The main job of an ultrasound technologist or technician is to operate the ultrasound equipment. They generally work in close association with doctors. They use different ultrasound machines to observe ands study various internal body parts of human beings. Although most of us are most aware of their role in detecting pregnancy, the actual task of an ultrasound technician goes beyond that and involves many other cases than just pregnancy. The branch of ultrasound technology dealing with pregnancy is called sonography.

An ultrasound technician uses high frequency sound waves into certain areas of the patients body tissues to produce an image of the structures inside the body and then collects the reflected echoes using special ultrasound equipments. The technical observations are then analyzed to arrive at results which are then conveyed to the concerned doctor. Unlike other diagnostic systems, ultrasound is completely safe both for the technician and the patient as no kind of radiation is involved. An ultrasound technician specializing in abdomen usually deals with kidney, gall bladder, liver, spleen, pancreas, spleen, female reproductive system (gynecology) etc. Echocardiography deals with the heart, its valves and related blood vessels. Then there is vascular sonology, neuro-sonology dealing with the brain and spinal cord, ophthalmology dealing with the eyes, orbital structures and various muscles etc.

Although it is possible for an ultrasound technician to work without certification in the United States, most go for training programs so as to get better jobs. A genuine course in ultrasound technology in the United States is accredited by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) and the technicians thus registered under ARDMS are called Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographers or RDMS.

Any aspirant for the course must have strong background in science, math and English at the high school level. After high school you may either do a two year associate or a four year bachelors in ultrasound technology at any university or community college or even hospital. The two year program is more common and involves coursework in math, science, computers, anatomy, instrumentation, physiology, basic physics, patient care and medical ethics. One year programs are also available to healthcare workers leading to a certificate in the field.

After completing the course the students can get registered as professional ultrasound technician with ARDMS association. The registration usually requires passing examination in general physics and instrumentation and in specialties like gynecology, abdominal sonography, neurosonography etc. ARDMS offers four different credentials and specializations including Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS), Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS), Registered Ophthalmic Ultrasound Biometrist (ROUB) and Registered Vascular Technologist (RVT).

Once the students have registered themselves they must complete at least 30 hours of continuing education every three years to keep registration current. Most ultrasound technicians after completing the course get handsomely paid in a host of environments. Most technicians earn between $50,000 and $65,000 depending upon qualification, experience, demand and job location. Ultrasound technicians usually work in hospitals, private physicians offices, group practices and medical and diagnostic laboratories.