A sonogram technician is a healthcare professional who uses medical equipment to diagnose ailments. The medical equipment creates sound waves to capture images within the human body. The images are used to diagnose heart disease and other health related issues. Once an exam has been performed, the technician must analyze the ultrasound data. In addition to interpreting diagnostic images, a sonogram technician must keep detailed records. Their job allows physicians to see inside of a body without using an X-ray.
The sonogram technician can examine various parts of the human body. The most common structures include the heart, abdomen and blood vessels. When an image is captured, it can be used to assist a tissue biopsy. There are certain techniques that are required for different parts of the body. Therefore, most sonogram technicians choose an area of specialization. For instance, some technicians specialize in the neurology field. With this area of expertise, they diagnose problems that occur in the nervous system.
In order to work as a sonogram technician, candidates must be good communicators. Along with that, they also need to have compassion. Since the technicians must interact one-on-one with patients, interpersonal skills are essential. Besides that, sonogram technicians must be able to work independently. They have to convey technical procedures to their patients. As a result, communication skills are vital. The best candidates are people who can converse well with others, but can also work on their own.
There are a number of ways that a person can become a sonogram technician. For example, students can train with a hospital, community college or a vocational institution. People can even train for the job though the military. A training program can take anywhere from one to four years. However, a two-year program is the most common length. During a sonogram program, students take coursework in anatomy, physics and physiology. Along with that, they also take courses in medical ethics and patient care.
The job outlook for a sonogram technician is extremely good. The medical field is rapidly growing. As a result, sonographers should have an easy time finding employment. In fact, there are employment opportunities in both rural and urban settings. Physicians are trying to minimize the use of harmful radiology procedures. For that reason, the field of sonography is expected to grow more than the average. Qualified sonogram technicians should be in high demand for many years to come.
A sonogram technician, also referred to as a diagnostic medical sonographer, is an imaging specialist who is trained to operate sophisticated ultrasound equipment to obtain images of the patient’s interior body parts. These images are then interpreted by a trained physician who uses them to make diagnoses and to recommend treatment.
Some sonogram technicians specialize in specific areas of medicine such as obstetrics and gynecology, abdominal, mammography or neurosonography. Specialization typically requires increased levels of experience and training, but may also result in higher wages.
A student can typically complete the training required to become a sonogram technician in two to four years, although some institutions offer a compressed one-year program that leads to a certificate, which may be acceptable to some employers. Most employers require candidates to hold at least an associate degree from an accredited two-year program. Certification is not required by any state, but employers may prefer to work with candidates who hold credentials from an independent, non-governmental organization.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates strong continued demand for sonogram technicians through at least 2018, although availability of new employment opportunities may vary significantly by region. Those who have the ability and willingness to relocate may have a better chance at landing a job in the field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also notes that sonogram technicians who hold credentials in a variety of specialties should have increased employment opportunities and may command higher salaries. Sonogram technicians with additional education may advance into supervisory or managerial roles, which can also result in higher wages.
The median annual income for sonogram technicians across the United States was just over $64,000 as of May 2011, but the top 10 percent earned more than $88,000 per year. More than half of all sonogram technicians worked in general medical hospitals or surgical hospitals, where they earned average wages of approximately $65,000 per year. Those who worked for employment services earned the highest average wages for their employment category at just over $73,000.
Close to 10 percent of the nation’s sonogram technicians worked in the state of California where they earned average annual wages of $77,260, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Only two percent of the nation’s sonogram technicians worked in Massachusetts, but those who worked in the state earned the highest average wages in the country at $80,000 per year.
A sonogram technician, sometimes referred to as a sonographer or an ultrasound tech, is a healthcare professional who conducts a variety of ultrasound examinations. Sonogram technicians employ medical equipment that uses high-frequency sound waves to capture accurate and dynamic images of internal body organs, tissues or blood flow. These images are then used by doctors to diagnose and treat their patients.
While sonography is commonly associated with the use of ultrasound imaging during pregnancy, sonographic technology can also be used to discover, diagnose and monitor a wide range of medical problems, abnormalities and disorders. As an increasing number of patients turn to sonographic procedures for their imaging needs, more and more sonographic technicians opt to specialize in a specific area of sonography. Here are the major areas of specialization available to sonogram technicians.
Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN)
Obstetric and gynecologic sonogram technicians specialize in the imaging of the female reproductive area. These technicians often evaluate a developing fetus by monitoring its growth and health. These technicians also perform non-pregnancy related pelvic sonography to evaluate a female’s cervix, ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes or bladder. These ultrasound images can identify various tumors or cysts in the pelvic region.
Cardiovascular sonogram techs use ultrasound equipment to examine and evaluate the human heart and its chambers, arteries, capillaries, valves and veins. These images help physicians diagnose, treat and monitor various heart and vascular conditions, including heart disease and heart attacks.
Neurosonographers evaluate the nervous system, which includes the spinal cord and the brain. These sonogram technicians specialize in testing and screening for neurological disorders such as brain tumors and strokes. Surgeons also use these technicians to guide the application of anesthetics for procedures conducted near any nerve centers.
Abdominal sonography techs specialize in taking ultrasound images of the tissues and organs in the abdominal cavity, including the kidneys, gall bladder, spleen, bile ducts, pancreas, liver and the male reproductive system. Abdominal sonographers also assist physicians during any biopsy procedures performed in the abdominal area.
Breast sonography has become a very important tool in the fight against breast cancer. Breast sonography is used to evaluate lumps, track and monitor tumors, assist in biopsies of breast tissue and monitor the blood supply conditions. Unlike other types of imaging, breast ultrasound images can help determine if an abnormality is fluid-filled, as in benign cysts, or solid, as in non-cancerous or cancerous tumors.