About Dialysis Technician / Hemodialysis Technician / Nephrology Technician

What does a Dialysis Technician Do?

A dialysis technician is essentially someone who maintains and operates dialysis equipment for patients diagnosed with kidney diseases. Also known as patient care technicians (PCTs), renal technologists, or hemodialysis technicians, they work closely with nurses and doctors, and are responsible for properly operating the machines according to approved medical procedures, ensuring that the patient’s blood is cleansed from any waste substances. It may seem simple but their jobs are actually a lot harder and more complicated than that.

Some dialysis technicians only work with machines while others work with patients as well. Whether the technician is the former or the latter, the job is still very hands-on. He or she should be comfortable working with high-tech machines along with different kinds of patients.

For those who only work with the machines, they are responsible for operating, calibrating, and making sure that the machines are in good working condition. Apart from that, they should make sure that the fluid removal rate is consistently adjusted to the patient’s vital signs. They should also ensure that the patient will not get any infections by properly handling and sterilizing the equipment.

Dialysis patients usually need the machines for more or less four hours a day, three days a week. The technician should be able to prepare the machines and the patients for the procedure, and monitor them the whole time. Dialysis technicians who are working directly with patients should also be able to help them feel comfortable during the whole procedure. He/she should also advise the nurse/doctor regarding the patient’s physical or emotional concerns during the treatment. He/she should have a positive attitude, knowledge and willingness to care for the patient and educate him/her regarding the procedure, and commitment to maintain patient confidentiality.

There are two kinds of kidney dialyses: hemodialysis and peritonial dialysis. The former cleans the blood externally while the latter does it internally. Dialysis technicians should be able perform both.

A typical daily routine for the dialysis technician would be something like this:

  • Set up and operate the machines used for the treatment. This includes sanitizing the equipment, attaching the dialyzer and tubing to the machine, mixing the solutions needed for the procedure, and machine calibration, if needed.
  • Accompany patient to the dialysis room and prep him/her for the treatment. This includes taking the patient’s weight, blood pressure, temperature, etc. before the treatment.
  • Explain the whole procedure so that the patient will have an understanding about it.
  • Clean the area of access, and connect the machine to the patient.
  • Make sure that everything is placed properly, and that the equipment settings are in accordance to safety standards.
  • Start the procedure and continuously monitor and inspect the patient for any adverse reactions. If needed, dialysis technicians can also administer local anesthesia.
  • After the procedure, take the patient’s post-dialysis vital signs.
  • Depending on their workload, the dialysis technician may also be tasked to write reports, order supplies, scheduling sessions, and disposing medical waste.

In short, dialysis technicians, along with nurses and doctors, are essential in reclaiming patient’s lives, one dialysis procedure at a time. 

Work Environment 

Usually, dialysis technicians can be seen working in public or private hospitals, under the direct supervision of a doctor and/or a nurse. However, there are also some that work in laboratories, under private companies and clinics, or even in patient’s homes.

Those who work in hospitals usually do so at regular hours for more or less forty hours every week while those working for private institutions may have different working hours depending on the company. Of course, because they are crucial to the patient’s recovery, dialysis technicians are always expected to work full-time, sometimes even at night, at weekends, or even during holidays. However, there are also many technicians nowadays that only work part-time.

There used to be a time when patients had to be connected to the machines for 20 hours in a row, but due to technological advances, the procedures can now be done in 4 hours. Depending on the gravity of the patient’s sickness, some can even be done in an hour. This means that the technician’s monitoring time has gradually become less but is still definitely as important. Most of the time, dialysis technicians are required to work standing up so that they can properly determine the patient’s condition and/or any adverse reactions that they might have during the procedure. For this reason, it is best for the technician to be quite fit physically and mentally.

The most important thing about being a dialysis technician, however, is the ability to remain calm in cases of emergencies. In a hospital setting, or even in private institutions or homes, there will always be the risk of accidents or other medical emergencies connected to kidney dialysis. The dialysis technician should be able to handle these calmly, carefully, and with composure. He or she must also learn how to encourage and understand the different kinds of patients that he/she will encounter. Finally, teamwork is also a very important skill to learn because they will always work hand in hand with doctors and nurses.

Whether they are working in a hospital, a private institution or clinic, or in a patient’s home, dialysis technicians should always make sure to keep a sterile work environment. This means that the machines, whether portable or not, should always be kept clean and sanitized. It also means that the technician himself (or herself) should be clean and hygienic, so as not to contaminate the patient and machines. 

How to Become a Dialysis Technician:

It’s really a matter of big concern that the number of kidney patients have increased all over the world in the past few years. An important organ of our body, the main work of a kidney is to filter wastes and toxins from the blood stream. In case, one of the kidneys of a person fails, he may survive with one healthy kidney but, the person suffers from the risk of renal failure which can even lead to death. To help such patients, the dialysis treatment certainly proves to be a boon which helps the person suffering from kidney problems to live longer by cleansing the blood of the whole body. The best part is that this life saving treatment is not only available in hospitals or clinics but, also in home based settings for the easy reach of the patients in times of emergency. An assistant healthcare professional is always available when the dialysis treatment is given by the dialysis technician to the patient.

Primary Tasks

The primary task of a dialysis technician who is also popularly called as hemodialysis or nephrology technician is to maintain and operate the necessary medical equipment. Apart from this, various other routine tasks performed by a dialysis technician include keeping a record of the medical histories and blood pressure readings of the patients. Before giving dialysis treatment to the patient, it’s the work of a dialysis technician to prepare the patient for the process by giving local anesthesia. During the treatment, he keeps a check on the progress of the treatment given to the patient and notes down everything for the information of the doctor under whose supervision he works.

Increased Demand

 The number of people requiring dialysis treatment on a daily basis has increased to a large extent in the past few years. To handle such patients carefully, the requirement for well trained and certified dialysis technicians have also increased. There are both online as well as on campus training and certification programs available for the people interested to establish themselves as dialysis technicians which include various technical courses, community colleges and accredited online schools.

