What Is an Ultrasonographer?

An ultrasonographer, or diagnostic ultrasound technician, is a medical professional who uses equipment that produces sound waves of high frequency for non-invasive diagnostic procedures. An ultrasonographer may work in a variety of specific areas to diagnose health problems. Schools offering Diagnostic Medical Sonography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Ultrasonographers are medical professionals who use equipment that produces sound waves of high frequency to take internal pictures of a patient's body. They perform non-invasive medical procedures that detect and diagnose abnormalities and medical conditions. These procedures can be done using 2-D, 3-D, or Doppler ultrasound equipment. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), ultrasonographers work mainly in hospitals. However, positions can be found in private practices or mobile clinics; additionally, an ultrasonographer may work in a research laboratory.

Important Facts About Ultrasonographers

Required Education Preferably either an associate's or bachelor's degree in sonography. A certificate is helpful for people who have related work experience.
Similar Occupations Cardiovascular technologists and technicians, medical laboratory technicians, nuclear medicine technologists
Median Salary (2018) $67,080 (for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians, Including Vascular Technologists)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 17% (for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians, Including Vascular Technologists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Specializations

Ultrasound can be used to observe body structures without the use of radiation. It is faster than using other radiographic techniques. An ultrasonographer may choose from specializations such as the following, which focus on the listed body parts:

  • Abdominal ultrasound: organs in the abdominal cavity, such as the liver or kidneys
  • Obstetrics and gynecological ultrasound: female reproductive organs, along with monitoring fetal development during pregnancy
  • Breast sonography: abnormal tissue growth or tumors in breast tissue
  • Neurosonography: nervous system, along with the brain
  • Echocardiography: cardiovascular system or the heart
  • Ophthalmology: abnormalities in the eye or surrounding blood vessels

Duties and Responsibilities

To perform ultrasounds, ultrasonographers generally work in darkened rooms. They stand on their feet most of the time and must be capable of turning or lifting patients. They may also find themselves performing the tasks listed below:

  • Working closely with patients to explain procedures
  • Assisting physicians with biopsies
  • Maintaining patient records
  • Choosing and maintaining ultrasound equipment
  • Working with other professionals, such as radiologists
  • Processing diagnostic information, including photos and videos
  • Preparing patient histories

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