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How to Become an Ultrasound Technician

Starting a career as an ultrasound technician, or diagnostic medical sonographer, as it is now called, is typically achieved by first completing an associate degree, becoming certified through the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers, and then qualifying for any state licenses that might be required in order to practice where you live.

Here's a more detailed look at the steps:

1. Find a school offering diagnostic medical sonography programs

Start by requesting information from schools and speaking with admissions representatives. Compare the programs offered, check out course lists, and find a program that suits your personality and needs. To help you begin this critical first step, we've put together a list of radiology schools offering ultrasound programs for you. We've also done some research to help you get your acquainted with ultrasound courses and ultrasound education programs to make sure you understand what to expect.

2. Complete your ultrasound degree

Enroll in and complete an ultrasound technician program. If attending school during the day is not possible for you, look into radiology schools offering evening degree or online programs. Completing an associate degree for diagnostic medical sonography can help to prepare you to take a sonography licensing exam so that you'll have the credentials needed to begin applying for ultrasound jobs.

3. Become licensed with the ARDMS

Become registered with the ARDMS (American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers). Many employers prefer that you be ARDMS certified and most ultrasound programs will prepare you for the exam. While there are only a few states that require registration, it is recommended that you take this step in order to make yourself a strong job candidate.

4. Apply for a job as a diagnostic medical sonographer

Now that you've completed the first three steps, you're ready to apply for a job as an ultrasound technician. Take a look at our ultrasound technician job description page to read about the typical job duties that will be expected of you. Be aware that those duties may vary slightly depending on whether you're applying for a position at a hospital, community clinic, or a private medical office. Network with contacts you may already have in the health care industry, post your resume on job boards. You may need to customize your resume or cover letter depending on your targeted job environment. 

5. Prepare for your interview

Before you have your first interview, take time to sharpen your interviewing skills by doing mock ones with friends and relatives. The more comfortable you are with the interview process, the more you're likely to come across as a confident and capable candidate.

Once a potential employer has responded to your resume, make sure you understand what will be expected of you in an ultrasound job at that particular place of employment so that you can speak more directly about the applicable skills and competencies you have gained through your education and clinical training.