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What Diagnostic Medical Sonographers do:
A Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (also called Ultrasound Technician/Technologist or Ultrasonographer) uses sonography, or ultrasonography equipment for the diagnosis of various medical conditions. Sonography and ultrasonography use sound waves to generate an image, which can be used in the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions through the body. Ultrasonography is commonly associated with obstetrics, where it is used to monitor growth of the fetus during pregnancy.
The main duties of a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer include:
– Directing high frequency sound waves into areas of the patient’s body
– Operating equipment, which collects reflected echoes
– Taking measurements, calculating values, and analyzing results
– Supplying relevant images to the physician for diagnosis
Diagnostic medical sonographers may specialize in:
– Obstetric and gynecologic sonography (the female reproductive system)
– Abdominal sonography (liver, kidneys, gallbladder, spleen, and pancreas)
– Neurosonography (brain)
– Breast sonography
– Vascular sonography (blood vessels)
– Cardiac sonography (heart)
Qualifications & Education:
Although not mandatory, employers often look for sonographers who are trained in accredited programs. Sonographers can train in universities, hospitals and colleges. A background in science or healthcare is often required to gain entry into these programs. Sonography programs can last from two to four years in duration, and graduates can gain a Bachelor’s Degree or Associate Degree on successful completion of the course. The typical subjects covered on a Sonography Program include: physiology, instrumentation, anatomy, basic physics, medical ethics and patient care.
The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) provides certification and registration for Sonographers. Sonographers registered by the ARDMS are known as Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (RDMS). To become registered with the ARDMS, you need to pass an examination. Registration is available in the following specialities, Obstetric and Neurosonography, Gynecologic Sonography and Abdominal Sonography.
Salary & Job Prospects:
Salaries vary from $40,000 to $70,000 depending on experience, qualifications, position held and location. As sonography is fast becoming a popular alternative to radiologic procedures, the job outlook is excellent. Sonography does not involve radiation, so there are less harmful side effects and complications from repeated use. Most Sonographers work in Hospitals, but due to the increase in outpatient care, job growth will also occur to sonographers working in Physicians offices and diagnostic laboratories outside of hospitals.
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