To become a sonogram technician, one must complete an associate or bachelor's program in sonography. Graduates can pursue professional certification, which is often advantageous for job prospects.
Sonogram technicians are medical staff members who operate imaging technology. This profession is expected to see an increase in the number of jobs in the coming years. Aspiring sonographers may consider entering the career through associate's or bachelor's degree programs.
|Required Education||Associate's degree or bachelor's degree|
|Other Requirements||Professional certification may be required or preferred by employers|
|Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)*||19% for all diagnostic medical sonographers|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$72,510 annually for all diagnostic medical sonographers|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Career Information for Sonogram Technicians
Sonogram technicians, also referred to as diagnostic medical sonographers, are medical professionals who use diagnostic imaging equipment to examine areas of a patient's body. They often work in obstetrics doing ultrasounds on pregnant women, but they also use imaging technology to monitor other medical conditions, such as abdominal and breast diseases. Sonogram technicians typically explain the process to a patient before performing the procedure, observe the images and gather the results for a physician to analyze. These professionals may also keep records and maintain medical equipment.
Sonogram technicians must have good interpersonal skills, especially when working with patients who may be anxious or uncomfortable. They may need to explain a procedure to a patient's parents or spouse. Sonogram technicians need to be able to read images which may not be clear and identify abnormalities that could be serious. Depending on when their services are needed, they may work odd hours on weekends or at night.
Career Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) places sonogram technicians in the same category as diagnostic medical sonographers. The BLS estimates a 19% job growth for all diagnostic medical sonographers in the years 2018 through 2028. This growth is considered to be much faster than the national average for all jobs and may be spurred by new interest in providing outpatient healthcare. In 2018, the BLS reported that the median annual salary for diagnostic medical sonographers was $72,510.
Prospective sonogram technicians can choose from many different training programs, although earning an associate's or bachelor's degree may be the most beneficial. The BLS indicates that 1-year certificate programs are usually for individuals with previous healthcare experience. Degree programs typically offer much more extensive career preparation. Courses may include anatomy, pathology, instrumentation and major areas of sonography, such as abdominal or vascular. Most programs include clinical practicums and allow students to pursue concentrations in the field.
There are certifications available through professional bodies that may increase employment opportunities and career advancement. The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography, the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists and Cardiovascular Credentialing International offer credentials for sonographers and specialists in the field. These organizations may require certified individuals to complete continuing education to maintain certification.
A job as a sonogram technician involves technical and interpretative skills to operate imaging equipment. Additionally, an approved training program must be completed. Program graduates may wish to pursue certification as well, which is usually preferred by employers and sometimes required.