Sonography - Sonographer Career

Sonography is a radiation-free imaging medical procedure. It uses ultrasound waves which produce images of blood flow, tissues, or organs. Sonography is most widely known as a pregnant procedure for potential parents to see the image of their unborn child. However, this procedure is also used to image the abdomen, breasts, heart, prostate, and blood vessels. This advanced method is used to treat heart ailments and vascular diseases that could lead to a stroke. Sonographers work in clinics, hospitals, physician offices, outpatient facilities, and many can work independently and travel around the country.

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Sonography Method

A light, very thin needle is guided into the designated area of the body to retrieve a tissue biopsy. Sample cells are extracted for testing, so that a medical professional knows the course of action that they must take.

Career & Salary

Unlike other medical professions, a Sonographer is paid by the hour, rather than a salaried professional. A Sonographer generally works about 40 hours a week and is on call during the weekend or in an emergency. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) is the nation's accredited governing body for career opportunities for Sonographers. Each state has different starting salaries for a Sonographer, some higher and some lower than per annum. The CAAHEP has reported that the average salary is around $73,000 and can go as high as $100,000 per year. Click here for more information.


Education

Requirements:

Accredited programs are between 1 – 4 years with an objective of an associate degree, a certificate, or a baccalaureate, depending upon the sonography career field that a person has chosen.

Curriculum Courses: physics, biological sciences, algebra, physical sciences, clinical medicine, ultrasound instrumentation, diagnostic procedures, image testing and radiography, and specialized patient care. Behavioral skills must include critical thinking, instructional skills, active listening and learning, reading comprehension, written and oral expression, and social interactions.

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General Sonographer

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers use devices that emit sound waves to diagnose various medical conditions. Sonographer's in this field use imaging devices that consists of x-rays, MRIs and nuclear medicine equipment.

Cardiac Sonographer

A Cardiac Sonographer's job is to take pictures of the heart with an ultrasound machine. The method is known as an echocardiogram.

Vascular Sonography

This field uses high-frequency sound waves to take images of the vascular system, consisting of veins and arteries. Medical professions require this testing to study a patient's blood flow through the blood vessels and the movement of surrounding internal organs.

Pediatric Cardiac Sonographer

A Pediatric Cardiac Sonographer detects congenital or acquired heart defects. Sonographer's insert a small probe or transducer on a child's or baby's chest which emits ultrasound waves through a child's body to the heart tissues. The probe picks up these waves and sends them to a computer which interprets the waves or echoes into images of the heart walls and valves.


Conclusion

A Sonographer's training never ends, due to advanced technology, two year certifications, and annual continuing educational programs that Sonographer's must pass. Caring about people has to be a priority in this career choice, because it can be physically demanding. This is a career which will always be in demand and where Sonographers can choose their working environment. Career advancement is open in the fields of education, research, administration, and advisors. The varying sonography fields are open in the private, public and commercial arenas.