Ultrasound Tech Career: How to Become an Ultrasound Technician

Do you have a passion for medical technology? Are you looking to become an ultrasound technician and start a career in the healthcare field?

We’ll go over what it takes to become an ultrasound tech, including the necessary training and certifications. Read on to learn more!

What is an ultrasound technician?

So, what is an ultrasound technician? Ultrasound technicians are medical professionals who use specialized imaging equipment to create images of the body.

They are responsible for providing diagnostic information to physicians, performing ultrasounds, and assisting patients in preparation for exams.

Ultrasound technicians must be able to operate sophisticated imaging machines and interpret the results of their scans accurately.

To become an ultrasound technician, you will need to complete a formal education program, pass certification exams, and obtain a license.

Job Outlook and Salary Information for Ultrasound Technicians

Job Outlook and Salary Information for Ultrasound Technicians are promising. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of diagnostic medical sonographers is projected to grow 15% from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.

The median annual wage for diagnostic medical sonographers was about $75,920 in 2020. Salaries for sonographers can vary depending on the type of facility they work in, their level of experience, and the geographical area they work in.

Those just beginning their career as ultrasound technicians can expect to make closer to $59,640 a year starting.

After certification, salaries can continue to rise throughout an ultrasound technician’s career.

10 Steps to becoming an Ultrasound Technician

Becoming an ultrasound technician is a rewarding career that requires a minimum of two years of study.

To get started, you must first earn a high school diploma or GED. After that, you can pursue certification or licensure and gain clinical experience.

You can then opt for an associate degree in diagnostic medical sonography or pursue a bachelor’s degree in sonography or medical imaging.

Specialization options are available, and you can also become professionally affiliated or seek membership opportunities.

Lastly, keep up with advances in technology and pursue continuing education to advance your career. With the right preparation and dedication, you can become a successful ultrasound technician.

#1. Earn Your High School Diploma or GED Certificate

The first step to becoming an ultrasound technician is to earn your high school diploma or GED certificate.

Without either of these credentials, you will not be able to enroll in the necessary training and education programs to become certified in the field.

With a high school diploma or GED, you can then move on to pursuing an associate degree or certification in diagnostic medical sonography.

#2. Complete a Graduate Diploma in Medical Ultrasound

For those looking to become a sonographer, the most common pathway is to complete a Graduate Diploma in Medical Ultrasound.

This typically takes 2 years part-time, with an undergraduate degree being necessary to enter the program.

There is also the option to exit the course after 48 credit points, with a Graduate Diploma in Ultrasound that meets the qualification requirements for an entry-level sonographer.

Alternatively, a Bachelor’s degree in sonography or medical imaging usually takes four years to complete and involves more advanced coursework.

#3. Obtain an Associate Degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography

For aspiring ultrasound technicians, obtaining an associate degree in diagnostic medical sonography is the next step in the process.

Most programs last between 18 and 24 months and offer students a comprehensive education that covers topics such as ultrasound physics, anatomy, physiology, patient care, and medical ethics.

Ultrasound technicians must also understand the different types of sonography and how to operate sophisticated ultrasound machines.

Upon successful completion of the program, students are eligible to sit for their certification exams to become licensed in the state they reside in.

#4. Become Certified and Licensed

Once you have obtained an associate degree in diagnostic medical sonography, the next step is to become certified and licensed.

To achieve this, you must pass the Sonography Principles and Instrumentation Exam (SPI).

This exam is administered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) and is designed to assess your knowledge of ultrasound principles and instrumentation.

Many states require that ultrasound technicians have at least one year of experience before they can take the exam and become licensed, but some will allow you to do so without any clinical experience.

Once you’ve passed the SPI exam, you will officially be a registered diagnostic medical sonographer.

#5. Gain Clinical Experience

Before venturing out into the real world and applying for ultrasound technician positions, it’s important to gain some hands-on clinical experience in sonography. You can do this by taking a clinical externship or an internship with a sonography program.

Externships are typically unpaid, while internships come with stipends or wages. During this time, you’ll receive supervised training in the operating room and learn how to use sonographic equipment.

You’ll also be able to practice patient care and learn how to interact professionally with patients.

#6. Consider Earning a Bachelor’s Degree

For those interested in furthering their education and taking their career to the next level, a bachelor’s degree may be the best option.

Earning a BA is a common pathway for sonographers who have already earned an associate’s degree.

Bachelor’s programs may be a 4-year program or a complete program that allows the credits from an associate program to be transferred in and count towards the degree.

A Bachelor of Science degree in sonography or imaging science typically takes four years to complete and can help graduates stand out amongst other candidates when applying for positions.

#7. Consider Specialization Options

Once you have decided on the type of educational program you would like to pursue, it is important to consider the various specialization options available.

Specializing in a particular field of sonography could increase your job prospects and earning potential. Specializations may include vascular, cardiac, breast, obstetrical and gynecological sonography.

Researching the various specialties available can help you choose the one that best suits your interests and skill set.

After completing your formal education, you may be required to complete a clinical practicum to become certified and licensed.

#8. Seek Professional Membership Opportunities

Once you have completed your training and become certified, joining a professional association is a great way to stay up to date on the latest advances in the field and network with other professionals in the medical ultrasound field.

Professional organizations offer a variety of resources and career development opportunities, including continuing education courses, conferences, and seminars, as well as access to job boards and networking events.

Membership in a professional organization can also help you gain credibility and recognition in the field.

#9. Keep Up With Advances in Technology

To keep up with the newest technologies, ultrasound technicians must keep updated on the latest advancements in medical imaging.

Ultrasound technicians can stay up to date by taking continuing education courses or reading medical journals and industry-related articles. These resources can help ultrasound technicians learn about the newest equipment available and how to use it.

Additionally, they can also gain a better understanding of the technology and how it can be used in their practice. By keeping up with advances in technology, ultrasound technicians can ensure that they are providing the best care possible and staying ahead of the competition.

#10. Advance Your Career with Continuing Education

Continuing education is essential for ultrasound technicians to stay current with emerging technologies and new techniques in the field.

Ultrasound technicians may choose to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in sonography or medical imaging which takes four years to complete and involves more advanced coursework.

To advance their career, some may decide to pursue a Master’s degree program in sonography. This type of education is beneficial for those interested in management or higher education positions in the field.

There are also other certification options available for those looking to specialize in specific areas of the profession.

Continuing education can also help ultrasound technicians keep up with advances in technology and stay competitive in the job market.


In conclusion, becoming an ultrasound technician is a great choice for those who are looking for a rewarding career in the medical field. It requires dedication and hard work, but the rewards can be both personal and financial.

With the right education and certification, you can become an expert in your field and help make a difference in the lives of patients.

With ongoing advancements in technology, you will always be able to stay ahead of the curve and ensure that you are providing high-quality results for your patients.

Written by Andrew Lim

As editor at, Andrew is passionate about journalism and dedicated to accuracy and fairness. He works closely with his team to create high-quality content on a range of topics including politics, business, and technology. Andrew has a bachelor's degree in journalism from UCD and extensive experience as a journalist covering a variety of topics.

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