Before dedicating yourself to an educational program, it is important to review degree programs in order to help narrow down a program of study. Those who are not familiar with a particular program of study might pass over without ever giving it a second thought. However, students who are open to learning about a variety of career paths should understand the benefits of various options. Choosing to study in the Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Technology program is a great decision for students interested in a career in this field. Prospective students considering their various career options have a lot of doors open to them, which is why it’s important to take a closer look at a program before diving in. In this article, you can learn all about diagnostic medical sonography technology and some interesting sonography facts to help you decide if this is the career for you.
What is Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Technology?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Technologists “use special equipment to direct high-frequency sound waves into areas of a patient’s body. What is a sonographer? Sonographers operate equipment that collects reflected echoes and form images that may be videotaped, transmitted, or photographed for interpretation and diagnosis by a physician” (BLS). In other words, sonographers perform sonograms and ultrasounds. Professionals in the field are also known as ultrasound technologists. They are trained to record, read, and decipher the ultrasound waves that bounce off of various parts inside of the human body. This fascinating practice requires specific training and certification, which can be earned through an accredited program like the diagnostic medical sonography degree offered by Florida National University (FNU).
If you want to learn diagnostic sonography, keep in mind some of the higher paying specialties you can choose. When discussing the topic of diagnostic medical sonographer salary, you must also keep in mind the following special fields of practice:
- Neuro (brain) sonography: $112,000
- Pediatric cardiac sonography: $80,000
- Cardiac sonography: $79,000
- Vascular sonography: $68,000
- Ob/GYN sonography: $68,000
As for the topic of ultrasound tech salary in 2019, the BLS has estimated their median wages to be higher than $30 per hour. Keep in mind that this estimate is a medical sonographer who has already attained some experience in the field after obtaining an Associate of Science degree; even better prospects for higher pay are available to those who join the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography, which requires passing an exam. If this is a career that you would like to learn more about, please contact one of our FNU admissions counselors.
What are Some of the Benefits of Becoming a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer?
Before starting down this career path, students must first understand that this challenging program will be very rewarding. Imagine being the first person to lay eyes on a beautiful new baby, or the individual who played a pivotal role in helping doctors diagnose a particular ailment.
Is being a sonographer hard? As with anything in the medical field, there is a great amount of dedication required to learn the required material as well as practice to perform the various exams. The level of difficulty is only determined by the level of dedication. If you are committed to this field, you will excel as a sonography student who is learning sonography at the recommended pace. These are just a few of the benefits related to pursuing this degree. Those who are interested in starting this new journey should continue reading to learn more about what being a diagnostic medical sonographer means, and what the FNU program has to offer.
Life as a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Technologist: Job Prospects
An important factor related to pursuing a career is related to the types of jobs available, along with the salary expected for positions in the field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Technologists can expect mean annual wages of $67,314 and $81,535, as of October 2018. Accordingly, U.S. News rates this career in their 100 Best Jobs feature — and it was awarded the 26th spot. It is obvious that this career path is a positive step to take. Additionally, the BLS informs that the expected job growth from 2012-2022 is set to increase by approximately 44%, which is considered much faster than the average for all jobs. Pair this information with the price and time it takes to complete an associate’s education, and students are likely to have a great return on their investment.
Day-to-Day Life of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers
Full-time sonographers typically work about 40 hours a week. However, some may be on call in the evening and weekend hours. Just like doctors on call, you must be ready to report to work on short notice. Their work is often conducted in a low-lit examination room which is better for visualization of the images they need to obtain; on occasion, they may perform the procedure at a patient’s bedside.
Unbeknownst to many, sonography is physically demanding as it involves repetitive and occasionally awkward motions. This results in a higher rate of pain and occupational injury than seen in other medical professions. Injury or pain mostly occurs in the shoulder, neck, wrist, hands and fingers, and upper back. Some even report a musculoskeletal injury. At FNU, we ensure that our clinical training includes the most up-to-date information on safe scanning techniques and practices as a means of lowering the likelihood of future injury, and this is something you will learn about prior to the practicum portion of the curriculum. All students attend Occupational Safety Health Administration seminars prior to beginning their practicum.
Are There Male Sonographers?