Required Education and Training

To work as a dialysis technician, a person must hold a high school degree or GED. Apart from this, he should also have practical experience and training in operating dialysis equipments.

One can opt for any vocational and technical school, community college or any online program which provides dialysis training.  It’s of utmost importance to choose a course which offers background knowledge for understanding renal disease.

and hemodialysis methods  in a better way. These are basically short duration courses which are completed with in a span of 12-18 months.

Apart from this, for handling complex situations, a dialysis technician should also be trained on emergency procedures such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR. For gaining practical experience in the field, a dialysis technician may work under the supervision of a licensed doctor or nurse in a clinical setting through an internship or job training program. This helps the technician in attaining expertise in handling the dialysis machine and following other standard dialysis procedures.

Significance of Certification

To gain better opportunities and higher pay in this field, it’s always recommended to gain certification. As all states differ in regulations regarding certification for dialysis technicians so, all the necessary requirements for the specific state should be checked before applying for the certification exam. Some of the major organizations which offer certification to the dialysis technicians include the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission or NNCC, the Board of Nephrology Examiners Nursing and Technology or BONENT and the National Nephrology Certification Organization or NNCO.

As per a survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in the field of dialysis are expected to show a steep growth in the number of opportunities as well as salary. While working as a dialysis technician, one can also continue his education and add qualification and experience to gain better positions in the field with higher pay.

Dialysis Technician Training Programs

Technically, you can apply to become a dialysis technician as long as you have a high school diploma. However, many clinics and hospitals prefer applicants who have completed training programs and have had clinical experiences. It would also help if you took courses in health and science, if you volunteered or worked in a hospital, and if you have a strong mechanical ability.

Some companies may also require you to have a certification, which really is no problem at all because there are many community colleges, training centers, and vocational schools that offer these programs. The requirements for certification may differ depending on the area you are in but there are many organizations that offer standardized testing for certified dialysis technicians. In today’s technological world, you can even take dialysis programs and trainings through online courses. The course is usually finished within 12 to 18 months—a short amount of time in exchange for the lifelong benefits you can get from becoming a trained and certified dialysis technician.

Technically though, the real training for dialysis technicians starts during the first day on the job. Though technicians learn about the basics, such as theories and fundamentals, in the certification courses, actual hands-on training will only start on the first day of the job. They will typically learn everything they need to know under the supervision of a registered nurse or doctor.

No matter how much a technician learns from the books, each medical case will always be unique, so technicians in training will get to experience how to properly handle situations on the spot in a calm and elegant manner. These on-the-job training opportunities are available from community college programs or sponsored by employers.

Having a good and stable job is very important, so you cannot be lax about it. There will always come a time when someone younger or better comes along who will threaten your position as a dialysis technician. For this reason, many technicians opt to attend additional trainings or get additional certifications. Some professional nephrology organizations offer four types of credentials when it comes to dialysis technicians:

  • Certification for Clinical Hemodialysis Technicians (CCHT)
    • Students must pass the examination and are required to have at least 6 months of experience as a dialysis technician
    • Must be renewed every 3 years, given that the applicant has worked at least 3,000 hours as a technician, and has had at least 30 hours of continuing professional education and activity
  • Hemodialysis Technician Certification (CHT)
    • Students must pass the examination and have at least one year of experience as a dialysis technician
    • Must be renewed every four years, provided:
      • Applicant has completed 40 hours of continuing professional education, OR
      • Apply for a waiver if 40 hours cannot be completed
    • Clinical Nephrology Technology (CCNT) and Biomedical Nephrology Technology (CBNT)
      • Students must pass the examination and have at least one year of experience as dialysis technician
      • Must be renewed every four years, provided that the applicant has completed 30 hours of continuing professional education

These certifications are recognized and accepted by many different institutions, which therefore enhances a technician’s credibility. For this reason, many technicians opt to take them.

There are two kinds of dialysis technicians: those who have direct patient interaction and those who only manage the machines. Though they are separate jobs per se, there is no denying the fact that they will often crossover. For this reason, it is important that the dialysis technician is trained in both patient and machine care. Apart from that, dialysis technicians should also be trained in CPR and other emergency procedures, just in case.

Of course, with all the training and certifications dialysis technicians have to undergo, they have to get something from it. Those interested in advancing to supervisory positions instead of staying a dialysis technician forever would do well to get an associate degree in nephrology or medical technology because these provide an intensive background on dialysis.

Working in large hospitals or clinics is also an advantage for dialysis technicians looking for advancement because they get to encounter and learn from a lot of different kinds of patients and situations. Apart from that, they also have some room for advancement. With sufficient training, continuing professional education and work experience, dialysis technicians can choose to advance as head technicians or to more specialized fields such as nursing or medical technology.

Keep in mind that trainings and continuing education is not mandatory for dialysis technicians but it will definitely help them further their career. Unfortunately, since there are limited patients in small clinics and private homes, there is not much room for training or growth. It is still a good option for those who are in it to help others but not so much for career growth and advancement.

Salary of a Dialysis Technician

The job of a dialysis technician is no joke. They are responsible for other people’s lives, and a single mistake can have a huge effect on others. Logic states that this big a risk should also reap big rewards. But how much do dialysis technicians really make in a year? According to various sources, the median annual salary of a dialysis technician in the United States is around $36,700, with the lowest amount at around $28,700 to the highest being $46,000, more or less.

Though there is a set median on how much dialysis technicians can make, the income really depends on where you work in. Some states, such as Pennsylvania, Colorado, or Illinois, pay a lot for this kind of job while other states such as Tennessee don’t pay as much. Usually, this depends on whether the area is urban or rural, and how many people live in the area. The rate of pay would also be different from country to country, depending on their salary standards and requirements.

Of course, like every other job, a person’s work experience and tenure will also greatly affect his or her salary. Those who are more experienced and have worked longer in the company will definitely be earning more than those who are newly hired. Similarly, those who have certifications will earn more than those who don’t. The quality of work will still be greatly considered but the experience and tenure still weigh a lot when it comes to deciding on salary rates because logic dictates that the more experience you have in doing something and the longer you’ve been doing it, the greater you will be at it. Employers who value tenure may pay new technicians as low as $8.80 an hour and those working with them for over 10 years as much as $20 an hour.

