Why become an ultrasound technologist?
Ultrasound is a highly respected field which involves the use of ultrasonic waves for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes, specifically to image an internal body structure, monitor a developing fetus, or generate localized deep heat to the tissues.
Regardless of how respected a field is though, at the end of the day you want a career that pays well. Ultrasound technologists in the Toronto area make between $40,898 and $76,546 So it is also a well paying field!
What do I need to do to become an ultrasound technologist?
You need to become certified. The most widely recognized certification for ultrasound technologists in Canada is certification from the The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). Once you have this certification you can start working as an ultrasound technologist all over Canada and the United States.
How do I get certified as an ultrasound technologist?
To get certified, you need to pass the ARDMS exam. However, to be eligible for writing the ARDMS exam you need to fulfill a few prerequisites. These can be found at the prerequisites page on the ARDMS website. To meet these prerequisites you can choose to go to an ultrasound school if your grades are really high and you have the money. You can expect to pay around $5000/year and get certified in 2-3 years.
What are the best ultrasound schools in Ontario?
Even though ultrasound is a growing field in Ontario as well as all of Canada, there are only a couple of ultrasound schools in Ontario. The ones that are most popular are Michener Institute and Mohawk College.
Both these places have ultrasound programs but the major problem is that it is extremely difficult to get admission into these schools. They have long waiting lists of people from years ago who have applied for admission. They also have strict prerequisites. For example, Michener Institute only accepts students who have a BSc or BA in kinesiology or a degree or diploma in a health profession.
So although these ultrasound schools are highly respected and produce great ultrasound technologists, what good is a school if you cannot get admission into it? There is also another way to get certified with as little as $3000 in total investment and in less than 2 years time… read on for details.
What other options do I have to get certified?
If you look closely at the The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) prerequisites for getting certified as an ultrasound technologist, you will notice that nowhere does it state that you need to go to a certified ultrasound technologist program like the ones offered by Michener and Mohawk. Here is a link to the prerequisites page just to confirm this.
If you take a close look at prerequisite 3A, you’ll notice that the requirements for becoming certified as an ultrasound technologist include a bachelor’s degree in any major, 12 months of clinical ultrasound/vascular experience along with some documentation.
All these requirements can be completed without the need to go to one of these ultrasound schools!
How? Just learn from an ultrasound instructor who is ARDMS certified and has experience teaching ultrasound. The one that I personally recommend is Dr. Khadija Siddiqui at Mainz Ultrasound in Mississauga. She has taught over 1700 students who are practicing ultrasound worldwide and is an awesome instructor. If you go to her website you can see in detail how she can help you fulfill each prerequisite.
UPDATE: Mainz Ultrasound has recently changed their prerequisites to only accept students who already have some ultrasound background.
Moreover she has small personalized classes and provides you with hands-on training during your course of study. The courses are offered both on weekdays and weekends depending on your schedule and there are no difficult prerequisites for admission.
She prepares you for the ARDMS license exam, as well as teaches you the skills you need to start working and complete your 12 months of clinical/vascular experience at a clinic or hospital. Clinics and hospitals are eagerly looking for these “trainee ultrasound technologists” because they usually bring with them fresh skills and get paid only about half as much as certified ultrasound technologists during their training period.
After completing your study with her, you can write the ARDMS exam and get certified as an ultrasound technologist within 1-2 years.
I hope this information has been helpful. Best of luck in your career.