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ARRT survey: Nine out of 10 administrators prefer certified ultrasound technicians

By Aimee Hosler,

If you are on the fence about pursuing ultrasound technician certification, a recent survey conducted by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) may put things in perspective.

ARRT survey shows strong employer preference for certified ultrasound technicians

An August, 2010 survey conducted by the ARRT reveals just how important certification can be to radiology administrators. Results show that nine out of 10 of the 205 hospital and radiology administrators that attended the 2010 meeting of the American Healthcare Radiology Administrators considered radiology certification, including ultrasound technician certification, a strong indicator of knowledge and skills and a solid predictor of future performance.

While this survey is limited, it provides important insight into the power of ultrasound technician certification among those who hire and evaluate techs; four out of five of the respondents were hospital administrators while the rest were affiliated with other imaging facilities. Administrators noted that the most important factors when evaluating certified technicians are their ability to meet ongoing requirements for earning the credential and the reputation of the certifying agency itself. In other words, becoming certified tells potential employers that you know your stuff and are committed to your career, which can, in turn, boost your personal ultrasound tech salary and advancement potential.

Popular ultrasound technician certifications

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that employers prefer to hire registered ultrasound technicians because certification provides some sense of professional standing. Certification requires one to complete the proper ultrasound technician training or work experience. Certification also requires one to pass an exam in a sonography specialty, which in turn demonstrates specialized knowledge that can set certified applicants apart from their uncertified peers.

According to the BLS, the following professional organizations administer the bulk of ultrasound technician certifications:

  • The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography certifies qualifying ultrasound techs as Registered Diagnostic Medial Sonographers. Techs can become specialize in abdominal, breast or nervous system sonography.
  • The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists offers credentials in breast and vascular sonography.
  • Cardiovascular Credentialing International certifies ultrasound techs in vascular and cardiac sonography.

The BLS reports that becoming competent in more than one ultrasound specialty is a solid way to advance to supervisory, managerial or administrative positions quicker. For example, becoming both a registered diagnostic cardiac sonographer and a registered diagnostic medical sonographer demonstrates a broad but solid scope of training that sets you apart from lesser trained career competition.

Other ways to improve your career potential

It's true that certification can improve ultrasound technician salary and advancement potential, but it isn't the only quality employers look for. The right baseline training is also important. While there are a number of paths toward entry-level careers, choosing the right ultrasound technician school is perhaps the best way to ensure you get the training you need to succeed. The BLS notes that many colleges offer two- or four-year associate or bachelor's degree programs while some vocational schools offer one-year certificates. Consider choosing a program that has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.