School For an Ultrasound Technician Degree in Miami
One of the highlights at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival was an amazing documentary centered on the lives of four young residents of Pahokee, a Palm Beach County town that is about an hour away from Mar-a-Lago seaside resort, often called the “Winter White House.” Located on the shores of Lake Okeechobee, Pahokee holds the dubious distinction of being one of the poorest towns in the Sunshine State, not the most promising setting for teenagers with hopes and dreams; notwithstanding this socioeconomic disadvantage, one of the documentary’s subjects, Na’Kerria Nelson, stands out because of her sheer drive towards becoming a sonographer.
Diagnostic Medical Sonography (DMS) is an imaging technique practiced by sonographers, also known as ultrasound technicians or ultrasound image technicians. Medical sonography, a branch of diagnostic medical imaging, uses non-ionizing ultrasound to produce two and three-dimensional images of human anatomy. Sonographers use special imaging equipment that directs sound waves into a patient’s body in procedures commonly known as an ultrasound, sonogram, and in the case of diagnostic heart imaging, echocardiogram. The goal of this imaging technique is to assess and diagnose various medical conditions.
Diagnostic sonography, or ultrasonography as it is often known, is an ultrasound-based imaging technique that allows medical professionals to visualize subcutaneous body structures including tendons, muscles, joints, blood vessels, and internal organs for possible pathology or lesions. One particularly common use of ultrasound technology is in the field of prenatal care, obstetric sonography is commonly used during pregnancy.
What Does A Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Do?
While they might be more commonly thought of as monitoring the health and development of a fetus, or diagnosing the sex of the developing baby, they are a highly specialized and trained allied health professional. Ultrasound technologists work closely with other physicians.
They are trained to help identify and diagnose a disease or use ultrasound waves in the treatment of injuries such as in physical therapy. Beyond the education and training required to be a sonographer, so-called “soft skills” are required as they work closely with patients who might be in an emotional or frightened state. Our graduates report that the work is very rewarding.
How is Diagnostic Medical Sonography Used in the Health Care Fields?
Sonography is widely used to perform both diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Ultrasound can guide procedures such as biopsies or drainage of fluid collections. Sonographers are medical professionals who perform scans to be interpreted by radiologists, specialists who specialize in the application and interpretation of a wide range of medical imaging modalities, or by cardiologists in the case of cardiac ultrasonography, also known as echocardiography.
Sonographers typically use hand-held probes, called transducers, which are placed directly on patients. In modern clinical practice, healthcare professionals are relying more frequently on ultrasound technology in medical offices and hospitals because of its efficient, low-cost and dynamic imaging, which facilitates the planning of treatments while avoiding exposure to ionizing radiation.
Diagnostic medical sonography is used in medical fields such as anesthesiology, cardiology, emergency medicine, gastroenterology, colorectal surgery, gynecology, head and neck surgery, otolaryngology, neonatology, neurology, obstetrics, ophthalmology, pulmonology, urology, and others.
Specialties in Sonography
Since people often only consider Sonographers as medical professionals they need when expecting, we wanted to highlight some of the fascinating and varied ways this career can develop if you choose to pursue a specialty in sonography.
Obstetric and Gynecologic Sonography, OB/GYN
These technicians perform both transabdominal and transvaginal ultrasounds to detect and sometimes treat, abnormalities, such as ovarian cysts or uterine fibroids. But most commonly, they determine the presence of an embryo/fetus inside the uterus of a woman and continue to monitor the development of the fetus.
Cardiovascular and Vascular Technologists, RDCS
These sonographers perform non-invasive ultrasounds and assist in making diagnoses based on the images they collect, but they may also perform invasive procedures, such as inserting cardiac catheters and conducting stress tests.
Breast Sonography, BR
Breast ultrasounds can see all layers and angles of the breast, the images that breast sonographers can obtain play an important role in the early detection of breast cancer among female and male patients.
Abdominal Sonography, AB
Abdomen sonography involves taking ultrasounds of the organs and soft tissues in the abdominal region, including the liver, spleen, kidneys, pancreas, and gallbladder. Abdominal ultrasounds help detect and diagnose a variety of conditions, from kidney stones and gallstones to pancreatic cancer and cirrhosis of the liver.
Echocardiography and Pediatric/Fetal Echocardiography, AE/PS/FE
Echocardiography is the process of performing ultrasounds on the heart and its surrounding structures. In producing these echocardiograms or electrocardiograms, cardiac sonographers help diagnose cardiovascular diseases and assess the overall health and function of the heart.
Musculoskeletal Sonography, MSKS
This is an emerging form of ultrasound increasingly popular in the fields of sports medicine and rheumatology. MSK sonographers help diagnose musculoskeletal injuries and diseases and also monitor the progression or treatment of those conditions.
