Diagnostic Medical Sonographer - Contact Weber State and/or Salt Lake Community College for information on a sonography program. The University of Utah does NOT offer a sonography program. The information offerred below is in regards to the sonography career in general.
Diagnostic Medical Sonography
Sonography is a diagnostic medical procedure that can be used to examine many parts of the body, such as the abdomen, breasts, female reproductive system, prostate, heart, and blood vessels. Sonography is increasingly being used in the detection and treatment of heart disease, heart attack, and vascular disease that can lead to stroke. A transducer transmits high frequency sound waves and then records the echoes as they bounce off human tissues. A computer translates the echoes into dynamic visual images of organs, tissues or blood flow inside the body.
Responsibilities of a Sonographer
Sonographers use sound waves to obtain images of organs and tissues in the body. During an ultrasound examination, the sonographer places a transducer in contact with the patient's body. It emits high-frequency sound waves that pass through the body, sending back "echoes" as they bounce off organs and tissues. Special computer equipment converts those echoes into visual data.
Sonography takes good eye-hand coordination. Sonographers are typically moving the transducer on some part of the patient's body and reading the monitor at the same time. Eye development is a skill that takes some time to develop.
Sonographers are responsible for performing diagnostic procedures and obtaining diagnostic images. They must analyze the technical information and use independent judgment to decide if the scope of the procedure should be expanded based on their diagnostic findings. They record and report their findings to a physician.
How do I become a Sonographer?
Accredited educational programs Length. Accredited programs are between 1 and 4 years (certificate, associate, and baccalaureate level), depending on program design, objectives, and the degree or certificate awarded.
Prerequisites. Applicants to a 1-year program must possess qualifications in a clinically related allied health profession. Applicants to 2-year programs must be high school graduates (or equivalent) with an educational background in basic science, general physics, and algebra. All applicants must generally demonstrate satisfactory completion of the following courses at college level: general physics, biological science, algebra, and communication skills. Potential and practicing sonographers should exhibit skills to include; social perceptiveness, learning strategies, critical thinking skills, instructional skills, active listening, active learning, reading comprehension, and written/oral expression.
Curricula of accredited programs include physical sciences, applied biological sciences, patient care, clinical medicine, applications of ultrasound, instrumentation, related diagnostic procedures, and image evaluation. A plan for well-structured, competency-based clinical education is an essential part of the curriculum of all sonography programs. The University does not offer a program in sonography, however they are an academic partner with Weber State University with their sonography program.
The field offers a wide variety of specialties including abdominal, obstetric-gynecology, echocardiography, pediatric echocardiography, neurosonography, peripheral vascular Doppler and ophthalmology. Salaries vary across the country, but an average starting salary is about $20 to $22 an hour. Experienced sonographers who specialize can make $60,000 to $70,000 a year. A recent study showed that 42 percent of hospitals across the country need sonographers.
Diagnostic medical sonographers may be employed in hospitals, clinics, private offices, and industry. Most full-time sonographers work about 40 hours a week; they may have evening weekend hours and times when they are on call and must be ready to report to work on short notice.
Comments from Author
Sonography is a very popular, high respected field. Many radiographers specialize in sonography after they complete their RT and other students go directly into sonography programs. It is a field to consider.
Links for further Information
American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers
51 Monroe St, Plaza East Ore Rockville, MD 20852
The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists®
1255 Northland Drive St. Paul, Minnesota 55120-1155 USA
Phone (651) 687-0048
Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography
2745 Dallas Pkwy/Ste 350 Plano, TX 75093-4706
(214) 473-8057 (214) 473-8563 Fax
Society for Vascular Ultrasound
4601 Presidents Dr, Ste 260 Lanham, MD 20706-4365
(301) 459-7550 or (800) SVT- VEIN (301) 459-5651 Fax
American Institute of Ultrasound Medicine
14750 Sweitzer Lane, Suite 100 Laurel, MD 20707-5906
American Society of Echocardiography
1500 Sunday Drive, Suite 102 Raleigh, NC 27607