What Does an Ultrasound Technician Do?

Published - April 17, 2024

Do you have a keen attention for detail and an interest in medical technology? If so, consider a career as an ultrasound technician. An ultrasound technician, also known as a diagnostic medical sonographer, helps physicians image body structures using sound waves emitted from an ultrasound. Ultrasound technicians help physicians diagnose and monitor conditions like heart disease and pregnancy.

What Does an Ultrasound Technician Do?

Ultrasound exams are a non-invasive diagnostic imaging technique that uses sound waves to map body structures. The primary duties of an ultrasound technician include:

Prepare Patient for Ultrasound

The ultrasound technician will meet the patients in the waiting room and walk them back to the exam room. They will ask them to remove or pull clothing from the location where images will be taken. The patient may sit or lie down depending on the locations of the body structure to be imaged. The ultrasound technician will explain the process to help ease the patient’s anxiety.

Conducting the Ultrasound

The ultrasound technician uses a transducer, a handheld device that produces high-frequency sound waves, to create images for physician review. They apply a water-based get to the patient’s skin to help transmit the sound waves of the ultrasound. The gel also protects the patient’s skin from friction as the transducer moves over the skin. The sound waves penetrate the body, bounce back as they encounter body structures, and create an echo that generates an image.

Image Analysis

Ultrasound technicians review images for quality, clarity, and completeness. They will create reports that identify and describe the condition of the body structures imaged. The ultrasound technician must interpret the images during the exam to identify abnormalities. They will pass the images on to the physician for diagnosis and treatment.

Patient Clean Up

The ultrasound technician will wipe gel from the patient’s skin, sanitize equipment, and disinfect surfaces to prevent the spread of infection to other patients. They will also change the plastic draping on exam tables and restock the ultrasound station for the next exam.

Patient Education

Ultrasound technicians provide information about ultrasound exams and what a patient will experience during the exam. They will also educate the patient on the next steps of the diagnostic process.

Forward Images to the Physician

The physician must review the images to identify a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan. The ultrasound technician will, however, look for abnormalities and take additional images if necessary. They will also fast-track images in case of an emergency. The physician may order additional ultrasound images if the ultrasound obscures the body structure.

Where Do Ultrasound Technicians Work?

Ultrasound technicians have options when choosing where to work. Their options include:


Many patients need diagnostic tests, and ultrasound technicians perform sonography to help physicians and surgeons diagnose and treat patients who are hospitalized. Whether in maternity, emergency, radiology, or cardiology, the ultrasound technician is an indispensable support to physicians managing patient care. Hospital emergency rooms are open 24/7, so different shifts are available for ultrasound technicians who need a flexible schedule.

Outpatient Facilities

Many ultrasound technicians are needed in an outpatient facility to manage urgent care patients and those with minor surgical procedures. They can take images of different body parts to help doctors diagnose injuries, diseases, and disorders. Most outpatient facilities are open during regular business hours so ultrasound technicians can enjoy a good work/life balance.

Diagnostic Centers

Some diagnostic centers offer medical testing services, from MRIs and X-rays to pathology and blood work. Ultrasound technicians are employed at diagnostic centers to support the growing aged patient population. Diagnostic centers offer timely, cost-effective, and high-quality diagnostic care.

Doctor’s Offices

Specialty doctor’s offices employ ultrasound technicians, including:

  • Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility – diagnoses and treats infertility, reproductive organ problems, and erectile dysfunction.
  • Respiratory Therapy – offers care to patients with breathing difficulties like asthma and COPD.
  • Orthopedics – prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscle disorders.
  • Anesthesia – helps identify cardiac, pulmonary, and gastric risk factors before and during surgery using an ultrasound.
  • Urology – treats conditions in the genitourinary system, including the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra.
  • Mammography – imaging to examine the breast for early cancer detection and other diseases.
  • Endoscopy – a medical procedure performed by a doctor who inserts a tube-like instrument into the body to look at specific body parts.
  • Head and Neck Surgery – uses an ultrasound to diagnose thyroid and parathyroid disorders, localization of parathyroid adenomas, and differential diagnosis of thyroid gland disorders.
  • Diagnostic Radiology – uses ultrasound to diagnose unexplained pain, swelling, and infection. It can also help guide a needle during a biopsy and evaluate the body’s blood flow.
  • Cardiovascular Care – evaluates the heart’s performance and the structures of the heart, chambers, and valves.

How Do You Become an Ultrasound Technician?

Attending the Diagnostic Medical Sonography degree program at CBD College is a great way to become an ultrasound technician. Our program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Students who choose accredited healthcare programs ensure they are on the right track to build a successful career. In addition to hands-on training in our state-of-the-art imaging center, you can study online at your convenience. We have dedicated faculty and staff that will help you prepare for a career as an ultrasound technician. CBD College also offers externships to get real-world experience and career services to help graduates with job placement.

Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program 

In as little as 20 months, CBD College’s Diagnostic Medical Sonography (DMS) Associate Degree Program will prepare you for what it takes to be a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer/Ultrasound Technician.

Contact us now to learn more.

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