Diagnostic medical sonography is the fancy name commonly given to the diagnostic practice of using ultrasound machines to view what is going on with a patient. The equipment uses sound waves to produce images of the internal organs that is either minimally invasive or noninvasive. The waves are then translated to images and displayed on a screen so that doctors are able to make the necessary diagnosis.
Education Process for Diagnostic Medical Sonography Programs
For those who want to work as a diagnostic medical sonographer, it is necessary to enroll in one of the diagnostic medical sonography programs around the country. This has become a popular career path as it does not require a significant amount of education. The typical education consists of an associate’s degree, though there are also certificates and bachelor’s degrees available as well.
The time it takes to go through one of the diagnostic medical sonography programs will depend upon the program itself. For certificate programs, it generally takes 12 months to complete. For associate degrees, two years is required and for bachelor’s degrees, four years is generally required. Generally, students will get their education at a technical school or community college – with the exception of bachelor’s degrees, which are offered by universities.
Regardless of the length of time it takes, there are some basic things that everyone is taught. This includes human anatomy, physiology, as well as instrumentation. A sonograph can be taken of the breast, the abdomen, reproductive organs, the brain, and many other organs. As such, students will need to understand how to read the images that are produced in order to be able to identify abnormalities to report to the doctor.
Instrumentation is a large part of the training process. Because of this, students will get hands-on learning within their program. This includes learning on a variety of different types of sonography and ultrasound machines as well as performing clinical rotations where they will work within an actual medical facility alongside a sonographer.
What Can Be Done After Diagnostic Medical Sonography Programs
There are a lot of things that can be done after completing one of the many diagnostic medical sonography programs around the country. The most obvious choice for individuals is to become a sonographer/ultrasound technician. They will be responsible for working with a doctor or group of doctors to perform the necessary tests.
Hospitals, clinics, and private practices are all places where a sonographer/ultrasound technician can work. Much of it has to do with how much education a person has. Those with higher levels of education may be able to work in hospitals because of having the diversified knowledge to work with an array of doctors. Otherwise, individuals with certificates and associates degrees are likely going to work with one type of specialist, such as a cardiologist or an OBGN.
The average salary for a diagnostic medical sonographer, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is $64,380 a year. This can vary based upon geographic location as well as other factors including education and experience, though it is a benchmark to go on.
Career Outlook for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers
The career outlook is high for diagnostic medical sonographers. Due to the technology currently available in ultrasound equipment, more doctors are using the machines in order to effectively diagnose patients. This technology is making the equipment more affordable, which means that more doctors are able to use the equipment within their own practices – and thus creating a need for sonographers to operate the equipment.
The growth is continuing for the next 10 years – at a rate of 44 percent as estimated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This shows that diagnostic medical sonography programs can lead to a successful and stable career.