What Do Diagnostic Ultrasound Technicians Do?

Diagnostic ultrasound technicians are medical professionals who work closely with other health care professionals to help diagnose and treat medical conditions. Specific job duties for diagnostic ultrasound technicians vary according to specialty or employer. Schools offering Diagnostic Medical Sonography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Diagnostic ultrasound technicians are professionals trained in both medicine and the use of ultrasound, also known as sonography. Ultrasound involves using equipment that produces sound waves to create images of internal organs to identify and monitor abnormalities and illnesses. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), diagnostic ultrasound technicians usually work in hospitals and other health care facilities. Depending on the specialty, they may also work on a contract basis. This may involve traveling to different locations.

Important Facts About Ultrasound Technicians

Required Education Associate's degree
Work Environment Hospital, doctor's office, laboratory
Similar Occupations Radiation therapists, radiologic technologists
Key Skills Interpersonal and technical skills, coordination, physical stamina

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Duties

A diagnostic ultrasound technician's job duties are varied. They involve the use of excellent assessment and analytical skills. The following are typical job duties performed by a diagnostic ultrasound technician.

  • Describing procedures to patients
  • Obtaining medical histories
  • Choosing equipment
  • Performing ultrasounds
  • Identifying abnormalities during ultrasounds
  • Analyzing ultrasound results for physicians
  • Keeping patient records
  • Maintaining equipment
  • Managing others

Areas of Specialization

Diagnostic ultrasound technicians may specialize. According to the BLS, it is possible to specialize in more than one area, which may make a technician more marketable. The following are a few specialization areas open to diagnostic ultrasound technicians.

  • Obstetric and gynecological diagnostic ultrasound technicians are involved with the examination of the female reproductive system, in addition to monitoring pregnancies
  • Abdominal diagnostic ultrasound technicians look for conditions affecting organs, such as the liver or spleen as well as the male reproductive system
  • Breast diagnostic ultrasound technicians examine breast tissue and identify potential problems, such as tumors
  • Ophthalmic diagnostic ultrasound technicians concentrate on the eye and surrounding blood vessels

Job Outlook and Salary Info

Job opportunities for diagnostic medical sonographers, including ultrasound technicians, could grow by as much as 17% between 2016 and 2026, according to the BLS. The median salary according to Payscale.com earned by such sonographers was reported as $58,710 a year in 2019.

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