Professional Outlook for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for diagnostic medical sonographers is expected to be solid in the coming decade, and a major reason for this occupational trend is that ultrasound technology continues to evolve, and it is bound to become a more common method used to assist in diagnosing conditions. Whenever possible, sonography will always be favored over more invasive procedures.
The median salary for diagnostic medical sonographers in 2017 was $65,620 per year, and the median hourly pay was $31.55 per hour. While there were already 67,300 professionals working in sonography jobs in 2016, employment in this sector is expected to rise by a respectable 23 percent by the year 2026. This amounts to an occupational growth that is considerably higher than the average for all occupations. The anticipated demand as of 2019 is about 22,400 trained diagnostic medical sonographers over the next seven years.
Work Environment for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers
Most sonographers work in hospitals; some also work in physicians’ offices or diagnostic imaging clinics. Sonographers may be required to stand for long periods and may also need to lift or turn disabled patients. Since this is a profession that requires direct contact with patients, it is also ideal for professionals to keep a pleasant and easygoing manner and be able to positively and easily interact with people of all ages and backgrounds.
Most of the work is done at diagnostic imaging machines in dimly lit rooms, but may also perform procedures at patients’ bedsides. Full-time sonographers work about 40 hours a week while in part-time they may work weekends, nights, or holidays. But due to high demand, most of them are hired on a full-time basis.
For more information about the sonographer profession, contact an admissions counselor at Florida National University. This is a school properly accredited by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists to grant associate of science degrees in this field, which means that FNU complies with national standards. Working students can take advantage of online courses, and our financial aid counselors can help you apply for grants, loans and scholarships.
Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Technology – Associate of Science Degree at FNU
The Associate of Science program in Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Technology is designed to prepare students for performing ultrasound procedures in clinical settings. This program trains students to effectively create and interpret sonographic images. The curriculum includes the following courses for a minimum of 87 credits:
* General Education Requirements (23 Credits)
* Communications (6 Credits)
- ENC 1101 – English Composition I – 3 credits
- SPC 1017 – Fundamentals of Oral Communication – 3 credits
* Humanities (3 Credits)
* Mathematics (3 Credits)
- MAC 1105 – College Algebra I – 3 credits
* Natural Science (7 Credits)
- PHY 1100C General Physics – 3 credits
- BSC 1020C Human Biology – 3 credits
* Computers (4 Credits)
- CGS 1030 Introduction to Information Technology – 4 credits
- SLS 1501 College Study Skills – 0 credits
* Core Requirements (64 Credits)
- HSC1000C Introduction to Health Care – 3 credits
- HSC1531C Medical Terminology – 3 credits
- BSC 1085C Anatomy & Physiology I – 4 credits
- BSC 1086C Anatomy & Physiology II – 4 credits
- HSC 1230L Patient Care Procedures – 2 credits
- SON 2140C Axial Anatomy I – 3 credits
- SON 2146C Axial Anatomy II – 3 credits
- SON 2614C Physics in Ultrasound – 2 credits
- SON 2807L Pre-Clinical Sonographic Practice – 2 credits
- SON 2616C Sonography Equipment Operation and Image – 3 credits
- SON 2170C Introduction to Cardiovascular System – 3 credits
- SON 2111C Abdominal Ultrasound – 3 credits
- SON 2116C Abdominal Pathology – 3 credits
- SON 2117C Artifacts in Ultrasound – 1 credit
- SON 2121C Obstetric/Gynecology Ultrasound I – 3 credits
- SON 2122C Obstetric/Gynecology Ultrasound II – 3 credits
- SON 2125C Gynecology Pathology – 2 credits
- SON 2126C Obstetric Pathology – 3 credits
- SON 2141C Small Parts Ultrasound – 3 credits
- SON 2804C Clinical Practicum in Ultrasound I – 3 credits
- SON 2814C Clinical Practicum in Ultrasound II – 3 credits
- SON 2955L Journal in Ultrasound Practice – 5 credits
- SON 2935 Special Topics in Sonography – 0 credits
To become a professional diagnostic medical sonographer, students must complete an exam to obtain certification from an accredited school like FNU. After completion of the graduation requirements, students may appear for the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) registry exam.
Medical Sonography certificate program takes 24 months to complete. It involves an exciting externship where you get hands-on training which aids in improving your skill. This certification helps in fast-tracking your path to finding a job and also helps you balance your professional or family commitments.
Throughout this program, students will be required to conduct 800 hours of clinical practice. At the end of the program, graduates will be able to conduct ultrasound procedures in the abdomen, pelvis, and appendages.
Particular emphasis in the training program will be given to the abdominal and pelvic anatomy as well as obstetrical and fetal evaluations. The program prepares students to pass the national certification exam for ultrasound technicians and diagnostic medical sonographers.
Become an Ultrasound Technician
Start off your career in a growing field with enormous employment demand and excellent earning potential. Contact FNU today to find out how.