The Pros and Cons of Diagnostic Medical Sonography

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Diagnostic medical sonographer is the formal name for the health care career more commonly referred to as ultrasound technician. A certificate or degree from an accredited sonography program, successful completion of an exam, and obtaining a state license are common requirements to get a job in this field.

High Earning Potential

The medical industry tends to pay well because of demand for health care providers. Medical sonography offers a fairly strong income given the minimum one or two years of college that is often required. The average annual salary for all sonographers was $66,360 in May 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS also notes that the top 10 percent of earners made at or above $91,070 per year in May 2012.

Importance of the Role

A diagnostic medical sonographer carries out job duties that only someone with her specialized training can perform. Sonographers work with advanced imaging technology and conduct internal imaging scans of pregnant women and patients dealing with health conditions like cancer or other internal diseases. You must observe images during scanning to get the necessary pictures and then provide the scans to physicians who use them in making accurate diagnoses of patient conditions.

Constant Movement and Physical Demands

The singular movements and actions of a sonographer aren't terribly demanding, but the standard work day requires physical movement and straining. The heaviest lifting includes moving and lifting equipment and sometimes patients. Much of the typical day is spent on your feet, bending or reaching down to manipulate the monitor or imaging wand. Each appointment is usually brief, so you also move back and forth between rooms or must frequently reset rooms for new patients.

High Pressure

Though importance of the job is a strength, the pressure that comes with carrying out such critical health assessment activities is often great. Inaccurate scans or missed observations can lead to misdiagnoses or even failure to catch emerging health problems. When dealing with ill and distraught patients, you also must show concern and compassion, which puts a lot of mental and emotional pressure on you.


About the Author

Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.