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Phlebotomy, Ultrasound and Radiology

Explore the fields of phlebotomy, ultrasound or radiology as possible career choices in the medical field, which require two years or less of post-graduate education. If you enjoy helping people, are detail-oriented and seek a career path with growth potential and plenty of jobs, this might be your calling.

Jump-start your career by obtaining the required education and certifications in phlebotomy, ultrasound or radiology, all fields that are growing faster than the national average and have job opportunities available across the nation and the world.

Phlebotomists work everywhere there is a need for blood-handling skills. You might work in a hospital, a laboratory, a doctor’s office, a blood bank, a traveling bus, at an emergency scene or even travel to different houses taking samples from homebound patients. Phlebotomists work across the country and the world, even on ships and mobile hospitals.

To become a phlebotomist, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent and complete a training program. The training program includes studies in anatomy, blood collection procedures, proper storage and handling of blood samples and safety precautions. Programs may take as little as four months or up to a year. Licensure requirements vary from state to state.

Ultrasound technicians prepare patients and perform ultrasound procedures using specialty equipment to produce images of structures inside the body. Ultrasound technicians need a two-year associate degree from a school accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Programs. If you currently work in the health care field in a profession such as a registered nurse, you may take a one-year certification course. Once you’ve completed your certification, you should register as a professional ultrasound technician with the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than half of ultrasound technologists work in hospital settings. Doctor’s offices, medical laboratories, diagnostic laboratories, mobile imaging units and veterinary clinics also employ ultrasound technicians.

Radiologic technologists perform diagnostic imaging procedures, such as X-ray examinations, magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, scans and computed tomography, or CT, scans. Two benefits for radiologic technologists include the need for their skills in every health care setting and the opportunity for career advancement as a radiologic assistant.

  • Education and certification: Radiologic technologist programs vary from a two-year hospital-based training, a community college or technical school earning an associate degree, or a four-year program earning a bachelor’s degree. With any program, students must take the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists certification exam. Students are required to have an associate degree before taking the ARRT certification exam. The ARRT certificate is a national credential; many states also require a state license.
  • Specialty areas for radiologic technologists include the following.
    • Radiographers produce 2-D and 3-D images of organs, bones and vessels of the body.
    • Magnetic resonance technologists apply radiofrequency pulses and a powerful magnetic field to create detailed images of anatomy.
    • Nuclear medicine technologists use radiopharmaceuticals and special cameras to produce images of organs and reveal their function.
    • Sonographers use high-frequency sound waves to create images of anatomy.
    • Radiation therapists administer radiation to treat cancer and other diseases.

Employment opportunities

Consider the following Military Spouse Employment Partnership companies and organizations for phlebotomy, ultrasound or radiology technician positions in your location:

Professional organizations and networking

Consider joining a professional organization in your chosen field to gain a better understanding of current industry practices and policies. Professional organizations are great ways to continue your education through workshops and conferences, which will add to your transferable skill set as you move. Networking with other professionals in your industry will give you an edge in meeting the right people who may have the connections you need to obtain an interview at your new location. They may give you more information about the field and suggest other networking contacts, which could lead to job openings.

Read The Value of Professional Associations for more information on how becoming a member can help enhance your career. Joining an association can assist you in forming the network connections you may need to find employment.

Next steps

If you are considering a career in phlebotomy, ultrasound or radiology, review the Research Occupations tool on MySECO. Take the Strong Interest Explorer and Myers-Briggs self-assessments to make sure your skills and interests align with this career path. Investigate whether you are eligible for the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship and use the Scholarship Finder to see if money is available to help fund any classes or certifications you might need. Be sure to view the Spouse Licensure Map for state legislation and licensure information for military spouses in your specific state.

Call 800-342-9647 and speak with a career coach for assistance with choosing a school, finding scholarship funding, searching for a job or overcoming challenges.

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