Sonographers are medical professionals that use special equipment that directs sound waves into the patient’s body to create an image. These procedures are called ultrasounds, sonograms and echocardiograms. These exams are typically done for diagnostic reasons.
A sonographer has many different job responsibilities. The first thing they do is receive orders from the physician for a sonogram or other diagnostic imaging test to be done. They then speak to the patient and obtain their medical history. They prepare the patient by explaining the test and the procedure and what will happen during the procedure to the patient. They select the correct settings and adjust the patient to get the best image possible. They watch the screen during the scan to determine that the image is perfect and make adjustments if needed. They decide which images are best to send to the referring physician and determine if there are any additional images needed based on the findings of the images that have been produced. They update the patient’s records with findings, image copies and reports that have been obtained prior to the procedure.
The current national average sonographer salary is $65,000 a year. This amount is dependent on the amount of experience you have, your education, the specialty you work under and even the location that you work in. Another factor that will affect the amount of the sonographer income is the type of place you work in. There are certain industries that offer a higher than normal sonographer salary. The top paying industries are management and technical consulting firms, management companies, specialty hospitals, outpatient care facilities and colleges and universities. Management and technical consulting firms offer a sonographer salary of $70,000 annually. Management companies that hire on sonographers pay a salary of $71,000 per year. Specialty hospitals such as substance abuse hospitals offer a sonographer wage of $72,000 per year. Outpatient care facilities are one of the highest paid of all the industries. They offer an average sonographer pay rate of $72,000 a year. Colleges and universities offer the highest rate of pay for sonographer. The pay for sonographers that secure jobs in this industry makes an average of $75,000 annually. Remaining as part of the staff at one facility for an extended period of time may ensure higher raises and benefits being offered to you.
In order to become a sonographer, you will need to attend an accredited college course for sonography. There are three choices. A certificate in sonography will take an average of one year to complete. An associate degree, the preferred choice by most employers, will take about two years to complete. A bachelor’s degree is also available and will take four years to complete. Courses of study will include classroom work and clinical rotations in which you will get to put all of your book learning to practical use. Courses are typically divided into specialties to get you ready to take your licensing and certification exam. While certification is not required, it is preferred by most employers. Only a few states require that you are licensed. Check with your state for licensing requirements.
Sonographer Work Environment:
The work environment for a sonographer is typical for most medical professions. They typically work in a team environment and may have several supervisors over their work. They also will need to work with the medical staff that has ordered the imaging to be done. The environment is typically quiet and temperature controlled. The room is typically dim and most of the work is done at sonography machines. The average sonographer typically works forty hours per week. However, the hours work may vary especially if you work in a medical center or hospital. Some overnight or weekend hours may be required. Some sonographers may be on call due to emergency situations in which imaging may be needed. Sonographers may have to stand for several hours and some may need to wheel heavy equipment around when imaging in a patient’s hospital room. Some lifting of patients may be required.
The career of a sonographer can be a very lucrative and rewarding career. There will be a lot of variety in your work and you will not be tied down to one room or workspace. Sonography is also a field that is seeing a lot of growth within the next couple of years. Currently, there are more than 54,000 people employed as sonographers. The great news is that within the next eight years there is an expected forty four percent increase in the job market. This means that there will be an additional 23,000 jobs created for sonographers. This means that by the time you graduate from a sonography course, there will be plenty of available jobs for you to choose from. This in itself makes deciding to become a sonographer that much easier.