As hospitals and other health care facilities move away from radiology because of its link to cancer, more diagnostic tests are done using ultrasonic waves, or ultrasounds. This technology is cheaper and safer for the patient as well as the medical professionals performing the examinations. This is creating more jobs in the field of diagnostic medical sonography.
Training for a Career in Sonography
There are several ways to train for this career, including training in a hospital, vocational or technical school, college or university and in the armed forces. Employers usually favor job candidates who attend accredited programs. No state requires a license to practice diagnostic medical sonography, but credentials can be attained through a professional certifying body. These credentials usually involve training, taking an exam and attending continuing education classes each year.
Specializations in Sonography
There are several ways that a sonographer can specialize. The most common specialty is obstetrics and gynecology, but other sonographers specialize in cardiology, neurology, musculoskeletal, abdominal, urological or urgent care sonography. An advantage of sonography to these fields is the use of moving images, rather than the static images offered by radiology. These moving images make it easier to diagnose disorders of the heart, nervous system, male reproductive system, an unborn fetus and other areas of the human body.
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The Duties of a Sonographer
The usual duties of a diagnostic medical sonographer are taking a patient’s medical history, preparing the patient for the diagnostic test, positioning the patient for the best image, keeping patient records, operating the equipment to record or transmit the image to a doctor for evaluation and adjusting and maintaining the ultrasonic equipment on a regular basis.
The Rapidly Growing Field of Sonography
This field is still growing, as researchers determine new and better ways to replace radiology with the safer and cheaper method of ultrasound. In the years to come, ultrasound technology may replace many diagnostic procedures that require X-rays, MRIs and other risky or costly tests.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the majority of jobs in diagnostic medical sonography are in public and private hospitals. Other job opportunities exist in doctors’ offices, medical laboratories, diagnostic laboratories and outpatient care centers. This field is expected to grow by 18 percent by the year 2018, giving diagnostic medical sonographers an excellent outlook for future employment. Hospitals are expected to remain the largest employers of sonographers, but future growth in the industry is expected to occur in private doctors’ offices, and in medical and diagnostic labs.
Sonography and the Medical Profession
Jobs for doctors, nurses and all medical professionals are expected to increase by 20 percent overall. The Department of Labor expects job opportunities to vary from region to region. Sonographers who are willing to relocate have the best chance of finding jobs in this field. Sunbelt Staffing can help you in this area of healthcare careers.