What Is the Difference Between Sonography and Ultrasound?

Sonography is a medical field in which ultrasound devices are used. You may work as a sonographer, using ultrasound equipment to create images of internal body structures for medical analysis. Read on to learn more about a career as a diagnostic medical sonographer. Schools offering Diagnostic Medical Sonography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Sonography and Ultrasound Defined

Sonography - sometimes called ultrasonography - is the practice of using high-frequency waves to produce an image for medical analysis. These high frequency waves are called ultrasound waves. Ultrasound waves are a useful method to produce a needed medical image without the use of radiation. You might be most familiar with sonography's role in the field of obstetrics to produce an ultrasound image of an unborn baby. Sonography is also used to analyze tissues and organs of the body, such as the heart, eyes and abdomen.

Important Facts About Medical Sonographers

Key Skills Detail oriented, technological, interpersonal, physical stamina
Work Environment Full time work in a clinic or hospital; you will spend a lot of time on your feet, working with imaging equipment and patients with special needs.
Professional Requirements Criminal background check may be required before study or clinical placement. You may also need CPR certification.
Median Salary (2014) $62,540 per year
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 24% growth

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

A diagnostic medical sonographer specializes in using ultrasound equipment analyzing ultrasound images. As a diagnostic medical sonographer, you may talk with a patient and discuss a procedure, direct a patient into positions best-suited for imaging and manipulate ultrasound transducers to produce an image.

You may also choose to specialize within sonography and focus on one or more areas of the body. For example, a vascular technologist frequently uses sonography to produce images of the vascular system and heart. Additional areas of specialization may include the abdomen, eye, brain and spinal cord or female reproductive system.

Education Requirements

In order to practice as a diagnostic medical sonographer, you must complete a training program in sonography, which may be offered through a medical facility, college or university. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the most prevalent options for training in sonography are associate's or bachelor's degree programs. These degree programs usually provide a combination of coursework and hands-on training, which allow you to gain knowledge of sonography and experience in using ultrasound equipment.

Licensure and Certification

Many employers prefer sonographers who are certified through organizations like the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. Licensure is required in a handful of states. Typical requirements for certification or licensure include completion of a recognized sonography program and an exam.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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