Is Being an Ultrasound Technician Hard?

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So you are wondering about the downsides of working as an ultrasound technician. This job requires you to diagnose medical conditions for patients. Hence to the main question, here is what you should know:

There is no clear-cut yes or no answer to the question. It depends on what you are interested in and your goals in life. There are major pros and cons to this profession.    

In this article, I will review what an average working day for an ultrasound technician looks like and discuss the significant happenings in the career.  

What Are the Cons of Working as an Ultrasound Technician?

As with any other profession, there are advantages and disadvantages of being an ultrasound technician, and I’m listing them all so you can make a decision. With cons first as it’s central to the main theme of this article:

You Have To Deal With Physical and Mental Stress

Ultrasound technicians spend most of their working hours standing and transporting bulky sonographic equipment. This work can tire out your muscles and strain your feet and your whole body.

You will also be expected to work with patients under constant suffering due to their illnesses. And not all of them can be pleasant to deal with. But can you blame them? 

Manners and etiquette are sometimes the least of a patient’s concerns under such stress and physical pain. Although, you might be in the “right” to be angry. But -you- as an ultrasound technician, will have to put up with patients of all flavors.           

And this could affect your mental health, and it could overtake the satisfaction of consistently helping others overcome their trouble.  

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Your Actions Have Serious Consequences

Humans are prone to making errors, and we do it all the time without knowing it. But in the healthcare industry, the outcomes of your actions can mean the chance between life and death.

Apart from working long hours, you will be under constant pressure to perform at your best, at all times, as a small error in diagnosis can lead to disastrous outcomes when treating the patient.

This listing further compounds the first point on physical and mental stress. Hence this profession is prone to get you into legal trouble for minor negligence, which applies to all jobs in the medical industry. But I believe you get the point.

Now, you can imagine how an average ultrasound technician spends their working hours. 

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Career Growth as an Ultrasound Technician Depends on a Lot of Factors

Becoming an ultrasound technician requires certification, but there is no requirement for advanced education. You will be able to attain this certification right out of your high school. 

To maximize your chances when securing opportunities, you will need an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree. Which requires significant financial investments and time. 

Also remember, to have any realistic chance of getting hired by most institutions, you need to obtain ARDMS SPI credentials. Feel free to check this article on the SPI Exam that ultrasound technicians are required to pass to earn the certification.

There Could Be Issues in Maintaining a Proper Work-Life Balance

Depending on the institution or the type of setting -inpatient or outpatient services- you are employed. There is always a need for medical emergencies. 

Hence, sometimes you might be required to shift your working hours based on the capabilities of your institution. This means having an unpredictable schedule that changes every week and day. As a result, you could be working twelve-hour shifts when needed. 

And sometimes this can leave little room for spending time with yourself and your family.

On a More Positive Note

A coin has two sides; if being an ultrasound technician is hard, what’s the motivation behind many pursuing this career path? 

Ultrasound Technicians Are in High Demand

Have you ever wondered why some of your friends or family members can land job offers like it’s nothing? It is mostly because there might be a high demand for their skill sets in their particular industry.

Ultrasound technicians fit in that category in the healthcare industry. This combined with the fact that entry requirements for acquiring certifications are relatively straightforward and only require basic education. Hence, this makes the profession an attractive choice for many.

It’s a Financially Sound Decision

Without it is hard to survive, and with it, you can accomplish almost anything or at least make progress — money.       

When you think about it logically, it makes perfect sense. The salary of a diagnostic medical sonographer is around $78,000 per year, which is higher than other similar roles in the healthcare industry. 

With some top brass earning more than $100,000 in a year. Here is an article that discusses in detail the salary of diagnostic medical sonographers that you might find interesting.  

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Despite All the Negatives, There Is Job Satisfaction

Upward social mobility aside, not everybody is willing to put up with a tedious job just for the money. I have known many successful people who just quit at the peak of their careers, and it was shocking to everyone in their friend circle.     

There was no job satisfaction, that was the reason. It was just a grind for money and more money. Many ultrasound technicians love their job due to the respect and admiration they receive from patients as healthcare service providers. 

True, there may be some bad apples; once in a while. But overall, it’s tough to deny that this profession is fulfilling.     

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Wrapping up

In all fairness, I think there is no straightforward answer to the question, “Is Being An Ultrasound Technician Hard?” But each of us has our values and priorities, hence consider all the advantages and disadvantages I have discussed, and I believe you can find your answer. 

If you’re passionate about becoming an ultrasound technician, I’m inviting you to check out our SPI Hero comprehensive exam study guide. It can help you prepare efficiently for the ARDMS SPI exam and achieve great results. 

You are also welcome to try out our free SPI Practice test and can get a feel of what the SPI exam looks like.