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Diagnostic Medical Sonographers: Career Opportunities

A Diagnostic Medical Sonographer is qualified to provide diagnostic patient care services using ultrasound and related diagnostic procedures.

He or she takes responsibility to for the operation of sonographic equipment, and for recording and communicating results to the physician.

The diagnostic medical sonographer is responsible for daily operations of the sonographic laboratory, patient schedule, equipment maintenance, the report of equipment failures, and quality assessment.

There are about 42,000 diagnostic medical sonographers in the U.S. Some 60% of the jobs were in hospitals. The rest were mainly in offices of physicians or in medical and diagnostic laboratories.

Sonographers may train in hospitals, vocational-technical institutions, colleges and universities, and the Armed Forces. Some training programs prefer applicants with a background in science or experience in other healthcare professions.

College and university training can be either a 2 or 4-year program, with an associate or a bachelor's degree. Classes include anatomy, physiology, instrumentation, basic physics, patient care and medical ethics. In 2005 there were 132 accredited programs.

While there are no state licenses for diagnostic medical sonography, organizations such as the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) certify the competency of sonographers. Many employers prefer to hire registered sonographers. The ARDMS gives examinations in general physical principles and instrumentation, as well as any specialty. To keep their registration current, sonographers need to keep up with technological advances.

Diagnostic medical sonographers must be able to:

•have good communication and interpersonal skills
•explain technical procedures and results to their patients,
•have relevant skills in mathematics and science,
•keep patient records and adjust and maintain equipment,
•prepare work schedules, evaluate equipment purchases.

Job growth for diagnostic medical sonographers will grow much faster than the average for all occupations through 2014. This is related to a growing and aging population.

How Much Do Diagnostic Medical Sonographers Earn?

Median annual earnings of diagnostic medical sonographers was $52,490 in May 2004. Half earned between $44,720 and $61,360. Salaries generally ranged between $37,800 and $72,230.

A Day in a diagnostic medical sonographer's Life:

On a typical day a diagnostic medical sonographer will:
•use procedures such as x-rays and magnetic resonance imaging,
•explain the procedure to the patient and record any relevant medical history,
•select appropriate equipment settings,
•select which images to show to the physician.
•take measurements, calculate values, and analyze the results in preliminary reports for the physicians.
•examine the fetus of a pregnant woman to track the baby's growth and health.
• inspect the patient to help diagnose and treat various conditions,
•keep patient records and adjust and maintain equipment.
• prepare work schedules, evaluate equipment purchases, or manage a sonography or diagnostic imaging department.

I hope this article gives you a good idea of what is involved in the career of a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer. Health care is the largest industry in the world. In the U.S. about 14 million people work in the health care field. More new wage and salary jobs are in health care than in any other industry. (Some figures from Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

Submitted by:

Mike Clark

Mike Clark is the director of Health Care Hiring (http://www.healthcarehiring.com) an online portal to the health care and medical community. Check out this website to find out more about career & training opportunities, and nationwide employer contact information, in the health care and medical sector.




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