This is a review of what it takes to become a Sonography Technician, career opportunities, and diagnostic medical sonographer salary. If you are looking at starting and building a career as a sonographer, then this article is for you.
In this blog post, you will be guided on the step by step process of becoming a professional sonography technician.
Who is a Sonography Technician?
A sonography technician is someone who uses machines producing high-frequency ultrasound waves to produce an image. Ultrasound is used in producing dynamic images of organs, tissues, or monitoring blood flow within the body.
As a sonographer, you will be trained in used special machines built to produce ultrasound waves to get accurate images of patients. The patients you might come in contact with might not really know what is going on within their bodies and it is up to you to diagnose them using an ultrasound machine.
A Sonography Technician, ultrasound technician, and ultrasound technologist are used to describe those trained in the allied health professions. These terms are very interchangeable.
Sonographers make use of ultrasound machines.
Ultrasound machines are medical equipment used in diagnosis. It uses the ultrasound wave to produce a clean-cut image of a person’s internal organs, joints, blood vessels, etc.
What does an Ultrasound/ Sonography Technician do?
Knowing this is essential for you because you get to know what is involved in the career of a Sonography Technician. Here are a couple of things that a Sonographer does:
- They work closely with other healthcare professionals, such as doctors and radiologists
- As an ultrasound technician, you will help prepare patients for ultrasound procedures
- A sonographer presents this diagnosis as to medical findings to the medical team. An example of this is seen when a sonographer gives the images from the sonography machine to the medical doctor before he/ she goes in to operate on a patient.
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How much does a Sonographer Make?
Aside from having a passion for being a sonography technician, your salary can also be a drive-in your career. The salaries of many sonographers vary, but from research, the median salary is $74,320 per year.
In the data provided above, the least sonographers in the U.S made $52,770 per year while the top sonographers made $100,000 per year.
The information above was gotten from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics 2019 data. A diagnostic medical sonographer is most times ranked as one of the top-paying jobs without having a four (4) year degree.
Geographical location plays a major role in salary earning and that is why those in India earn differently from those in the U.S. In the USA areas such as Hawaii, Alaska, California, the District of Columbia, and Washington pay higher salaries.
How do I become a Sonography Technician?
Developing yourself to become a sonography technician requires hard work and dedication. Let me take you down the career path with multiple options.
Firstly, acquiring a bachelor’s degree is essential. Your bachelor’s degree should be with a focus specialization in diagnostic medical sonography. Here you are trained to be a practicing sonographer. Make sure that your chosen program is accredited through CAAHEP, ARDMS, or CCI organization.
Acquiring your bachelor’s degree will take 4 years. So buckle up and push through.
Secondly, You need to move towards acquiring an associate degree. Your associate degree should have a focus specialization in diagnostic medical sonography. This is essential because it places you as a good candidate for multiple employers.
This part usually takes 2 years to be completed.
Lastly, there are Certification programs that last for a year where students are trained entry-level sonography positions. This program is normally designed for those with higher education and professionals.
Institutions that offer sonography programs
Some of the institutions where you can acquire your sonography degree in the U.S.A are:
- Platt College
- Keiser University
- South College
- American Institute- Diagnostic Medical Sonography
- Mildred Elley
To function as a full sonography technician requires that you be knowledgeable of the education requirements. The minimum education required of you to practice sonography is an Associates Degree (AA) in diagnostic medical sonography. This is a minimum requirement needed in the USA.
What Specializations are available for a Sonography Technician?
Specializations are fields in your career path that when you specify in it, you can be sought after for it. Some of the available specializations are:
- Obstetric and Gynecologic Sonography
- Cardiovascular and Vascular Technologists
- Breast Sonography
- Abdominal Sonography
- Musculoskeletal Sonography
*If you specialize in breast sonography, you will most times work hand in hand with doctors that operate on patients with breast cancer.
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Your undivided attention is needed at this point. The skills required of you is what makes it easier for you to study the course and develop a career in it.
The skills required from you as a sonographer is divided into two parts, known as the hard and soft skills. Below are the listed skills:
- Hand-eye coordination
- Ability to lift, push, pull over 50 lbs
- Dexterity to operate equipment
- Knowledge of anatomy/physiology
- Understanding of pathophysiology
- Compassion and empathy
- Staying calm under pressure
- Listening and communication skills
- Ethical conduct
- Independent work ethic
- Ability to function as part of a team
Licensing Certification and Requirements
Understanding this can be very beneficial to you because you can acquire the needed requirements needed for employment. Most employers in the USA require you to have an American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) certification before employment.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the difference between ultrasound and sonography?
A: Although there aren’t many differences, there is a distinctive difference between the two. An ultrasound is a medical tool used to create a dynamic image while sonography is using an ultrasound tool for diagnostic purposes.
Q: Can I eat before a sonogram test?
A: You are advised not to eat before your sonogram test. Most times you should not eat 90 minutes before an exam, then consume an 8-ounce glass of fluid (water, milk, or coffee).
Q: Is it hard to be a sonographer?
A: This seems to be a hot question in the mind of many. The truth is the work of a sonographer is difficult but worth every penny. The reason for this is because the work requires technicalities and thereby only a few can perform such work.
- The U.S Bureau of Statistics: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292032.htm#ind
- Ultrasound school https://www.ultrasoundschoolsinfo.com/ultrasound-technician/
Valentine Nnanyere is the founder and lead instructor at Jobreaders.org, an e-Learning community that focuses on technology, profitable skills, and high-quality knowledge sharing. Nnanyere is a digital marketing consultant, website/software developer, and new media advertiser with an undiluted interest in spreading high-income knowledge and career opportunities. For business, inquiries, support and partnership, kindly mail [email protected]