Ultrasound technology is used for much more than detecting the position of a baby. With the increase of cancer cases and age-related disease, ultrasound technicians play an important role within the medical field. As an aging population that is living longer than ever before requires more medical attention, ultrasound technicians face an extremely positive job outlook as they are responsible for using the equipment that assesses and diagnoses various medical conditions.
Ultrasound Technician Outlook
The anticipated addition of 11,300 jobs by 2020 will bring the total of ultrasound technicians working in the United States to 77,100. An increasing population that lives longer coupled with advancements in medical technology has enhanced the job outlook for ultrasound technicians. Hospitals, as well as a growing number of outpatient services, will need ultrasound technicians to use and maintain their equipment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, states with the highest concentration of jobs for an ultrasound technician include California with 5,180, Florida with 4,720, Texas with 4,370, New York with 4,040, and Pennsylvania with 2,610 jobs.
The Ultrasound Technician Industry
The employment of diagnostic medical sonographers, which includes ultrasound technicians, is expected to rise by 44% from 2010 to 2020, which shows much faster growth than the average for all other occupations. The BLS reports that diagnostic medical sonographers held about 53,700 jobs in 2010; around 61% worked in hospitals at the state, local and private levels, 24% worked in physicians’ offices, 9% worked in medical and diagnostic laboratories, and 2% found employment in outpatient care centers.
Reasons for Growth
Ultrasound imaging technology is ever-evolving, and has great value in medical facilities looking for an alternative for procedures that cost a lot, are invasive, or expose patients to radiation. When given the choice, more patients are expected to select sonography as a way to avoid exposure to radiation or undergoing invasive evaluations. To date, hospitals are the primary place of employment for ultrasound technicians, but job opportunities in physicians’ offices and in medical and diagnostic laboratories are expected to grow more quickly by 2020. A shift towards providing more outpatient care over inpatient stays is anticipated to increase. The availability of less expensive ultrasound equipment will also permit more procedures to take place outside of hospitals.
Ultrasound Technician Job Availability
Job prospects for ultrasound technicians will continue to grow as the large population of Baby Boomers in the United States continues to get older and remains active for a longer period of time. Imaging technology allows the diagnosis of various preventable and treatable medical conditions, such as tumors and blood clots, and ultrasound technicians are needed to use and maintain such imaging equipment.
Ultrasound technicians require formal education, such as an Associate’s degree or a postsecondary certificate. Those who obtain degrees or professional certification from an accredited institute or hospital program will appear more qualified to potential employers. Technicians who are certified in more than one specialty are expected to encounter better job prospects.