Maternity ultrasound technicians work in hospitals and specialized medical centers. They use ultrasound equipment to produce images of the womb for the purpose of monitoring fetal growth during pregnancy. This information is key for making sure the pregnancy is progressing normally.
What They Do
Maternity ultrasound technicians, also known as diagnostic medical sonographers, have a wide range of duties. One of these duties include gathering patient information and baby information. A large part of this information is taken from the images produced by the ultrasound. This information includes but is not limited to the baby's name, the current length of pregnancy, size of the baby, and attempting to identify the baby's gender once sufficient time has past. Other duties include using and maintaining the ultrasound imaging equipment. These technicians must also be able to store and maintain patient records for future reference so doctors have an accurate record of baby's growth during the fetal stages. This information is also used to identify any problems that may arise in the early stages of pregnancy.
Maternity ultrasound technicians work in many different types of healthcare facilities. A technician's work hours can vary depending on staff availability and the daily shift. Most hospitals have technicians available 24 hours a day. Weekend work is also common. Standing for long periods of time is not uncommon in this career field.
How to Become a Maternity Ultrasound Technician
Education is the key to becoming a maternity ultrasound technician. Associate's degrees and bachelor's degrees are available in the field of sonography at various colleges and universities. This field requires students with exceptional skills in math, anatomy, and physiology. Students who graduate with degrees in nursing and radiology technology usually receive on-the-job training from their employer in order to gain the necessary skills to become a maternity ultrasound technician. Candidates looking to become a maternity ultrasound technician should plan on getting certified and licensed. Most employers of maternity ultrasound technicians require their employees to be certified. Certification is obtained by passing an accredited program, usually found at a college or university, and by passing an exam.
Salary and Outlook
The average salary for a maternity ultrasound technician is $64,440 as of May 2010. This value may vary depending on office type and location. Growth in this field is expected to be 44 percent between 2010 and 2020. Ultrasound imaging will be use aid in reducing costly, invasive, procedures and those procedures that expose patients to radiation.