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How to Become a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

Ashwini Kulkarni Sule
The career of a diagnostic medical sonographer is very much in demand these days. Know how to become one, through this story.
The field of ultrasound diagnosis offers a number of job opportunities for young candidates. As this field is comparatively new, there is a need for trained and skilled technicians. This field is ideal for those who wish to make a career in the medical field.You only need a two year associate's degree and a certification in your chosen field for becoming a diagnostic medical sonographer.


It is a technique of using ultrasound waves to penetrate the body and generating a computerized image of the interiors of the body. Although the application of this concept is more inclined towards obstetric or gynecological spheres, evidently, it is also useful in detecting abnormal cells, and cancerous tissue growth in many parts of the body.
During pregnancy, it is used for monitoring fetal development. It produces more accurate images than an MRI or X-ray. As a result, this technology is widely used in the field of medical diagnostics. A medical diagnostic sonographer is one who performs ultrasound, captures images, and analyzes results for further diagnosis by a physician.
The job of a sonographer includes comforting the patient, applying gel on the part of the body that needs to be scanned, taking images from various angles, freezing the best view, taking measurements, and analyzing results.


Diagnostic medical sonographer education requirements vary as per the course opted. Most students prefer to complete a two year associate's degree before opting for a certification in their chosen field. However, one can also go for a four-year bachelor's degree which offers a more extensive curriculum and training, hence, better job prospects.
Incidentally, one can also go for a one year diploma in this particular field, if they have credentials in health care industry. Training is available in hospitals, through vocational training centers and educational institutes. Prerequisites for sonographer education also differ to some extent.
While some training schools only need a high school diploma, others may demand some special qualifications in allied health care. Students are expected to have a high school diploma in math, science, and liberal arts, in some cases.
There are about 100 diagnostic sonographer programs which are accredited by Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). These programs cover ethical issues, anatomy, physiology, bedside manner and patient care, elementary physics, and study of sonography equipment, in their curriculum.
The need for sonography falls in the respective branches, which are diagnostics, ophthalmology, neurosongraphy, obstetric, and gynecology, which stands to being a leverage for a student pursuing it. Students can opt for a specialization in any one branch of medical diagnostics.
Completion of a one year certification course in any of the above branches after you finish your formal education in medical diagnostic sonography. This increases getting job prospects and earning potential to a great extent.
Although, a license may not be needed to practice as a sonographer, registration with any of the registry associations such as the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) would be necessary.
After completing their education, students can work in various medical settings such as hospitals, physician's offices, scanning centers, etc. In this industry, it is a norm to work for at least 40 hours a week.
Those working in hospitals may have to work overtime and at odd hours, in case of emergencies. Depending upon the setting in which you work, your qualification and experience, salary may range anywhere between $70,000 to $100,000.
Thus, the career of a diagnostic medical sonographer is a rewarding one. However, before taking a plunge, make sure you also possess interpersonal skills such as ability to comfort people, understand them, and a strong desire to help them. These qualities are a must for any health care job.