Diagnostic Medical Sonography is a non-invasive and painless medical test that uses sound waves to create images of blood flow, organs, and tissues to assist doctors in confirming or ruling out a specific diagnosis. Also known as ultrasound, sonography is a common tool used by doctors in obstetrics and gynecology (OB-GYN) to monitor a woman’s pregnancy.
What Are the Duties of a Medical Sonographer?
Sonographers help to prepare patients for the scan by recording their health history, going over instructions with them and answering their questions. After placing a gel-like substance on the patient’s skin, sonographers move a transducer across the area of the body producing symptoms. Images from the transducer transfer to a computer screen where the sonographer must capture the best image, take measurements, make initial calculations, and forward the images to the diagnosing physician. The sonographer advises patients when they can expect to hear results. The final task after the sonographer finishes working with patients is to record the findings.
Medical Sonography is a Fast-Growing Field
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts an annual 17 percent increase in the demand for diagnostic medical sonographers. This rate is much higher than the average for all types of occupations combined. For the decade spanning 2019 to 2029, the BLS expects 131,700 new jobs nationwide in the field of medical sonography.
Doctors rely on sonograms to help them detect a range of serious and chronic health conditions such as heart disease, tumors and cysts, thyroid conditions, infections, and much more. Students who complete an associate degree and professional certification in diagnostic medical sonography can choose to specialize in a certain area of healthcare. Common areas of sonographer specialization include:
- Abdominal, including the gallbladder, kidneys, liver, pancreas, or spleen.
- Breast disorders
- Cardiac disorders
- Musculoskeletal, including ligaments, muscles, or tendons
- Vascular, including arteries, blood flow, and blood vessels
The BLS states that medical sonographers at the mid-point of their career earn an average annual salary of $75,290 across all specialties. While recent graduates should not expect to earn this salary for at least a few years, sonographers at the lowest 10 percent of the pay scale average $53,790. This figure exceeds the $51,168 average wage of all Americans. Medical sonographers at the 90th percentile of the wage scale earn an average of $105,340 per year.
Educational Requirements to Become a Medical Sonographer
Completing an associate degree program like the one offered at Casa Loma College is the minimum requirement for an entry-level position in medical sonography. Most employers require diagnostic medical sonographers to obtain professional certification as well.
Graduates of the Medical Sonographer Program at Casa Loma College are eligible to sit for certification exams with the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) and/or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). The ARDMS certification exam is for students wanting to specialize in abdominal conditions and OB-GYN while ARRT offers Primary Pathway Certification for those who desire a general sonography certificate.
What Medical Sonography Students Can Expect to Learn at Casa Loma College
Casa Loma College offers a Diagnostic Medical Sonography Associate of Science degree that runs for seven semesters. Students receive a combination of classroom instruction in general theory and hands-on laboratory experience. As a hybrid degree program, students will complete some courses online and others in a laboratory setting supervised by experienced and professional medical sonographers. Here are the courses offered in the medical sonography program:
- Abdominal And Small Parts Imaging
- Expected Interactions Between Patient And Sonographer
- Human Anatomy And Physiology
- Physics, Instrumentation And Principles Of Diagnostic Imaging
- Medical Terminology
- Obstetrics And Gynecology Imaging
- Professional Considerations Of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers
- Sonography Fundamentals
- Introduction to Vascular Imaging
What to Look for in a Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program
Employers typically only hire medical sonographers who attended an accredited school and received a degree in an accredited program. Casa Loma College is accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES), with program approval from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).
Future sonographers should keep in mind that earning an associate degree is the minimum education for this career while passing the certification exams from ARDMS and ARRT are required for employment in the field.
Casa Loma College is an allied health school with a strong community focus. We are proud to serve a diverse group of students and are strongly committed to their success. Financial aid is available to qualified students, and all students can access career placement services. Anyone interested in learning more about becoming a student and registering for the Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Program should contact us.