Virginia Ultrasound Tech Training - VA
By RSWiese, allied health world contributing writer
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Steps to Become an Ultrasound Technician in Virginia
Ultrasound technicians (also referred to as diagnostic medical sonographers or simply sonographers) in the state of Virginia can begin or continue a career in a high-demand and well-paying field. There are approximately 1100 registered ultrasound technicians in the state. The outlook for job availability is very positive, as the field is projected to have a faster growth rate than the average job growth rate. This is a high demand field, both nationally and in the state of Virginia.
There are several ways to become an Ultrasound Technician. From an employer’s perspective, the most important step is to be trained in an accredited program and to be registered. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP.org) is the largest accrediting body in the health sciences field.
Training for Ultrasound Technicians may be available through hospitals, vocational or technical schools, secondary education facilities (colleges and universities) or through the Armed Forces. Some programs prefer students have a background in science or health care topics, but it is not required.
The most common educational path for an Ultrasound Technician in Virginia is to complete a two-year (associate’s) degree. Virginia Ultrasound Technician training programs offer courses in anatomy and physiology, instrumentation, physics, patient care, and medical ethics. Clinical experience as part of the educational experience is included in the requirement for certification. Once a student has this degree, they must pass two comprehensive exams offered by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS).
The exams cover knowledge based on the physical information necessary to provide accurate and comprehensive diagnostic information as well as how to use the instruments (i.e., machines, transducers, computers) in order to obtain such information. Additional competency exams for specialty areas (e.g., obstetrics, abdominal, neurological, vascular, or cardiac, etc.) are also given to complete certification.
State licensure is not required in Virginia, however registering with ARDMS enhances job opportunities.
There are two CAAHP-accredited diagnostic medical sonographer programs available in Virginia according to the CAAHP website (www.caahp.org).