I am a 26 year old mother of 3, and have not been to school since I graduated highschool. I am really interested in becoming an ultrasound tech/sonographer and/or xray tech. I would really appreciate any info that any can give to shoot me in the right direction. What classes would I have to take? How long is the total schooling for it? Is it a good career to get into? I am an army spouse also, so we don't have money coming out of our rear (so to speak ), and also need info on grants, loans, things of this nature. I am also worried about going back to school after so long of not doing any schooling at all. I did get a pharmacist assistant certification, but that really isn't doing me any good. Also since we are military, it is very possible we will have to move while I am in school. Is it difficult to transfer to a new location once I am in the actual training/schooling part of the profession?? Thank you to everyone who can please help me in this decision.
It takes 2 years to become a registered radiographic technologist (associates degree). I don't know where you're from, but most of the x-ray programs i've seen are located in community type colleges or a branch of a big university. Usually, you must take an entrance type exam to which your score will be compared and considered with the rest of the applicants. The pre-requisites vary slightly among each program. Among the most common are anatomy and physiology 1 and 2, college algebra, and english.
Furthermore, i'm not sure if you can transfer from one program to another once you've begun. It's possible but it could slow you down because not all programs are exactly alike and it might take you longer to graduate than usual. Also, each program usually has it's own set of hospitals for your clinicals so you can't just choose any hospital anywhere. Thus, I would recommend not starting the program until you are fairly certain you can remain in the program for the duration.
In my opinion, you get a very good return on your investment becoming an x-ray tech. In radiography "x-ray" school you learn all about the concept of x-rays. Basically, you learn the different methods and positions of taking x-rays of each bone part plus you learn the physics of how an x-ray machine works.
One thing to note is that you don't learn about other "modalities" in x-ray school (i.e. ultrasound, MRI, CT, mammography etc.). You normally only learn any of the above mentioned when an opportunity or opening arises at your workplace whether it be a hospital or imaging center. Generally, every new x-ray tech starts at the bottom taking just x-rays, then after you've gained experience you move on to the others. For example, you'd be trained for ultrasound on the job by one of your peers and maybe you'd be sent to a seminar to understand the basics of it.
The median income is probably around $30,000 as a new x-ray technologist. However, once you specialize in the other "modalities" such as ultrasound or MRI etc. you'll probably make around $45,000-$50,000 average or more depending on the demand in your area. I personally know of several making between $60,000-$75,000 but they've been doing it a long time. In my experience, the highest paid of the above mentioned are MRI and ultrasound techs at the present time. So, you have the right idea learning ultrasound.
Something else to keep in mind is that there are a few schools that teach only ultrasound if you'd prefer just to do ultrasound. However, these programs are scarce and sometimes hard to find close by. The downside is that you wouldn't be as flexible as starting as an x-ray tech.
If you want more info on the profession go to the "american registry of radiologic technologists" (ARRT) website to find out more.
Thank you very much zorba, your information is very helpful. What I really want to do is become an ultrasound tech/sonographer. That is my ultimate goal. According to a local school here to get into the radiography program, I only need to make a certain score on the ACT, have completed 10 credit hrs prerequisits while maintaining a certain gpa, and do a 4 hr observation in a clinic somewhere of my choosing. Oh by the way we are currently stationed in Ky, but I don't know for how long. I also would like to know if in the event we have to move because of my husband getting stationed somewhere else, would it be possible to transfer my schooling/training to a new location, or would I have to stay behind to finish? W/ 3 kids the second option isn't very desirable for us (but if i have to I will make it work). Thanks for the website, I did check that out while looking through as many online sources as I can so I can get as much info as I can.
I wanted to add, that I got more info from a local college here (spencerian college that seems to be on all the radiography websites as the college in ky to get certified) that offers LMR training and certification. I figured that since I do not know if we will be here for long, this would be good to start w/, then according to the college info, after 9 months I will be done w/ this. Then I can get a job and work until I know if we will be here for longer to finish my overall training. Do you know if that will give me the same opportunity, or fairly the same opportunity to get a steady job doing xrays and things until I can go back and get my actual assoc. in applied science to move on to sonography?
Limited techs are only "legally" allowed to take regular x-rays (I say legally because i've heard of some doctors allowing LMR's to do MRI's etc; beware of this because you could get into potential legal trouble--shady area). LMR's are not allowed to perform ultrasounds, MRI's or even special procedures (e.g. artery catherizations, kidneys etc.)
Even though it's only 9 months of school I personally don't think it's worth it especially if you really plan to finish your associates anyway.
LMR's don't get paid much either and there is almost no potential for big raises in salary/income. Generally, they only work in general practioner/family practice doctor offices just taking chest x-rays and some extremities such as ankle, foot etc. So, you usually don't even work around other radiography related work such as ultrasound, which is what you desire.
Also, keep in mind that you'd end up paying a substantial amount of money for 9 months for the LMR, then once again when you return to obtain your associates.
However, if you really feel that you are unable to devote 2 straight years at the present time or even the near future, then perhaps it's worth it.
