Diagnostic Medical Sonographers are considered to be a part of the Investigative career’s category according to the Strong Interest Inventory® and its associated assessment. This tool was first published in 1927 and has been refined over the better part of a century. Today, it is a common tool to help job seekers gain valuable insights into their vocational interests and to apply those insights to find satisfying, enjoyable careers. Investigative careers tend to appeal to people who enjoy analyzing, researching, or investigating real-world situations as well as finding practical solutions to real-world problems. These careers often involve specializations in mathematics, the sciences, economics and other technical fields.

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers make recordings of internal organs that doctors can use to make diagnoses. These recordings may include the motion, shape and composition of blood, organs, tissues or bodily masses, including fluid accumulations and any scar or unusually formed tissue. As they prepare for the scan, these professionals need to verify that their equipment is functioning properly and is properly calibrated, as well as obtain an accurate patient history.

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Salary

Read about a career as a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer including information such as a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Salary, daily tasks and other career information.

They also need to prepare the patient for the exam physically (e.g., by scrubbing skin, applying gel, positioning the patient properly, offering them appropriate protective equipment, etc.) and mentally (e.g., by explaining the procedure and telling them what to expect). During the scan itself, they need to carefully observe the screen and make adjustments as needed to ensure that a satisfactory image is captured. At the same time, they need to position the patient in the best way to capture the right body parts in the right orientation, as well as make sure that patients are as safe and comfortable as possible. Once the test is complete, Diagnostic Medical Sonographers provide the sonogram itself as well as a written and oral summary to the primary physician to inform their diagnoses.

When they are not performing scans, Diagnostic Medical Sonographers are responsible for maintaining records, including patient information, sonographs, interpretations and diagnoses, as well as performing clerical duties, like keeping quality assurance records and postoperative reports, scheduling exams or special procedures, ordering and maintaining stock of medical supplies, or archiving computerized images. They are also responsible for cleaning and maintaining sonographic equipment, putting in maintenance requests and sometimes even performing minor repairs themselves. Finally, Diagnostic Medical Sonographers work closely with physicians and other healthcare team members and may need to negotiate or plan schedules, communicate salient findings or accomplish other joint tasks.

With the exception of MediTech Medical Software, most software used by Diagnostic Medical Sonographers is standard office software (e.g., Microsoft Office Suite, web browsers, email, etc.) However, they use a wide range of medical tools, including standard tools like blood pressure cuff kits, hypodermic needles, intravenous IV supplies, lancets, safety glasses, vacuum blood collection tubes, tourniquets, and hazardous material protective apparel. In addition, they use doppler or echo monitors and printers, including components that can create 3-D images.

Most Diagnostic Medical Sonographers have either an associate’s degree (47%) or a bachelor’s degree (17%). In their formal education, they develop familiarity with medicine and dentistry as well as computers and electronics. Their employer will often train them in customer and personal service and their clerical responsibilities. Being fluent in English is also important.

The median Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Salary in the United States is $72,510, though there is some variation from state to state. The highest medians are over $85,000 and can be found in the western states of Washington, Oregon, California, and Arizona. On the other hand, the lowest medians are under $68,000 and are in West Virginia, Alabama, and Louisiana. The employment rates for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers are rising rapidly—a growth rate of over 20% is expected in the next decade. Florida and Texas are both projected to grow more than 30%, while California and New York are expected to grow more than 25%. These four states alone are projected to add nearly 2,000 jobs per year in the next decade.

Below are some employment trends for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers:

  • Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Salary: $34.86 hourly, $72,510 annually
  • Employment: 73,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2018-2028): Much faster than average (11% or higher)
  • Projected job openings (2018-2028): 5,800
[Information retrieved from Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2018-2028 employment projections]

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  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2018-2028 employment projections Onetonline.org