Other factors that can affect a dialysis technician’s salary is his/her educational attainment, the type of facility that he/she works in, and his/her overall job attitude, among others. Of course, the higher the educational attainment, the higher the salary. Employers would always assume that you learned more valuable and important information in your extra years of school. As for the type of facility, a large clinic or hospital would have a bigger capacity to pay a higher salary than a home-based patient or a small clinic. This is because of the additional income they have from other aspects of the hospital.

There will be times when dialysis technicians will need to work more than the required hours, whether to cover for someone or because a patient has requested them. When this happens, they will also be entitled to overtime pay. The overtime pay, like the basic pay, will also depend on the institution they work in, and may vary according to the technician’s tenure and credentials. Of course, overtime pay should always be greater than basic pay.

Apart from the regular cash salary given to the dialysis technician, they can also enjoy other benefits such as social security, pension, disability insurance, and many others. These additional benefits can reach up to $49,000 in a year when converted to cash.

The mode of salary payment will depend on the company and the state you are in, because each state would have different requirements. No matter which state you are in, though, you will still need to fulfill certain conditions before availing the benefits of the job.

Salary-wise, becoming a dialysis technician is one of the best jobs in the healthcare setting because you can earn a decent living without having to spend all those years in school or in training. The starting pay is enough to cover basic living expenses, and you will only have to attend training if you want to advance in your career. Otherwise, you can already survive on your starting salary.

One reason why dialysis technician’s salaries are quite satisfactory is because there are a lot of hospitals needing them with only a few people actually staying and working as dialysis technicians. Others head on to become nurses or even doctors while others move to different fields. With all the job openings and only a few takers, it is just right for the salary to be pleasing to the technician’s pockets. They may not earn as much as nurses or doctors but at least they have enough to survive.

It is safe to say that being a dialysis technician is more of a calling than a job. People in it for the money will never be satisfied with the salary rate of technicians but those who really care about helping people and giving them another shot at life will definitely enjoy it. After all, it’s not always the money that keeps us going but how at peace we feel after each day. 

Job Outlook 

The employment outlook for dialysis technicians is very good for the upcoming years. There is steady growth in the field and there is a dire need for certified and qualified workers. Studies show that this important role will continue to grow until the year 2020, especially as the current population ages.

There is a projected 30% growth in the job outlook for medical and clinical technicians, from the year 2012 to the year 2022. This means that there will be a lot more demand for dialysis technicians, along with other medical technicians in the coming years. This projected growth is actually higher than the growth projected for other jobs, and may be attributed to the fact that there are a lot of middle-aged people now who may need dialysis in the future. The lifestyle habits of the baby boomers of today (partying, booze, fast food, pills, etc.) are definitely tell-tale factors that many of them will suffer from kidney problems in the future, which is good news for aspiring dialysis technicians. The easy access to healthcare everywhere around the world can also be a contributing factor in the growth of the job outlook for dialysis technicians.

According to recent findings, the US healthcare system alone will need to create at least 3.8 million jobs in the coming years to account for everyone that needs treatment, which is good news for those who are venturing into the healthcare field. For the dialysis technicians, the even better news is that of all the Americans in the country, a whopping 26 million suffer from chronic kidney diseases, all of who need kidney treatments that only dialysis technicians can provide. Adding this to the population of those suffering from kidney diseases in every country, we can definitely say that there is, and will be, a huge demand for dialysis technicians around the world.

With this information, we can say that there will be a lot more openings in the big clinics and hospitals for dialysis technicians. The best part is that these clinics and hospitals can help further technician’s careers by allowing them to attain higher positions such as head or chief technicians or biomedical equipment technicians, among others. Some employers also offer career advancements in other fields such as nursing. Of course, career advancement can only be given to those who continually push for further education and experience.

The good thing about offering higher positions and different career advancements to dialysis technicians is that their previous posts will be open for new technicians to fill. This, in turn, creates more demands for the job rather than allowing it to become stagnant. Smaller clinics and home-based patients may not be able to offer the same growth but at least they also help create demand for dialysis technicians one technician at a time. So if you are looking to become a dialysis technician, now is the best time to do it because you will be sure to have a sure and steady income for at least the next 5 years.

Sources:

http://careers.stateuniversity.com/pages/432/Dialysis-Technician.html

http://dot-job-descriptions.careerplanner.com/DIALYSIS-TECHNICIAN.cfm

http://study.com/articles/Dialysis_Technician_Job_Duties_and_Info_for_Students_Considering_a_Career_as_a_Dialysis_Technician.html

https://www1.cfnc.org/Plan/For_A_Career/Career_Profile/Career_Profile.aspx?id=rXAP2FPAXCcHO96h4GloVfrDnbxdgXAP3DPAXXAP3DPAX

http://www.innerbody.com/careers-in-health/how-to-become-a-dialysis-technician.html

http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/dialysis+technician

http://www.salaryvoice.com/dialysis-technician-salary

How to become an X-Ray Technician

What Do X-Ray Technicians Do?

X-ray technicians are health care professionals that use high-level quality technology to visualize inside of the patient’s body. They are essential to help for physicians that want precise insight into the medical condition of a patient and this enables them to provide accurate diagnose of one’s condition and also treatment.  They are not only important help for every physician, but also for every patient that may feel pain because of his injury or illness and often anxiety that follows such situation.

What Does a Job of X-Ray Technician Include?

