What Is Sonogram Technology?

Persons pursuing a career in healthcare might want to consider working in the field of sonogram technology. The demand for skilled sonographers--also known as ultrasound technicians--is expected to grow as 3-D and 4-D sonogram technology advances. Diagnostic medical sonography is used in obstetrics to monitor the fetus but can also diagnose problems in the patient's abdominal cavity, nervous system, or breasts. Schools offering Diagnostic Medical Sonography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Field Overview

Sonogram technology involves the use of sound waves to generate images; this is a noninvasive way to detect anatomical abnormalities and diagnose medical conditions. Although ultrasound technology is commonly used in obstetrics, it is also frequently used for internal exploration of such areas as the heart, stomach, and central nervous system.

A sonogram machine contains a transducer which transmits sound waves in a rectangle- or cone-shaped beam. Conducive gel is applied to the body part being examined to aid in the transmission of sound waves. The reflected sound waves are then captured by the sonogram machine, forming an image on a computer screen. This image is measured and evaluated by the sonographer, who then summarizes the findings and calculates mathematical values for physicians.

Important Facts About Sonogram Technology

Median Salary (2019) $55,844*
Similar Occupations Nursing manager, licensed practical nurse, certified medical assistant, women's health nurse practitioner
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 23% growth**
Key Skills Hand-eye coordination, physical stamina, and technical and interpersonal skills

Sources: *Payscale.com and **the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

In May 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), almost 60% of medical diagnostic sonographers are employed by hospitals, with other employers listed as medical and diagnostic laboratories, physician offices, outpatient care centers, mobile imaging services, and postsecondary schools. Diagnostic medical sonographers can choose a specific area of study, such as obstetrics and gynecology, neurosonography, breast sonography, or abdominal sonography.

Most states do not require licensing for diagnostic medical sonographers, but employers may have their own programs and prerequisites. Sonographers can register with organizations such as the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS), which is the globally-recognized standard of excellence in sonography and has certified more than 90,000 individuals.


Ultrasound technicians or diagnostic medical sonographers earn associate's or bachelor's degrees, although there is no preferred level of education. Sonogram technician candidates with an associate's degree may be expected to have additional experience to compete with more educated job candidates. Currently there is no graduate coursework available for sonogram technology programs.

Associate's Degree

Two-year sonogram technology programs are the most prevalent choice for potential sonographers. Students who seek an associate's degree in sonogram technology learn how to operate a sonogram machine through hands-on supervised clinical practice. Graduates typically seek out entry-level or apprenticeship experience before pursuing independent roles as diagnostic medical sonographers.

Bachelor's Degree

Those seeking a four-year degree in the sonogram technology field can enroll in a Bachelor of Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography program. As part of their curriculum, students complete clinical rotations or internships wherein they learn how to properly use a sonogram machine. Baccalaureate students study all types of obstetric, cardiac, and vascular ultrasound.

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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