Career Choice: Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

Career Choice: Diagnostic Medical Sonographers
  • Type: Career Type
  • Opening Intro -

    Detecting illnesses is not something doctors do alone.

    Other medical professionals play a part, by examining patients with a variety of tools.

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Sonongraphy (ultrasound technology) makes it possible for previously hard to find or undetectable medical conditions to be found and identified, often without invasive surgery. Diagnostic medical monographers are professionals that are making a difference, professionals who are in great demand too.

Duties

Diagnostic medical sonographers provide physicians with an oral or written summary of their technical findings, an important part of the medical diagnosis process. These medical professionals take multiple pictures and will choose which photographs to include with their reports.

Sonographers operate complex medical equipment, ensuring that the correct photos are taken to help physicians. They help patients prepare for an exam through preparation and education. While the exam is in progress, these technicians will monitor patient safety and comfort. Technicians also take the patient’s medical history to determine the range of examination required. Sonographers maintain patient records and include related correspondence and reports with these records.

Education

Students seeking to pursue training as a diagnostic medical sonographer have a variety of educational opportunities available to them. Both associate and bachelor level training is offered and a one-year program for current healthcare professionals is also available.

Required courses include anatomy, diagnosic sonography, ultrasound imaging, vascular imaging and a clinical practicum. Additional courses in echocardiography, neurosonography and ultrasound anatomy may be required. Students that graduate from an accredited program and pass a required exam are then certified. Most employers prefer to hire certified sonographers.

Salaries

The average salary for diagnostic medical monographers was $65,860 per year as of 2013 reports the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those in the 10th percentile earned $45,000 per year on average while those in the 25th percentile made $54,300 per year on average. The median wage came in at $65,900. Those categorized in the 75th percentile averaged $76,900 per year, while professionals in the 90th percentile averaged $91,100 annually.

The top annual wage among states had California placing first at $84,100 per year in 2012 according to the BLS. Oregon was second at $82,600 followed by Washington at $80,500, Massachusetts at $79,900 and Alaska at $77,800. At the bottom, Alabama reported average wages of $49,000 per year followed by South Dakota at $53,400, West Virginia at $53,800, Mississippi at $54,000 and Louisiana coming in at $55,600 per year.

Job Outlook

If you are looking for a field to enter with the promise of ample job opportunities going forward, then medical arts may be right for you. The BLS has forecast a 44 percent rise in employment for diagnostic medical sonographers from 2010 to 2020, compared to 14 percent for all jobs.

As ultrasound technology improves, that will make it possible for medical professionals to examine patients apart from risky and costly surgery. Most sonographers work for hospitals but as the health care industry changes, more procedures will be done outside of hospitals. Thus, job opportunities in clinics and doctor’s offices may increase as well.

References

O*NET Online: Summary Report for: 29-2032.00 – Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

US Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Diagnostic Medical Sonographers


See AlsoFastest Growing Occupations, College Degree or Not

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