An x-ray technician is responsible for getting all relevant information from a patient and this includes a medical history and since he is also there to help a patient feel comfortable, he gives answers to his questions and explains all steps of this procedure. He needs to remove patient’s jewelry and any other article x-ray can’t go through.  After that, he helps to place a patient into the needed equipment and he takes into account needed angle and height over the areas of the patient’s body that needs to be radiographed. He also to needs into account preventing too high exposure to x-rays and he achieves this through surrounding radiographed area with devices that will prevent this unnecessary exposure, such as lead shields or he needs to limit x-ray shield. He uses instruments that measure the thickness of the body’s area that needs to be radiographed in order to set appropriate x-ray shield. This protects a patient from ionizing radiation and after that he starts the procedure by following all physician’s orders. They usually specialize in one field, but he can also specialize in two or move fields and such positions are called CT technologist, MR technologist and mammographer.

Needed equipment an x-ray technician has to use is:

  • X-ray machines
  • CT or Computerized tomography –shows a considerable cross section of x rays in a certain area of the body and this makes a three-dimensional image.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-magnetic resonance makes three-dimensional image and unlike CT that uses ionizing x-rays, MRI uses non-ionizing radiation
  • Fluoroscopy –in this procedure, he prepares a contrast medium patient drinks and this enables a radiologist to see body soft tissues.
  • Film and digital mammography -in this process, he uses x-ray of lower amount in order to provide image of the breast

They may also work together with a radiologist. However, it is very important to recognize the difference between x-ray technicians with a radiologist. An x-ray technician has a comprehensive knowledge of a human body and its structure and also possible influences by an injury or disease. However, the one that needs to know how to interpret those images this process provides is a radiologist. One can say that both radiographer (x-ray technician) and a radiologist are an essential part of help a patient needs and these are steps that preceded help a physician provides to a patient.

X-ray technician’s responsibility includes a wide range of task-form preparing a patient for x-ray examination-physically and psychologically to working together with a radiologist and a physician. He also needs to keep records of the patient, maintains the equipment and manages its purchase.

His knowledge of using needed equipment is mandatory and it is essential in getting a proper insight into human body’s condition. It is a proper way to have needed information about injuries or disease and without this process; it is hard to have the whole picture about patient’s medical state and to conduct needed following steps.

Work Environment

X-ray technicians work in health institutions and hospitals.  In this job, physical endurance is very important. Why is this so? Radiographers work on their feet and they also need to be able to lift a patient or turn him in a case when a patient doesn’t have the needed strength to do this on his own. In some cases, they travel to the patient and in such vans, they have needed equipment that enables them to provide the essential part of a patient’s diagnoses. When it comes to instruments a radiographer uses, this includes aprons, gloves, and other shielding equipment, along with the monitoring devices that establish levels of exposure to x rays.

Careers in Radiography

In order to explain x-ray technician position, this article also gives insight into several radiography careers in order to understand their difference.

  • Radiologist MD

Radiologists are physicians that have the skills to interpret given radiographed images and to also diagnose a patient’s condition. They use all mentioned techniques, such as x-rays, CT scans, MRI, mammography and fluoroscopy and based on this, they provide interpretations of injury or disease.

  • Radiology technologist

Radiology technologists or radiographers create medical images based on x-rays, mammography and also MRI. This is interpreted by a radiologist and physicians that as mentioned are those that diagnose and interpret these reports.

It is also important to say that needed education for this position requires much less education and training than for a radiologist. This requires Associate’s degree (2 years) or a Bachelor’s degree (4 years) and in many states, it requires certification and/ or a license.

  • MRI Technician

MRI technician’s duties include managing MR scanner and as a result, 2-3 dimension map of soft tissues is provided. Based on this, physicians can make diagnose and also the following treatments for that condition. MRI technician enter needed patient’s information and operate a magnetic resonance scanner to obtain two- or three-dimensional maps of various tissue types within the patient’s body that are used by physicians in the diagnosis and treatment of pathologies. After entering and monitoring the patient’s data, the MRI tech uses the image from the disk in order to convert it to the film used for analyzing conducted by the physician. Their median salary is 66,547 and this requires a Bachelor’s degree and minimum 2 years of experience, along with the  American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) registration.

  • CT Technician

CT tech’s responsibilities include producing of computerized topographic scans of radiographer parts of a human body. This refers to obstetric, gynecological scans, but also ultrasounds and retroperitoneal scans that result with 3-dimenzional images. Their median average pay is $60,357 and this position requires holding high school diploma, tech training, ARRT registration and also two years of experience.

How to Become an X-Ray Technician

In order to become a radiographer, this preparation has its source in a high school. What does this mean? Those that want to become x-ray technicians, they can focus on taking biology, anatomy and other subjects that can help them to understand the structure of a human body. Besides taking such subjects in high school that can provide them an important basis for a future development in radiography, they have several options. One can focus on taking courses in length of 6, 21-24 months, associate degrees that last for 2 years and a Bachelor’s degree that takes 4 years. Their average salary is 57, 510 and this depends on the experience and location. Although they are usually specialized in one area, for those that are specialized in 2 or more, they always have more opportunities for professional growth.

The training courses are usually the best choice for those that already have expertise in this field and have the needed knowledge and this can help a candidate to achieve a further professional growth in this career. However, although some of these courses do last for 6 months, in order for x-ray technician to hold AART certification (The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists), he needs to have Associate’s Degree that will be explained in the next section.

When it comes to Associate degree, one can take it at a community college, but also at volunteer centers and technical schools. However, it has to be accredited in order for a candidate to be eligible for AART. This is something that can help a person to have needed knowledge and be able to provide the high-level quality work performance. This is definitely one form of education that is the right choice for those that want to be x-ray technicians. Many states also require radiographers to finish the program that will be accredited by JRCERT (Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology)

A Bachelor’s degree may seem like a form of education that brings a great time gap between the beginning of education and starting a job since it takes 4 years to complete. On the other hand, this is the best way to comprehend with essential knowledge regarding handling other radiography technology, such as CT and MRI. This provides a well-rounded knowledge and it gives a strong basis for progressing and getting a promotion at a workplace.

Licencing

Licensing is obligatory in most all US states. One needs to pass all requirements when it comes to education and also to pass the certification exam.

