Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

What Does a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Do?
An ultrasound is an imaging method where high-frequency sound waves are emitted through the skin to produce digital pictures of the structures inside a patientís body, according to the National Library of Medicine’s Medline Plus. Diagnostic medical sonographers use the ultrasound equipment to produce images that can help physicians make an accurate diagnosis of a patientís condition. For example, the diagnostic medical sonographer may use the ultrasound equipment to locate and image cancerous tumors, a developing baby, heart activity, or a myriad of other normal and abnormal structures. Aside from operating the equipment, sonographers also have the responsibility of analyzing the images and determining whether further ultrasound readings need to be conducted. They prepare a report of the findings for physicians, record the patient’s medical history, including the incidents that directly led to the ultrasound reading, and maintain the sensitive ultrasound equipment to ensure that it is functioning at full accuracy and efficiency.

What Is the Employment and Salary Outlook for a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer?
The health care industry is one of the strongest industries in the work force today. No matter the political issues at hand or what state the economy is in, there will always be a need for health care professionals due to the complexity of treating the human body. In addition, the unpredictability of illness and the inevitability of aging bolster health careís importance. As the worldís population increases, this importance and demand will only heighten. Sonography in particular is seeing prosperous times, exhibiting significant growth over the past 20 years as medical advancements allow for more ultrasound technology to be utilized, according to the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (SDMS). Employment opportunities for diagnostic medical sonographers are expected to increase 18 percent through 2018, which is faster than the national job growth average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Diagnostic medical sonographers earn an average salary of $61,9801 annually, according to the latest information available from the Bureau.

How Can I Become a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer?
If you are looking to become a diagnostic medical sonographer, you can either obtain an associate degree, bachelorís degree, or vocational certificate in sonography to jumpstart your career in the field. However, a vocational certificate is only recommended for those who are already working in a health care occupation, and a bachelorís degree can take up to four years to earn. An associate degree, which takes two years to earn, is a substantial educational gateway into diagnostic medical sonography. Students in an associate sonography program take courses in physiology, anatomy, equipment use, and other classes that will increase their understanding of medicine and patient interaction. After program completion, students can seek certification from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) or another certifying agency. Although certification is not required for work, most employers prefer to hire those who are certified so it would be in every aspiring sonographerís best interest to seek certification.