Sonographer and Ultrasound Technologist Jobs
Instead of using radiographic tools such as X-rays, ultrasound technologists, also known as sonograph technologists or sonographers, use ultrasonograph imaging technologies to diagnose and treat patients.
Rather than using radiation or radio waves, ultrasonography makes use of sound waves to obtain an image of a patient’s internal organs. Although ultrasound procedures are most frequently associated with obstetrics and the visualization of unborn babies, there are many other uses for this technology.
Job Description: A Day in the Life of an Ultrasound Technologist
More than half of all ultrasound technologists work in hospital environments, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Other employers include doctors’ offices, medical labs, and mobile imaging services. Using sonography equipment, an ultrasound technologist directs high frequency sound waves into an area of the patient’s body, collecting the reflecting echoes in order to create an image. This image is then photographed and/or videotaped and passed on to a doctor for diagnosis.
While conducting the ultrasound, the technologist can view the procedure on a screen in order to determine if the visual image is satisfactory and make adjustments for a better image if necessary. Ultrasound technologists usually make a preliminary analysis based on their findings before passing this information along to the patient’s doctor
General Requirements and Training
The requirements to become an ultrasound technologist vary between States. Most employers prefer individuals who have completed an accredited training program at a hospital, vocational-technical institute, college or university. Many colleges and universities offer two or four-year training programs which award an associates or bachelor’s degree. These programs include course work in basic health sciences, such as anatomy and physiology, as well as specific training in ultrasound instrument use. Ultrasound technologists may undergo additional training in order to specialize in a field such as abdominal sonography (the abdominal cavity including kidneys, liver, pancreas, and spleen) or obstetric ad gynecologic sonography (the female reproductive system).
Salary, Benefits, and Opportunities for Advancement
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median earnings of diagnostic medical sonographers is approximately $62,000 per year. Salary.com reports the mid-50% earnings range of ultrasound technologists to be $57,755 to $68,682.
According to Payscale.com, a ultrasound technologist with one to four years of experience earns an average of $20.21 to $27.78 hourly, while a ultrasound technologist with twenty or more years of experience earns an average of $28.28 to $36.02.