One good tip and incentive I can give about the 2 year program is that hospitals sometimes offer to hire x-ray students after your first clinical with them (normally 3 months or so). Therefore, many times you are already making money prior to graduating and you also have a job lined up after graduation.
From what I know about all of it from my research, you can get a 2 year associate degree in applied science, or technology, or radiology, depending on where you go to get your schooling, and what they call your particular degree.
I am also looking into becoming an ultrasound tech. but I'm not nearly close in age to either of you. I am in my last year of highschool and trying to decide what courses to try and get into. I don't live too far from you zorba but I'm in Ontario. I don't want to move far away from home and mostly my boyfriend because we are really attached, and moving away would never work out. I was talking to some people at my work the other day and they were telling me that there's no such thing as a job that only specializes in ultrasounds, and that you have to be a nurse (and that doing ultrasounds is just part of it). But by reading your conversation.. thats obviously not true. I know in my heart that I am destined to do ultrasounds because I love the big bellies that all of the little mommy's have and I love babies. So I was just wondering what sort of schooling am I going to need (courses and such), and how long that schooling is approximately going to be? Thanks for you help...
Canada may have different requirements but in the US being a nurse is not a prerequisite for any xray or ultrasound career. Some older nurses who took xrays and ultrasounds may have been "grandfathered" into their positions. I employed a technologist like that and when it became a requirement for her to have to take the Ultrasound exams, she failed repeatedly and had to be fired. Very sad.
None of the facilities I have ever worked for would hire LMR's so keep that in mind when you make your choice. Some chiropractors and my podiatrist have LMR's in their employ. Here they make about $10.00-12.00 per hour. I did better than that as a xray file room clerk in 1985.
There are "core" courses for any Associates Degree: math, psych, english of some sort, Anatomy and Physiology, etc. They may be transferrable but be careful: My program was extremely particular about the content of the courses and didn't take many transfer credits. Think of Xray school more as a "trade school" and less like a college and you may see why this is the case. The courses in my school were geared toward a medical professional. And often toward a medical professional in RADIOLOGY. With the exception of English Composition. The courses the program will offer that are directly related to radiology will of course not be obtained elsewhere. Having a prior degree in even another medical field may not matter when it is time to enroll for radiology. Obviously speak to your school guide.
My school was 2 years, full time, days only. No flexibility. I was supported by my Mom and Sister while I attended. I was able to work weekends and holidays in a related department, for extra money.
One thing to remember: you have to LOVE physics to do this job. I had two physics classes PER SEMESTER in my program.
I started in 1987 making 25K (US) and within three years (as a supervisor) I was making 33k. At my peak I made 57K as an Operations Manager of a seven office group. Now I make 52K as a mammographer with 18 years experience.
We start people at about $18.00 (US) per hour here for xray. Slightly higher for a specialty. Ultrasound techs at my old job made 66K (with 5-10 years experience) but had to carry their own malpractice insurance in addition to what the group covered them for. We wouldn't hire Sonographers with less than 5 years experience.
[FONT=Comic Sans MS]thanks jennifer...
Well I was considering Wayne State University because it's closer to home. But I can't find the exact course that I would need to take there. But my friends mom (who monitors the mother and baby in the delivery rooms at one of the hospitals around here..) told me that she knows some ultrasoundographers that have went to WSU for schooling, but I can't seem to find the right programs to take for that . And the comment you made about LOVING physics... that is NOT me! lol And by the way... getting help from my school guidence is not going to work either... I'm sure I know WAYYYY more then they do, which is sad to say because I don't know where to go for help. But this site is helping me! Also if you guys don't hire ultrasoundographers without 5 years of experiance, where would you think they would go for that experiance??? I think this career might not be that good for me... loving physics is not my thing. lol What I had wanted to do for a long time though is Athletic Therapy. Do you think there would be a bunch of jobs out there for athletic therapists. I know like... getting involved with university sports teams, professional sport teams and then owning your own business (but thats FARRR down the road)... I don't know, this is so tough for me. Because getting into the Uniersity of Winsdor for a Human Kinetics degree is going to be so tough because they only except 150 students, and it seems like this is the new crave... H.K. ! so its going to be super tough... I'm so confused.
If anyones got any information to maybe help me out... PLEASE!
I am currently attending an Ultrasound program. I am not quite sure how things in Canada are but in my program we took the basics Anatomy 1 & 2, college Alg, math, and we did have to take Ultrasound physics. But it was only one class. Not all schools have physics every semester, I actually have never heard of that. but, xray and ultrasound are two totally different fields. In my opinion, I would suggest going for Ultrasound if you want it, however it's not all baby's (thats part of what drew me in too) but, I am halfway done my program and I love it! it's a great field and I highly recommend it. It also pays very well too. As for the physics, thats not my thing either, you just have to study a little more and you'll get through it! Also, most places don't look for 5 yrs experience. if that was the case no one would ever get a job and there would be no sonographers out there. Some places are harder to get into (i.e. experience, being a registered sonographer w/ the ARDMS) but from what I have seen the majority of places will hire new grads unregistered and give them a year or so to sit for their boards. It's a tough program- but so worth it!
Good Luck.. I hope you find a school that works for you!