What Does an Ultrasound Tech Do in His Job?

From producing pictures of a growing fetus in a womb, to capturing images of a malignant tumor in the brain, these medical professionals must complete a specialized training program to fulfill the requirements listed in the ultrasound technician job description. Ultrasound technicians, also known as diagnostic medical sonographers, or ultrasonographers, are trained to use specialized ultrasound equipment and machines to produce accurate digital images of the patient.

Many students enrolling in a training program wonder, what does an ultrasound tech do? You'll learn what the key responsibilities and duties of this career path are during your educational training program, but many of these details will be provided to you during your job interview at the hospital, clinic, medical imaging center, private physician's office or by another employer.

What Does an Ultrasound Tech Do?

Ultrasound technicians are responsible for setting up ultrasound equipment, operating ultrasound machinery and capturing accurate digital images for review by a physician, radiologist or other medical professional. Well-trained and experienced ultrasound techs are hired by hospitals, medical imaging centers, private health institutions and clinics. Some are hired specifically to detect pregnancies, but others are hired to detect cancers, tumors and diagnose a variety of other health problems and diseases.

So what does an ultrasound tech do? Here are some of the key responsibilities of an ultrasound technician:

  • Operating ultrasonography equipment according to protocol
  • Adjusting and maintaining ultrasonography equipment
  • Moving the patient appropriately to obtain the highest-quality image
  • Recording patient data and collecting medical history information
  • Performing ultrasound testing of small areas as directed by the physician or supervisor
  • Accurately maintaining patient records
  • Reviewing patient logs and charts
  • Evaluating ultrasound equipment
  • Managing diagnostic imaging equipment for the department
  • Lifting and turning patients as needed
  • Selecting the right technical factors for each type of ultrasound equipment
  • Choosing the best images to be reviewed by the radiologist or physician

Many of the skills needed for an ultrasound technician position can be learned through correspondence courses, classroom training and through practicum or clinical hours at a training center.

Other Duties Listed in an Ultrasound Technician Job Description

In addition to the above responsibilities and tasks, an ultrasound technician job description may include the following requirements:

  • Understanding patient complaints and concerns
  • Learning how to communicate effectively with patients during the imaging process
  • Helping patients lay down and stay in the right position during the image capture process
  • Being able to understand images and detect problems easily
  • Able to explain results to patients and doctors in the most effective way
  • Compiling patient information and entering it accurately in a computer database

The ultrasound technician job description will vary significantly depending on the type of medical institution or employer the tech works for, and whether the tech is specializing in a particular area. For example, the ultrasound technician job description for an abdominal sonographer or a neurosonographer will be very different from the job description for a gynecologic sonographer or an echocardiographer. Details of the job requirements are generally reviewed during the interview process.