Diagnostic medical sonographers essential career information:
- 2011 median pay: $65,860
- 2011, number of jobs: 57,700
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 44 percent
- Entry level education requirements: Associate’s degree
Diagnostic medical sonographers; what they do:
Diagnostic medical sonographers assess a variety of medical conditions after performing an ultrasound, sonogram, or echocardiogram. Diagnostic medical sonographers utilize imaging equipment that directs sound waves into a patient’s body.
The role of diagnostic medical sonographers is very important, as they must not only be able to answer patient’s questions, helping them understand the procedure and results, but they must also accurately operate and maintain the imaging equipment and recognize the difference between normal and abnormal images while conducting an ultrasound, sonogram, or echocardiogram.
A diagnostic medical sonography career includes recording all findings in the patients’ records and sharing any preliminary findings with physicians
Diagnostic medical sonographers specialize in the following: abdominal sonographer, breast sonographer, musculoskeletal sonographer, neurosonographer and obstetric and gynecologic sonographer.
The diagnostic medical sonography field also includes vascular sonograpny and cardiac sonography. Cardiovascular technologists and vascular technologists also use sonography when assisting doctors in diagnosing issues with patient’s heart, arteries and veins.
Diagnostic medical sonographers job titles:
- Medical Diagnostic Sonographer
- Sonogram Technician
- Cardiac Sonographer
- Ultrasound Technologist
- Ultrasound Technician
- Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS)
- Echo Tech (Echocardiographic Technician)
- Cardiac/Vascular Sonographer
- Vascular Technician
- Vascular Technologist
- Vascular Interventional Technologist
- Cardiology Technologist
- Invasive Cardiovascular Technologist
- Vascular Sonographers
- Cardiovascular Technician
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers Education, Certification and License Requirements
Individuals seeking a diagnostic medical sonographer career typically need an Associate of Sonography or a postsecondary certificate from an accredited institute or hospital program. Colleges offer an Associate in Sonography degree and a Bachelor in Sonography degree. Some colleges offer an Associate in Cardiovascular Sonography degree program or an Associate in Diagnostic Medical Sonography degree program.
Individuals already involved in the healthcare field can obtain a one-year certificate. Some sonographers obtain a degree in radiologic technology or nursing, then receiving on–the-job training.
Diagnostic medical sonographers programs cover subjects such as:
- Cross-sectional anatomy
- Patient care in sonography
- Imaging principles
- Vascular techniques
- Medical terminology
- Abdominal sonography
Many employers prefer or even require a professional certification. Certification involves graduating from an accredited program and passing an exam related to the specialty the diagnostic medial sonographer is most interested in. Diagnostic medical sonographers must also take continuing education courses to keep their certification up-to-date.
Some states also require licensure for diagnostic medical sonographers. Requirements for licensure vary by state.
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers Job Outlook
Forecast: 44 percent employment growth from 2010 to 2020 for diagnostic medical sonographers, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.
The use of ultrasound imaging technology continues to increase as it evolves and proves a good alternative to more expensive alternatives or to exposing patients to radiation. As outpatient care grows, due to encouragement from insurance companies, diagnostic medical sonographers find more job opportunities in physicians’ offices, rather than primarily in the hospitals.
Also, the aging baby boomer generation increases the demand for medical diagnostic sonographers.
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers Salary
- 2011 median annual wage: $65,860
- 2011, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $76,890
- 2011, workers at the 25% percentile annual wage: $54,260
- Offices of physicians
- Medical and diagnostic laboratories
- Outpatient care centers