Program Overview

Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ultrasound) is a medical technology using highly sophisticated, computer driven imaging devices to produce dynamic multi-dimensional visual images of organs, tissue and blood flow. As a radiation-free medical imaging modality, it provides important clinical information for the diagnosis and treatment of patients.

Role of Sonographers

Sonographers are part of a medical team, which includes physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals who provide essential clinical information that is used to plan treatment and care for patients. There are several areas of specialization in the field of sonography which include obstetrics/gynecology, abdomen, echocardiography, breast and pediatric sonography. This technically challenging, patient focused field demands that sonographers demonstrate a high level of decision making, diagnostic responsibility and critical thinking skills. Sonographers have extensive direct patient contact which includes performing invasive procedures. They are expected to be both technically competent and compassionate while effectively dealing with patients who may range from very healthy to critically ill.

Ultrasound technicians, also known as diagnostic medical sonographers, are responsible for operating equipment that produce and record images or conduct tests. These images are then used by physicians to make a diagnosis.

Most people are familiar with the role of an ultrasound technician as it relates to pregnancy, but sonograms are also used to examine breast tissue, brain and spinal cord and muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints and organs in the abdominal cavity.

Like other allied health careers, specialization is a possibility with sonography. Cardiac sonographers produce imaging of a patients heart, heart chambers, valves and vessels. A vascular sonographer is similar to a cardiac sonographer, but they focus primarily on blood vessels and blood flow.

An ultrasound technicians job requires more than just producing an image. You will interact with patients by preparing them for the procedure. You will also need a keen eye; ultrasound technicians must be able to recognize normal and abnormal images. Analyzing diagnostic information and providing it to the physician is a regular job task.

Ultrasound technicians work primarily in hospitals, physicians offices and laboratories, but before you can get there, you will need to earn an ultrasound technician education.

Career Outlook

Although hospitals are the biggest employers of diagnostic medical sonographers. Employment should grow rapidly in physician’s offices, radiology centers and diagnostic laboratories.

Employment of diagnostic medical sonographers is projected to grow 23 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. ... As the large baby-boom population ages, the need to diagnose medical conditions—such as blood clots and heart disease—will likely increase.