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Diagnostic Medical Sonographers - What They Do

How to Advance (Advancement)
Sonographers can seek advancement by obtaining competency in more than one specialty. For example, obstetric sonographers might seek training in abdominal sonography to broaden their opportunities and increase their marketability. Sonographers also may seek multiple credentials—for example, being both a registered diagnostic medical sonographer and a registered diagnostic cardiac sonographer.

Sonographers may advance by taking supervisory, managerial, or administrative positions.

Diagnostic medical sonographers held about 50,300 jobs in 2008. About 59 percent of all sonographer jobs were in public and private hospitals. The remaining jobs were typically in offices of physicians, medical and diagnostic laboratories, and outpatient care centers.

Job Outlook
Faster than average employment growth is expected. Job opportunities should be favorable.

Job Growth
Employment of diagnostic medical sonographers is expected to increase by about 18 percent through 2018—faster than the average for all occupations. As the population continues to age, there will be an increasing demand for diagnostic imaging. Additional job growth is expected as healthcare providers increasingly utilize ultrasound imaging as a safer and more cost-effective alternative to radiological procedures. Ultrasound imaging technology is expected to evolve rapidly and spawn many new sonography procedures, enabling sonographers to scan and image areas of the body where ultrasound has not traditionally been used.

Hospitals will remain the principal employer of diagnostic medical sonographers. However, employment is expected to grow more rapidly in offices of physicians and in medical and diagnostic laboratories. Health care facilities such as these are expected to increase in number because of the strong shift toward outpatient care, encouraged by third-party payers and made possible by technological advances and less expensive ultrasound equipment that permit more procedures to be performed outside of hospitals.

Job opportunities should be favorable. In addition to job openings from growth, some openings will arise from the need to replace sonographers who retire or leave the occupation permanently. However, job opportunities will vary by geographic area. Sonographers willing to relocate will have the best job opportunities. Sonographers with multiple specialties or multiple credentials also will have good prospects.

The median annual wage of diagnostic medical sonographers was $61,980 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent of sonographers earned wages between $52,570 and $73,680 a year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $43,600, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $83,950. Median annual wages of diagnostic medical sonographers in May 2008 were $62,340 in offices of physicians and $61,870 in general medical and surgical hospitals.

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Academic Programs of Interest

Medical Sonography
Medical Sonography is an ultrasound-based diagnostic imaging technique used to visualize muscles and internal organs, their size, structures and possible pathologies or lesions. Obstetric sonography is commonly used during pregnancy and is widely recognized by the public. There are a plethora of diagnostic ...more