Part of being a sonographer might be affected by your gender. Males interested in becoming sonographers might not know that 85-90% of sonographers are women. Just as with gynecologists, this can present a challenge for men when they realize some female patients prefer female sonographer for breast, abdominal and pelvic ultrasounds. Conversely, male patients might feel the same way, preferring a male sonographer for scrotal and pelvic ultrasound procedures. Religious reasons aside, the gender of sonographers is becoming a much more infrequent concern among patients. Gender is also less of a concern in sonography specialties that involve areas of the body like stomach and back where modesty is not a big issue.
An interesting aspect of male students seeking careers in the medical sonography field is that many of them tend to be very interested in ultrasound technology. To this effect, it should be noted that Magic Leap, an advanced digital imaging company headquartered in Plantation, was recently assigned a patent related to various methods and systems for sonography application in ophthalmology diagnostics. Some students whose ambitions are within the field of sports medicine start out as sonography technicians; professional athletes who suffer injuries during games are often ordered to undergo ultrasound examinations as soon as possible.
Sonographer Education Steps Toward a Career:
While obtaining a degree is the first step for many students hoping to enter the workforce, this is often not the only step aspiring professionals must take. In order to become a professional diagnostic medical sonographer, students must complete an exam to obtain certification. Students enrolling in FNU’s program will be pleased to know that it was designed to help prepare students to pass the national certification exam. That means that, upon graduating from this program, students should have enough knowledge and understanding readily available to complete the exam—and, hopefully, pass it! That means that the courses offered through the FNU program are tailored to cover specific details needed to successfully participate in this exam while providing the associate or bachelor’s degree required. Passing the exam opens doors of opportunity for the student, as this is the foundation for a prospective professional’s career!
Working medical professionals such as nurses can obtain the required training through a one-year certificate; many continue working while studying sonography.
Where do Sonographer Technologists Work?
Once having passed the test, one might begin to wonder where sonographer technologists work. These individuals are typically employed by private offices, hospitals, medical centers, clinics, and less frequently, emergency rooms and urgent care facilities. Florida happens to be an excellent location to begin a career in the field. In fact, the BLS highlights Florida as the state with the second-highest employment level in the occupation. The state of Florida also comes in second place for the highest concentration of jobs and location quotients in this occupation. Therefore, obtaining a degree in this subject in the state of Florida is a great move—students can begin networking with professionals in the field where it is so highly needed.
About Our Diagnostic Medical Sonography Certificate Program
Students who wish to participate in FNU’s Diagnostic Medical Sonography program must first understand the nature of the program, requirements, and expectations. The first thing to know is that FNU is a private school duly accredited to grant degrees by the Southern Association of Colleges. We have two campus locations in South Florida, and we also offer assistance to students seeking financial aid. FNU is not just a career college; we have an athletics program complete with scholarships, and our students have opportunities to participate in school events and even community outreach. Quite a few of our courses can be completed online for the convenience of students who need to balance their work schedules with family life.
FNU’s Diagnostic Medical Sonography program is designed to prepare the student for performing ultrasound procedures. The student will be trained to develop his or her skills on the knowledge regarding the interpretation of sonographic images.
The student will be able to conduct ultrasound procedures in the abdomen, pelvis and small parts. Training will cover the organs of the abdomen and pelvis and obstetrical and fetal evaluations. Here is a sample of courses students will need to complete:
- ON 2116C – Abdominal Pathology
- SON 2117C – Artifacts in Ultrasound
- SON 2121C – Obstetrics/Gynecology Ultrasound I
The classes offered at FNU develop students into talented, well-rounded technicians with in-depth knowledge related to all aspects of the field.
Ultrasound vs. Sonogram — What’s the Difference?
Many individuals have questions about the difference between an ultrasound and a sonogram before entering the program. This is a critical piece of knowledge to understand prior to studying this subject—and potential students will benefit from this information during their studies. To clarify the difference, ultrasound (the reading of waves) is formed to create a sonogram (a photo rendered from sound waves bouncing off of parts inside the body).
To be clear, an “ultrasound technician” and a “medical sonographer” are two names for the same job title. Other titles interchangeably used include “sonographer,” “ultrasonographer” and “registered diagnostic medical sonographer,” (RDMS). This professional relies on sound waves to image the interior of the human body so doctors can diagnose and treat medical conditions. Now that you know all about diagnostic medical sonography, it’s time to make the move.
FNU: Developing our Medical Future
If you are interested in obtaining your degree in diagnostic medical sonography, then please consider FNU. As you can see, our program is designed to help students of all ages and backgrounds excel in the field. Ready to learn and apply your skills needed in the field? Need to know more about how to become a sonographer? Apply to FNU now!