Certification

Certification requires a candidate not to have any criminal history and after this check, he also needs to pass a training that shows his clinical experience. Beside this, he needs to take a test that establishes that he has needed knowledge when it comes to radiography procedures. In a case of state licensing, it is also required for him to take a test that establishes his knowledge shown in practice and this ensures that he has mastered needed skills for operations that have to be conducted on radiography equipment.

Registration

After certification with AART, one has to maintain yearly registration. He needs to respects all ARRT ethical guidelines and to continue with education classes. Continuing this education process is not requires in all, but it is required in some states in order to keep the license.

In order to provide the most precise explanation of requirements needed for certification and registration, this article also gives insight into all requirements and regulative by AART.

The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (AART)

The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists establishes qualifications needed for a career in the radiography. ARRT evaluates do candidates meet needed qualifications for certification and registration in order for them to be eligible for a job position in this industry. The candidates that meet such requirements are eligible or AART registration and they can hold this registration as long as they meet initially presented conditions. Therefore, they have to meet AART’s ethical code, needed educational background and also examination. This examination is developed by AART after it has been established that the candidates meet all other requirements for that specific area in the radiography field.

  • Radiography

AARS requirements refer to successful completion of the educational program that provided them essential knowledge and skills for a particular profession in the radiography. Beside the educational program, they also have to complete the ARRT Radiography Didactic and Clinical Competency Requirements. Requirements also depend on the graduate year and for those that haven’t graduated by 1st January in 2015, they need to have Associate’s, and a Bachelor’s or Graduate degree from an institution accredited by AART.  However, this degree doesn’t have to be related to the radiology since one can graduate in some other field prior starting the education program in the radiology or even after graduation from radiology program. It is important to state that it needs to be awarded before one can be eligible for the AART examination. For all of those that completed radiography program before 2013, they can have this AART examination within 5 years from completing the education in radiography. For those that have completed this program after 2012, they have 3 years from completing radiography program in order to be eligible for AART examination.

  • Computerized Tomography (CT)

The candidates need to have certification and to be registered in radiography (or radiation therapy  in the nuclear medicine technology by AART or the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB). They also need to always maintain the certification and registration. Before a candidate can submit the application for certification and registration, he also needs to complete clinical experience requirements in duration of 24 months. It is important to complete needed documentation 16 hours after completed education at the latest.

  • Magnetic Resonace Imaging (MRI)

In order for a candidate to be eligible for a career in MRI radiography, he needs to meet the Professional Education Requirement for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. He can achieve this through receiving certification and registration in radiography or radiation therapy by the ARRT. The other option is to be certified and registered in nuclear medicine technology by ARRT or the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB). The third option is to have certification and registration in sonography by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Zoography (ARDMS). Beside this, it is mandatory to maintain mentioned certification and registration. Before submitting the application for certificate and registration, he must document that he finished the ARRT Clinical Experience Requirements in Magnetic Resonance Imaging during the period of 1 year. He has 16 hours after completion of the mentioned program to document this.

  • Mammography

In order for a candidate to be eligible for certification and registration in mammography, he has to be certified and registered in radiography by the ARRT and he needs to maintain needed criteria for certification and registration in radiography. Before he submits the application for certification and registration, he also needs to document that he finished the ARRT Clinical Experience Requirements in Mammography that lasts for 1 year. He has 16 hours after completion this period of 24 months to document it.

X-Ray Technician Training Programs

Since this article provided a general insight into ways how to become a radiographer, now we can focus on available training programs one can attend in order to achieve this goal.

Some of the accredited training programs are the following:

  • University of North Carolina

Chapel Hill, North Carlina

https://www.northcarolina.edu/

(919) 966-5147

This university was founded in early 1776 and since then it has only grown. The multi-campus university now has almost 225,000 students in 16 campuses and this is a great way for one to master required knowledge needed to be the radiology technician.

  • Weber University

Ogden, Utah

http://www.weber.edu/

(801) 626-7156

Weber University provides a comprehensive program that enables every student to gain needed knowledge a medical professional in the radiography needs. In this way, one can see for himself that this program presents a valuable combination of science, clinical experience, professional skills and knowledge that helps him to gain needed skills to be able to provide the best care. Their health care programs are accredited by Clinical Laboratory Sciences (National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science), Dental Hygiene (American Dental Association), Emergency Care & Rescue (Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the EMS Professions), Health Administrative Services (Association of University Programs in Health Administration), Health Information Management, Health Information Technology (Commission on Accreditation of Health Informatics and Information Management) and others.

  • St Luke’s College

Sioux City, Iowa

http://www.stlukescollege.edu/

(712) 279-3734

St Luke’s College is a  non-profit institution that has more than 2,800 alumni employed in the healthcare industry. They were found in 1890 and are accredited by Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JCERT), National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) and several other recognizable agencies. Ideal balance between theoretical knowledge and needed practice is something their students always get and this program is also a valuable basis for a successful career in the radiography.

  • Misericordia University

Dallas, Pennsylvania

http://www.misericordia.edu/

(570) 674-6438

Misericordia University was founded in 1924 and with its affiliation with Roman Catholic Church and its 123 acres campus in Dallas, Pennsylvania. Their health care programs are one of the most popular and the fact that in 2013/2014, even 54 % of graduates received degrees in this field speaks enough. Even 99 % or their students receive financial aid and they are fully recognized by respectable agencies, such as Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education, Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, American Physical Therapy Association, Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, One DuPont Circle and several others.

X-Ray Technician Salary

The median page for x-ray technciians in the US is 55, 870 $. Of course, this pay rate depends on the level of a radiographer (entry, medium or high level experienced) and also from the state. In the following sections are presented pay artes for this position in several states.

