Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

“Image is everything” is a true statement if you are a sonographer. A diagnostic medical sonographer uses medical imaging equipment in diagnosing and assessing the progress of various medical conditions. A sonogram, also known as an ultrasound, or echocardiogram, is the image produced by sound waves directed by the imaging equipment.

Aspects of this interesting idea were noted in early recorded history as far back as 480b.c.and research has continued throughout history. The first transducer, the hydrophone, was developed in 1912 by French physicist Paul Langevin. Late in the 1930’s and Austrian psychiatrist names Dr. Karl Dussik was the first to use “hyperphonography”, using heat sensitive paper to record echoes in the brain. This was the beginning of ultrasound imaging and through research and technology, the advancement of sonography has abounded.

Salary Expectations

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The field of medical sonography is one of the fastest growing occupations with an expected growth rate of over 40% between 2010 and 2020 due to the expected needs of an aging population as well as the increase in technology and availability.

The salary range for a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer is from $44,000 - $88,000 per year with a median income in the range of about $64,000. Salary will depend on a number of factors including; location, experience, specialty, education, day and shift differential, and various other factors. At www.indeed.com/salary, you can find specific information by using The Salary Comparison and Salary Calculator to evaluate the average salary for specific variables of your choosing.

Find current job opportunities for Diagnostic Medical Sonographer by visiting ​www.indeed.com.

Nature of the Work

Chiropractor Performing an Ultrasound on a Patient’s Shoulder
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Diagnostic Medical Sonographers use special medical imaging equipment to diagnose medical conditions or assess the progression of conditions. This is a specialized field of medicine that will continue to grow as technology, research, and medical demands increase.

The sonographer uses an instrument, the ultrasound transducer, to direct sound waves into a patient’s body. These sound waves are used by the equipment to produce images which the sonographer will assess and use to create ​a preliminary report for the physician.

The Diagnostic Medical Sonographer will work indoors at a hospital, clinic, physician’s office, or diagnostic center. The hours will depend on the facility, but a 40 hour week is common with the possibility of shift work or weekend and holiday hours as well.

Duties of a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

  • Assisting patients
  • Positioning patients in order to provide the best possible images
  • Answering patient’s questions or explaining procedures
  • Applying a gel medium used in imaging
  • Operating and maintaining imaging equipment
  • Evaluating images and creating report for physician
  • Recognizing abnormalities or anomalies in images
  • Keeping detailed records and patient charting

Position Requirements

Most states require licensure for medical professionals. In order to become licensed as a Diagnostic Medical Sonography or Sonography Technician, you will have to complete an accredited Medical Sonography certification course or an associate’s degree majoring in Medical Sonography.

Additionally, many sonographers specialize in a specific field such as:

  • Cardiovascular or Vascular sonography which assists in identifying diseases or other problems with the heart, arteries, or veins
  • Gynecologic and Obstetric sonography which is used in imaging of female reproductive organs, as well as monitoring the growth and health of a fetus
  • Musculoskeletal sonographer which specializes in the imaging of joints, tendons, muscles, and ligaments
  • Breast sonographers use imaging to detect and track diseases such as cancers in breast tissue
  • Neurosonography is a specialty field of imaging that is used in imaging a patient’s nervous system
  • Abdominal sonographers use imaging to diagnose problems in a patient’s abdominal cavity and adjacent organs such as the liver, pancreas, and spleen

Working in the Medical Office

Qualities and Characteristics of a Medical Sonographer

  • Stamina
  • Physical ability and manual dexterity
  • Ability to understand and use technology
  • Effective communication skills
  • Detail oriented
  • Desire to learn as continuing education will be required for this profession

A Must Read

One area that promises positive results in your strengthening efforts is cross-training staff. Cross-training is the most valuable training tool that an employer can offer for the benefit of the entire organization.

Continuity of service is an example of one of the benefits cross-training your staff can offer. The quality of care your patients receive should not be less than excellent due to 1 or 2 absent employees.

Cross-training also improves morale. Employees feel they are a valuable asset to the organization when they are given the opportunity to expand their skills or knowledge.

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