Becoming a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

The Diagnostic Medical Sonographers are trained to use sophisticated medical equipments and ultrasound technology to determine the sex of the unborn inside the mother’s womb. They also use sonograms to help diagnose other medical conditions by creating images of organs and tissues inside the body. While hospitals seek such professionals in large numbers, they also get employed by the physicians’ offices and medical and diagnostic laboratories.

Educational Requirements: There are four steps of education and training to become a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer.

  1. Earn a Degree: The aspirants can go for an associate or bachelor’s degree with specialized courses such as Abdominal Sonography, Obstetrics, Vascular Sonography and Echocardiography. They also gain hands-on experience during the specialization programs. The duration of the course is four years.
  2. Sonography Clinical Experience: It is very important to obtain sonography clinical experience in areas such as radiologic technology or nursing after earning the bachelor’s or associate degree. This training will help the aspirants understand the daily responsibilities of a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer in a better way. Training under the supervision of an experienced professional will come handy.
  3. Certification: Since most employers seek certified Diagnostic Medical Sonographers, it is mandatory to receive the certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Sonographers can also obtain certification from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS).
  4. Licensing: Even though license is not required in all states, it is advisable to get one, keeping things in mind for the future. Currently, only New Jersey, New Mexico, West Virginia and Oregon require Diagnostic Medical Sonographers to be licensed.

Salary & Wages: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers is around $65,860 as of May 2012. This career has a bright job outlook, as employment opportunities are high in hospitals, laboratories, colleges, universities and professional schools.