A career field that offers generous salary compensation and that is projected to grow faster than average from 2010 to 2020, diagnostic medical sonography is becoming an increasingly attractive field of study for those who have just completed their secondary education as well as people who may be working in a different industry but are looking to change careers. The requirements for becoming a medical sonographer can be completed in a relatively short amount of time compared to other career fields, yet the rewards of working as a sonographer are great.
People who wish to become sonographers are generally required to have completed post secondary education. Completion may come in the form of earning a high school diploma or obtaining a GED. Those who are still working on their post secondary education should plan to especially include courses in math, computers, science, and communication as these skills are those that are most heavily relied upon in the sonography field.
After earning a high school diploma or GED, aspiring sonography technicians who wish to become certified must enroll in an approved school that offers a medical diagnostic sonography curriculum. To determine which schools are approved, students must consult the website of the organization with which they would like to become certified. Students who enroll in sonogram tech school can expect to complete foundational courses that expand upon their knowledge of math and basic science. They will also learn the standards that must be observed within the scope of their future employment as well as how to operate sonography equipment, most of which is controlled by computer technology.
While most states do not have licensing requirements, becoming certified makes job candidates more competitive and attractive to prospective employers. Certification also serves as proof that a sonography tech has demonstrated a certain level of knowledge and successful training. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologist is the most popular and most widely accepted national professional organization while the American Registry of Medical Diagnostic Sonography is internationally recognized. Cardiovascular Credentialing International is also available to those who wish to work in cardiac-related areas of sonography. These organizations offer certification through the administration of an exam. Applicants must ensure they meet the requirements of the particular organization in which they have interest.
Most sonogram technicians work in hospitals and doctor’s offices or outpatient clinics. While some may work in one set area, others may roam and perform ultrasounds at patients’ bedsides. Still others are required to travel from hospital to hospital or even across the country or internationally. Mobile sonographers travel to patients who are unable to come to a hospital or clinic. They also may work abroad performing ultrasounds on soldiers who are wounded on the battlefield. The work environment of medical diagnostic sonogram technicians can be extremely varied and even offer full-time, part-time, and flexible scheduling.
Medical sonography offers dynamic career opportunities for those who wish to play an important role in a healthcare setting. With the number of job openings steadily increasing due to a general shift toward a preference of diagnostic sonography over more invasive methods, the career field is very promising to those who wish to become trained and certified to work as a sonogram technician.