UGC certifies two types of technicians: 1) field technicians who collect ultrasound images on live animals, and 2) lab technicians who intepret ultrasound images using UGC-certified software. Certifications for both types of technicians are for a period of two years.
Cattle breeders who wish to collect ultrasound data on their cattle should be familiar with the rules and protocols established by their breed association. Once familiar with the guidelines for their breed association, breeders can then contact a UGC-certified field technician to scan his or her cattle. After scanning the cattle, the field technician will submit the images to a UGC-accredited lab where a UGC-certified lab technician will interpret the images. The lab will then transmit the data to the breed association.
Due to differences in equipment and software, not all field technicians can submit images to all labs. If breeders have a specific lab that they want to work with, they need to verify that the field technician has the ability to send images to their lab of choice.
UGC certification serves to identify professionals who are skilled in collecting high-quality ultrasound images on live animals under field conditions. Important components of gaining and maintaining certification are:
Certification as a UGC Field Technician is linked to specific types of equipment. Equipment may be purchased from a variety of vendors, including all UGC-accredited labs. Persons considering purchasing ultrasound equipment are encouraged to check with UGC-accredited labs for advice.
Training and experience in the operation and maintenance of ultrasound equipment are critical to obtaining high-quality images, and to gaining UGC certification. Each of the UGC-accredited labs offers professional training.
To become UGC-certified ultrasound technicians must pass proficiency testing (often referred to as UGC Field Certification). UGC Field Certification Programs are usually hosted by UGC labs or by universities and include:
A written exam
Collecting ultrasound images of the rump, rib, and intramuscular fat (IMF) on twenty animals that vary in age, gender, weight, and condition. Technicians collect images on each animal two times.
UGC Reference Field Technicians collect images on the same animals. All images collected are interpreted by UGC reference lab technicians to yield estimates of ribeye area, rib fat depth, rump fat depth, and percent IMF. Images are also scored for image quality. Data from the Reference Field Technicians are used as the standards for each trait. Technicians are evaluated based on several statistics, including:
Like most professional organizations, members are expected to continue learning in order to best serve their customers. The UGC Board of directors is responsible for providing continuing education opportunities for UGC Field Technicians. Click here to read an outline of the continuing education program. See the News for Techs page for information on upcoming educational events.
All UGC Field Technician certifications are for two-year terms. From the date that certification is granted by UGC, the certification expires on December 31 of the year two years after that date. For example, if a technician earns certification on June 30, 2012, the term of that certification expires on December 31, 2014. Certified technicians who have submitted images on at least 3,000 cattle may be re-certified in absentia (i.e., without proficiency testing) by meeting each of the following requirements:
Scanning at least 250 cattle per year through UGC-accredited labs.
Meeting the UGC continuing education requirements.
Maintaining a high standard of image quality.
For more information on re-certification in absentia click on the following links: