What Does an Ultrasound Tech Do and Ultrasound Tech Salary NYC
What Does an Ultrasound Tech Do: An ultrasound technician, also known as a sonographer or diagnostic medical sonographer, plays a vital role in the medical field. Their main duty is to operate ultrasound equipment to create images or conduct tests. The results help physicians assess and diagnose medical conditions. So what does an ultrasound tech do on a daily basis? Here’s a closer look at the ultrasound technician job description and salary expectations in New York City.
What is an Ultrasound Technician?
An ultrasound tech is a skilled technologist who uses medical ultrasound equipment to capture images and videos of internal body structures. They specialize in using high-frequency sound waves to generate dynamic visuals of organs, tissues, blood flow, and fetuses in the womb. Ultrasound technicians work closely with radiologists and physicians to provide data as they diagnose and treat patients.
Main Duties and Responsibilities
The core ultrasound technician job duties include:
- Preparing patients for ultrasound procedures by explaining the process and ensuring they remove any clothing or jewelry that could interfere with imaging.
- Selecting the appropriate equipment settings and ultrasound techniques (e.g., 2D, 3D/4D, Doppler, etc.) for the type of scan ordered.
- Operating the ultrasound device to obtain the necessary views and capture still photos or video.
- Identifying any abnormalities or areas of concern and bringing them to the attention of the overseeing physician.
- Analyzing diagnostic images and data to provide preliminary findings for the radiologist to review.
- Entering patient data, recording findings, and completing necessary paperwork.
- Maintaining ultrasound equipment and ensuring consistent image quality.
- Adhering to safety protocols to prevent unnecessary radiation exposure.
Types of Ultrasound Exams
Sonographers have broad knowledge of anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, and ultrasound techniques. This allows them to perform a wide variety of ultrasound scans, including:
- Obstetric ultrasounds to monitor fetal development and maternal health during pregnancy.
- Gynecological ultrasounds to examine the female pelvic organs like the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes.
- Abdominal ultrasounds to assess organs like the gallbladder, liver, pancreas, spleen, kidneys, and male reproductive system.
- Breast ultrasounds to detect cysts, benign tumors, cancer, and other breast abnormalities.
- Carotid ultrasounds to monitor blood flow and screen for plaque buildup in the carotid arteries.
- Echocardiograms to evaluate the heart’s valves, chambers, wall motion, and blood flow.
- Vascular ultrasounds like venous insufficiency exams for blood clots and varicose veins.
Education and Training
Becoming an ultrasound tech requires completion of an accredited program. Many sonographers earn an associate degree in diagnostic medical sonography. Bachelor’s degrees in sonography are also available for those seeking advanced skills. Coursework covers subjects like anatomy, pathology, equipment operation, scanning protocols, recordkeeping, patient care, and medical ethics.
In addition to classroom learning, ultrasound programs provide extensive hands-on clinical training in a real healthcare setting under the supervision of experienced sonographers. This prepares students to operate equipment, interact with patients, and develop diagnostic skills. Programs often focus on a specialty like abdominal, OB/GYN, breast, or vascular sonography. Cardiac ultrasound techs require extra training and certification.
Upon graduation, sonographers must obtain professional certification by passing exams like those offered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). Maintaining certification requires adherence to ethical standards and completion of continuing education. Many employers prefer hiring registered sonographers.
Top Skills and Qualities
Ultrasound techs need the following attributes to succeed:
- Knowledge of human anatomy, physiology, pathology and medical terminology
- Technical aptitude to utilize complex equipment and software
- Spatial ability to distinguish 2D images
- Attention to detail and analytical thinking to detect subtle diagnostic clues
- Clear communication skills for patient interaction
- Compassionate bedside manner to gain patient cooperation
- Physical stamina to be on your feet and maneuver equipment
- Ability to work independently and as part of a clinical team
Ultrasound Tech Work Environment
Most ultrasound technicians work full time in healthcare facilities like:
- Medical imaging clinics
- Physician offices
- Prenatal and women’s health centers
- Vascular labs
- Mobile imaging service providers
Their schedules may include evenings, weekends, on-call hours, and holidays to accommodate patient needs. Those employed in smaller offices may enjoy a more regular weekday schedule.
Sonographers interact closely with patients while operating imaging equipment and explaining procedures. They must be able to provide clear instructions to patients of all ages, gain their cooperation for proper positioning, and help anxious or vulnerable patients feel at ease.
Ultrasound Tech Salary NYC
The average annual pay for ultrasound technicians in New York is approximately $77,530 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, sonographers working in New York City’s metropolitan area tend to earn higher wages.
Here is a breakdown of the average NYC ultrasound tech salary ranges:
- Entry-level: $60,000 – $70,000
- Experienced: $75,000 – $85,000
- Advanced / Specialized: $90,000+
Senior level sonographers with specialized credentials and extensive experience at top hospitals and practices can earn over $100,000 in NYC.
Salaries vary based on factors like:
- Geographic location
- Education level
- Certifications held
- Years of experience
- Facility type (hospital vs. private clinic)
- Specialized expertise
- Leadership roles
The highest paying industries for sonographers in NYC include scientific research, medical labs, hospitals, and physicians’ offices.
Job Outlook for Ultrasound Techs
The job growth outlook for ultrasound technicians across the U.S. is very positive. Employment opportunities are expected to increase by 20% over the next decade, much faster than average according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Several factors contribute to the high demand forecast:
- Advancing technology leading to new ultrasound applications
- Rising rates of chronic conditions like heart disease requiring imaging
- Growing emphasis on early detection and preventative care
- Large aging population requiring more medical services
This makes it an excellent time to start a career as an ultrasound technician. With the right training and qualifications, sonographers can enjoy lucrative salaries, rewarding patient interactions, and excellent job stability.
Ultrasound techs, or sonographers, play a key role in healthcare by using soundwaves to capture medical images and data to assist in diagnosis and treatment. Main duties include preparing patients, conducting various ultrasound scans, analyzing images, providing preliminary findings, maintaining equipment, and adhering to safety rules. Becoming a diagnostic medical sonographer requires earning an associate or bachelor’s degree in the field and obtaining professional certification. There is tremendous demand for qualified ultrasound technicians in New York City offering competitive salaries, especially for those with specialized skills and experience.