Washington

Median salary: 66,900
Entry level: 49,700
Top level: 92,400

Oregon

Median salary: 65,600<
Entry level: 48,500
Top level: 88, 500

California

Median salary: 72,700
Entry level: 41, 100
Top level: 110,200

Idaho

Median salary: 50, 400
Entry level: 39,100
Top level: 69, 800

Nevada

Median salary: 62, 500
Entry level: 43,300
Top level: 93, 700

Montana

Median salary: 51, 300
Entry level:  37,000
Top level: 73,200

Wyoming

Median salary: 51,000
Entry level: 39,400
Top level: 70,700

Utah

Median salary: 51, 200
Entry level: 39,700
Top level: 74,000

Arizona

Median salary: 59,900
Entry level:  41,700
Top level: 81, 700

Colorado

Median salary: 59,000
Entry level:  40,900
Top level: 85, 500

New Mexico

Median salary: 56,800
Entry level: 42,300
Top level: 75,900

North Dakota

Median salary: 47,800
Entry level:  35,000
Top level: 61,200

South Dakota

Median salary: 45,700
Entry level: 32,400
Top level: 61,000

Nebraska

Median salary: 49,300
Entry level: 35,800
Top level: 67,700

Kansas

Median salary: 48,100
Entry level: 35,800
Top level: 64, 000

Oklahoma

Median salary: 49,400
Entry level: 35,300
Top level: 71,200

Texas

Median salary: 54,200
Entry level: 35,400
Top level: 74, 700

Minnesota

Median salary: 63,000
Entry level: 45,300
Top level: 79,900

Iowa

Median salary: 47,600
Entry level: 34,900
Top level: 63,200

Missouri

Median salary: 50,100
Entry level:  35,300
Top level: 71, 000

Arkansas

Median salary: 45,100
Entry level:  31,900
Top level: 64, 400

Louisiana

Median salary: 47,200
Entry level:  32,500
Top level: 65,100

Wisconsin

Median salary: 54,000
Entry level: 40,600
Top level: 72, 100

Illinois

Median salary: 59,000
Entry level:  36,500
Top level: 84,600

Mississippi

Median salary: 45,900
Entry level:  33,200
Top level: 62, 100

Michigan

Median salary: 52,400
Entry level:  39,000
Top level: 70, 200

Indiana

Median salary: 52,400
Entry level:  39,200
Top level: 73, 300

Job Outlook

It is considered that job outlook for x-ray technician position is very high, especially with taking into account that their number in the US will increase 28 % by the end of 2020. With an average salary of 56, 450 $ on a yearly basis and median earnings of 27, 14 per hour, this is one of the most profitable health care professions.

Resources

http://www.innerbody.com/careers-in-health/how-to-become-an-x-ray-technician.html

http://www.insideradiology.com.au/pages/view.php?T_id=9#.V1APkTV97Dc

http://allhealthcare.monster.com/training/articles/3029-career-guide-radiologic-technologists-and-technicians

http://careercamp.net/technician/an-x-ray-tech-salary-and-job-security/

https://www.arrt.org/pdfs/governing-documents/rules-and-regulations.pdf

https://www.northcarolina.edu/

http://www.weber.edu/

http://www.stlukescollege.edu/

http://www.misericordia.edu/

Everything You Need To Know About Becoming Ultrasound Technician

Are you wondering what to do in the medical field? You don’t want to become a doctor and yet you want to earn like one? Well, then you have landed in the right place! Being an ultrasound technician is what would suit you the best. You might have stumbled upon this word somewhere along the medical field and to a huge denomination of people; this is a great way to work in the health care sector! This is not only interesting but also challenging and yet easy to become one.  

WHAT DO ULTRASOUND TECHNICIANS DO?

Ultrasound (or ultra Sonography) is a technique that is used for visualizing internal body structures like joints, muscles and other organs.  They work in clinics, hospitals, maternity centers and a few fields they specialize in are breast, abdominal, obstetrics and vascular. An ultrasound technician, often called sonographer, is a healthcare professional whose job consists of use of ultrasonic imaging devices. They use sonography to produce diagnostic scans, images, ultrasounds and 3D volumes of human anatomy. The complete knowledge of human cross section anatomy, physiology and pathology is mandatory for an ultrasound technician to have. Every ultrasound technician must know how to produce real-time images of internal organs and blood vessels. Using high frequency sound waves through a transducer, a technician transmits live images on a display screen. Depending on the area under the ultrasound, a technician uses his vast knowledge of anatomy and physiology to determine the most detailed images he/she then records for a physician to review.

PROCEDURE OVERVIEW

There is a great variety of ultrasounds that a technician can do ; from apprehending the flow of blood through blood vessels, discerning the condition of soft tissue and organs such as liver, spleen, bladder, kidneys, uterus, thyroid or pancreas to determining due dates,possible birth defects and sex of a child in pregnancy. A sonographer doesn’t just use the ultrasound tools – he/she is a professional who is specialized in making clearest scans and diagnostic data from the imaging of internal organs, recognizes the changes in soft tissue and develops perfect ultrasound images of wanted body area for a doctor or a radiologist to interpret.

Ultrasound technician is expected to know and perform an array of various assessments and procedures. When a patient is being prepared for an ultrasound, it is technicians duty to provide all the necessary information prior to the procedure. Their job is to inform the patient of a possible required preparation, such as having a full or emptied bladder or taking an injection. After the preparation, technician often analyzes results in real-time. For the patient’s comfort, they often speak to the patient about what they do and see on an ultrasound. Since majority of ultrasounds are harmless and patients don’t need to be anesthetized, they often talk to the sonographer while he/she performs diagnostics which means that great communication skills are appreciated in this field of medical diagnostics.

WHAT ELSE?

In addition to producing ultrasound images and scans, a technician is required to handle medical records and paperwork, deliver detailed reports and provide recommendations about procedures when they are expected to. Also, the ability of proper handling of sonographic machines and other medical equipment required for ultrasounds, is of great importance as well.

So, what ultrasound technicians do? Aside from the required abilities of good verbal and communication skills , multitasking while performing an ultrasound, standing for long hours and providing paperwork about the produced images, their job extends from just making an ultrasound.

They’re demanded to know how to: administer, perform, diagnose, observe and perceive the collected data from the imaging results.

They’re expected to implement their knowledge through the observation, detect and provide satisfactory information and always give the most perfect ultrasound scans which sometimes patients lives are depending on. Not everyone can be an ultrasound technician, but anyone with some of these qualities can qualify to be one.

