Your Ultrasound Technologist Training
In your ultrasound program, you’ll learn how to use sonography equipment to create internal images. While some programs include specialties like vascular sonography and adult echocardiography, most focus on the general concentration (Abdomen and Ob/Gyn).
7. Finish Your Clinical Internship
Once students complete classroom instruction, they will be placed in an internship for 6-12 months. With the help of an experienced mentor, students will gain proficiency in creating the best ultrasound images possible. These images and videos will provide physicians the right information to make informed diagnoses.
8. Take Your DMS Certification Exam
After you finish your classroom education and internship, you’ll be prepared to get your certification. Ultrasound techs do not require a medical degree, but most employers want them to be certified through the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). Students will first need to pass the Sonography Principles & Instrumentation (SPI) exam before taking specialty exams like Abdomen (AB) or Ob/Gyn.
If they’re successful in passing their ARDMS specialty exams, applicants will become registered diagnostic medical sonographers.
Apply to Our Ultrasound Technologist Program Today
With amazing annual salaries, incredible job satisfaction, and one of the highest job growth rates in allied healthcare, it’s no secret that future ultrasound techs are set to enter a fantastic allied healthcare sector.
You’ve made the right choice. Make an appointment with an AIMS Education representative to kickstart your ultrasound tech education today!