Medical Imaging Education and Career Guide
Medical Imaging Education
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- Choosing an Ultrasound Technician Program
- Ultrasound Technician Certification
- Ultrasound Education Specialties
- Ultrasound Tech Training
Medical Imaging Careers
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- Radiologic Tech vs. Nuclear Medicine Tech
- Ultrasound Technician Careers
- Interview with a Diagnostic Medical Sonography Student
Ultrasound Technician Education Specialties
Ultrasound imaging has many uses in the medical field. Learn about the history and uses of ultrasound technology.
What is Ultrasound Technology?
Ultrasound technology, also called diagnostic medical sonography—or simply sonography—is a medical diagnostic tool that uses high-frequency sound waves to generate images of a person’s internal organs, tissues and blood.
Using a small wand-like instrument called a transducer, sound waves are transmitted into a specific part of the body, and the returning echo waves are captured and converted into images. These images are known as “ultrasound scans” or “sonograms.” Doctors use ultrasound imaging to find abnormalities of the internal organs and diagnose illness, as well as to monitor the health of developing fetuses in pregnant women.
Ultrasound Imaging Specialties
Ultrasound imaging is increasingly used to diagnose internal medical conditions because unlike other medical imaging techniques such as X-rays, CT (computed tomography) scans or nuclear medicine, ultrasound doesn’t use or emit radiation into the body. This makes ultrasound imaging a popular method for testing pregnant women and babies, who are at high risk for complications associated with radiation. However, there are many other ways in which ultrasound imaging is used to diagnose illness in the body.
Here is a list of common ultrasound technician education and career specialties:
- Abdominal sonographers specialize in generating images of the internal organs and tissues located within the abdomen such as the liver, pancreas, spleen and gallbladder.
- Breast sonographers conduct ultrasound scans using a sound frequency specifically targeted for breast tissue to evaluate tumors and other abnormalities found in mammograms or physical exams.
- Obstetrics/Gynecology (OB/GYN) sonographers work exclusively with women to survey their reproductive organs and track the health and development of fetuses during pregnancy.
- Echocardiography sonographers, specializing in echocardiography (EKG) are trained in the evaluation and imaging of the heart, its related valves and vessels, and blood flow to and from the heart.
- Vascular technologists are trained to use special equipment designed to visually track blood flow in other areas of the body.
- Ophthalmology sonographers perform diagnostic tests on the eyes and surrounding muscles and tissue.
- Neurosonology sonographers are specially trained to use ultrasound imaging on the brain and spinal cord.
The Value of Your Ultrasound Technician Education
Ultrasound technicians who obtain certification in more than one of the above areas are often considered especially valuable by potential employers since they only have to hire one technician to perform multiple procedures in multiple departments. Ultrasound imaging offers well-paid, stable and rewarding careers.