WORK ENVIRONMENT OF ULTRASOUND TECHNICIAN

Usually, ultrasound technicians work in clinics and hospitals. They do their work in public, local or private hospital environments. Some of the technicians also work at physician’s offices such as those of obstetricians and gynecologists and some work for mobile ultrasound companies as well. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, 68% were employed in hospitals, 20% in various offices of physicians and only 7% in other medical and diagnostics laboratories. They also stated that by the 2020 astonishing 23.400 ultrasound technician jobs will be made available.

A workplace of a typical ultrasound technicians is often comfortable, climate-controlled imaging room with dim lights. Low-light room is needed for better viewing of on-screen ultrasound images. Average working week of a technician is around 40 working hours which may vary because of being-on-call or being called to work due to any type of emergencies. Most of their working time, sonographers spend majority of time on their feet. Constantly walking, standing or moving medical equipment by themselves takes a toll on their physiology, which means that a good and stable physical health is much needed in this type of work. Sometimes they are required to help disabled patients to settle on beds and adjust their position.

Aside with the physical demands of their work, technicians often engage in making diagnostics of patients ultrasound images, they fulfill medical paperwork and arrange medical data and administer patients records. Some may even work on weekends, during nights and holidays because they work in places that are always open. While most of them work in health facilities and operate the imaging machines, there are those who use modern mobile diagnostics devices and are often required to travel and provide service in areas without imaging machines.

The abilities like bending, long standing, walking, pushing and pulling medical machinery and ability to work long, lasting and irregular hours are of great importance. With all the work an ultrasound technician needs to perform during their working hours, sometimes they still have to work overtime when in need of submitting various medical reports to their employers. So, even though the facility they work in is a comfortable and sanitary environment, the workload of ultrasound technicians vary greatly. But, flexible working hours and different types of duties make this job exciting and attractive. Ultrasound technician is not restricted to only one place and one task all the time, so their job never becomes a boring routine.

 BECOMING AN ULTRASOUND TECHNICIAN

So, now you have decided to become an Ultrasound Technician. Great choice! There are a few ways that can get you to becoming a successful Ultrasound Technician. Let’s start from the basic step of getting a degree. There are three different degrees that you can choose from:

–       By getting a certificate: the basic requirement for this would be a high school diploma. The duration of the course can be anywhere from a year to 2 years. Getting a job with a certificate is not difficult but your pay scale can vary upon your scholastics.

–       By getting an Associate’s degree: This course will cost you more and also consume your time. It can take up to 3 years to finish.

–       By getting a Bachelor’s degree: This is the longest, most time consuming way to become an ultrasound technician. It will take you a total of 4 years to complete the course, but since the wages you earn are also dependent on the degree of education, the extra time spent might as well be worth it.

You will have to make sure that you study in schools that are accredited by Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAHEEP) as this can fetch you a job and a better wage as well. Before joining any school, always be sure to research about it by asking the existent students or by browsing about them. This will also help you understand the schools’ rules and regulations better.

AFTER THE EDUCATION- THE LAST STAGE:

Once you have completed your training or course in ultrasound technician education degree, you will need certification. You will be giving your certification exam which is governed by The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). You will be given certification only once you have passed this test, and then you are ready to step into your new career!

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN ONLINE ULTRASOUND TECHNICIAN PROGRAMS

Even though becoming an ultrasound technician demands hand-on training and courses, some of the work can be done my completing online programs. There is a vast number of available online programs that are accredited by CAAHEP and which offer complete Associate and Bachelor degrees and official certificates as well. With such a large variety of online courses available, it is a hard choice choosing the one which suites you best. Mostly , programs last between 1 and 5 years of online studying depending on which ones you choose to finish. For anyone with limited free time, such programs may be of great help in getting a degree or certificate. So, what to look for in online ultrasound technician programs?

  •      Large number of offered classes : For a future ultrasound technician, a good understanding of this job is mandatory. When searching for a perfect online program, look for the complete list of offered courses. Some programs may offer only preparation for one field in sonography while others provide general teaching about sonography. Search for the ones with video lectures and live webinars as well as the ones with interesting learning approaches with multiple quizes and demos offered. Pick education programs which include courses of introduction to medical sonography, detailed sectional anatomy classes, courses about procedures and principles in all of the fields in sonography : vascular, abdominal, obstetrical, gynecological and breast sonography. The best programs offer online assignments and exams, interaction between students and lecturers and a great number of presentations. Depending on the level of degree you’re pursuing, you may be required to take a year of some basic courses like psychology, mathematics, communication, biology and logic.
  •      Accreditation :   Take your time in choosing the best online program which is accredited by CAAHEP. Not all programs and schools have accreditation for online / distance education, so get to know and inform yourself of those programs which are accredited for this type of education.
  •     Campus training and in-person courses: While most of the programs have high quality online courses and good amount of lessons provided, some of the schools and training programs also offer campus training. This means that aside with your online training, you are also able to perform and engage in clinical training as well. Being able to actually participate in procedures and perform in real-time work is a good way to completely understand and comprehend all of the theory you’re learning through an online training program. The best way to become an ultrasound technician through programs is to be allowed to involve in both online lectures and hands-on training. The best experience is earned in combination of virtual and on-campus instruction. In some cases, students may pay their own transport to such campuses, clinics or physician offices.
  •     Certification: Make sure to check out the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) for all the necessary certification requirements according to your state. There are different licensing and credentialing requirements so be careful before picking a training program to ensure yourself of possible setbacks regarding the needed certification. Earn your certification and start pursuing your sonography career with the best online training program you choose for yourself. Even though professional certification is not required to work as an ultrasound technician, in most cases it is preferred by employers. Getting a certification typically requires a taking an exam at an approved testing center. Numerous schools offer accredited online or hybrid training programs that are created to prepare students for the profession and certification requirements.

