what is a sonographer?
a person who is trained in the use of special imaging equipment which uses sound waves to probe the patient's body - such as an ultrasound, sonogram, or echocardiogram - is professionally know as a diagnostic medical sonographer. these professionals are currently in high demand because of an increasing dependence on non-invasive imaging techniques in medicine. sonography offers a safe alternative to radiation based techniques like x-rays, which make them more appealing. according to reports by the us bureau of labor statistics (bls), this field is expected to grow by about 44 percent between 2010 and 2020. this corresponds to over 20,000 jobs being added.
how long does it take to become a sonographer?
the shortest way to become a sonographer is to enroll in specialized year-long certification programs, but these are only valid for those individuals currently employed in healthcare. for someone looking to enter the field with no experience, colleges offer a choice between associate's degrees and bachelor's degrees in sonography. the two options vary in their duration - the former is typically two years long and the latter is 4 years - and in how the programs are structured for your training. the associate's degree places a higher emphasis on training you in the bare minimum skills needed to enter the sonography field.
the bachelor's degree combines training in nursing, sonography, humanities, and social sciences to help the individual become a well-rounded professional and assume more responsibility in the workplace. typically, the bachelor's degree is enough to be eligible for the licensing exam required to become a sonographer. you may also specialize in the use of sonography for a particular region of the body - the abdominal region for instance. continuing education programs are necessary for individuals to take to keep their certification up-to-date.
how much do sonographers make?
the average sonographer salary in 2010 was over $60,000, with the top ten percent of individuals earning closer to $90,000. outpatient care centers were among the highest paying employers, with private physician offices coming in a close second. the reason for such a high pay is the specialized nature of the skill set that these professionals possess.
in addition to being safer than radiation therapies, sonography also allows clear imaging of blood clots and tumors. with a large baby-boom population entering old age, these diagnostic techniques are more effective to use on older individuals. individuals who possess good hand-eye coordination skills and are comfortable with using different equipment make good sonographers. an additional requirement is for individuals to have good stamina, since a large part of their daily routine involves working on their feet and assisting patients in moving about from place to place.
when looking into schools for enrollment, make sure that they are teaching a state-approved curriculum. without state approval, you will not be able to take the state's licensing exams, without which you cannot practice your profession legally in the us or elsewhere. an undergraduate degree is a major investment, and you must be careful before making the commitment.