So, when exploring for the training school that suites your best interests, be aware of these things when applying for a training. Some things mentioned are mandatory for applying students while some of them are just good to know or have. Between so many ultrasound technician training programs, collecting information about each one is a good way of choosing the one you will want to succeed in. Find the best online schools and list their offers and possibilities. Research thoroughly every program you want to consider taking, inform yourself of pros and cons and pick the best option. Regarding your goals, consider online programs that offer a complete courses of sonography fields you wish to get a degree in.

Plan your training requirements, exam preparations and available free time and pick the best one for yourself. After completing your training, you will get your degree and you will be able to start your career as a professional ultrasound technician. The next thing to do is just to find a perfect working place whether it’s a public or private hospital, physician office or a medical laboratory. After finishing online training program, your career as a sonographer soon begins.

THE COMPENSATION:

The compensation is always the most valued part of a job and it is also the first thing we look at before choosing a career path. So, what should you expect in this line of career? On an average, the annual salary for a freshly graduated technician is around $67,000(according to a survey in 2009). Following the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for an ultrasound technician in May, 2015 was $68,530. But this will depend upon work experience, level of education, type of degree, school in which you studied, place you are working in and other such factors. But, with time, given the right place of work and job, your compensation will gradually start increasing as you slowly become experienced and better at your work. Ultrasound technician salary ranks among the highest ones in medical field.

The average hourly income for this job in the US ranges between approximately $13.49 and $33.58. You can start earning more once you acquire more working experience. Another method of increasing your salary is by completion of any accredited degree like Bachelor, Master’s or Associate one. Some of the other factors influencing on the salary are career length and the particular city a technician works in.

Let’s look into the main factors which salaries are depending on:

  • The first one is geographical location. There are some states in the US that are among the first ones on the list that provide highest payments. States like California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Colorado are the top paying states. However, the lowest ranking states are Alabama, Arkansas, South Dakota, West Virginia and Mississippi. Bear in mind that Metropolitan areas tend to offer higher salaries than the rural ones.
  • Second factor is based on your education, credentials and work experience. Ultrasound technicians who are beginners start with the lowest percentage of salary income. Even though the degree you hold is important factor, more important factor is acquiring professional credentials. The ASRT survey states that sonographers with up to two years of experience have income of $55,921, while the ones with 20 to 30 years of experience have average wage of $72,447 per year.
  • The third factor is the area of sonography you’re specialized in. Have in mind that salaries vary depending on ultrasound specialties. So, while a pediatric cardiac sonographer earn approximately $67,000, cardiac sonographer earns roughly $81,000. In addition, vascular sonographer’s salary reaches up to $88,000 per year. While staff-level sonographers earn $66,000 on an average, senior ultrasound techs reported roughly $72,000 and the supervisors in this medical department average around $79,000 per year. In the sonography profession, a job title and work experience are considered to be more important than educational level when determining salary. So, expect to start with the lowest payment rate once you begin your sonography career and as the years pass, your income will surely increase. Depending on your persistence, choosing this profession takes time to start paying out with a great salary wage. Nonetheless, the beginners payment is not bad – according to US News, this job is ranked #5 in the best healthcare support jobs. When you collect years of experience in this medical field, you can even expect the number of up to $90,000 per year. The potential of high earnings, fantastic job outlook and the future job openings in general put this profession ahead of other ones, which makes it a very popular choice. If and when you decide to start your career as an ultrasound technician, be assured that the wage, job requirements and experience gained will fulfill your curriculum.

Don’t forget about the possible benefits and bonuses you get for your work. Some facilities even have completely payed health insurance. Whether you decide to work in laboratory, medical office or a hospital, your payment will increase gradually as your experience. Start your career as soon as possible, and enjoy your work as much as you will enjoy the increase of salary!

JOB OUTLOOK

As published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May, 2011, the official job outlook for ultrasound technician is very bright. According to statistics as of 2010, the number of opened jobs in this medical field reaches 53,700. Between the years 2010 and 2020, the number of sonography jobs is expected to increase 44% nationally across the US. As the popularity of this profession increases and the number of sonographers raise, it surpasses other related healthcare fields by 18% anticipated job growth. Even though the majority of ultrasound technicians work in hospitals, the expand of modern ultrasound technology offers this professionals opportunities to work in outpatient facilities or in mobile services as well.

For example: there are approximately 20,000 vascular sonographers working in the US. Two thirds of this number work in either hospital facilities, while the other work in clinics, physician offices and in some independent and private laboratories. With an increasing demand of graduated sonographers, the number of employees increases rapidly and every year there are more and more job openings concerning this medical field. So, the future is bright for sonographers. Every field of sonography has raising numbers of job outlook. Abdominal, vascular, cardiac, neurological, breast and gynecological sonography are some major types of this profession and every field listed is in search of new workers. Searching through job outlooks depending on your state, can give you a great insight in search and demand of this job.

POPULARITY OF SONOGRAPHY

Thanks to its benign technology, ultrasound is becoming more popular than other technologies. Due to the radiation of x-rays and CT scans and needles used in biopsies and blood testing, ultrasound technology prevails as the most secure, non invasive and inexpensive type of technology. With the big number of more and more elderly citizens and their medical conditions such as heart diseases, arthritis and neurological problems, the requirement of usage of diagnostics technology increases as well. By the year of 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the total number of 77,100 new open jobs for ultrasound technicians.

CONCLUSION

Start browsing for open jobs. Just enter search query for your state and choose between vast number of open jobs that various hospitals and clinics offer. Pick between numerous listings and choose the one of your liking. With so many options of open job listings, choosing a sonographer career is the right way of choosing bright future. With the steady salary, job demand and flexibility of working hours, it is not a hard choice to pick. By finishing your training or school, gaining some experience and finding a perfect job offer, you can begin your long lasting career as an ultrasound technician and in your late years enjoy the products of your work. There are no cons in choosing this profession, and the pros are increasing every year. Everything you need to know about becoming an ultrasound technician is written in this article. Take the first step and start becoming one.

 

 

References:

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Diagnostic Medical Sonographers : Work Environment

Oregon Institute of Technology : Diagnostic Medical Sonography

explorehealthcareers.org : Diagnostic Medical Sonographer