A career in medical sonographry might appeal to anyone who doesn’t want to be stuck behind a desk. This job demands interaction with others, including patients and doctors; however, you don’t need to attend medical school to begin working at this job. You do want to obtain an associate degree at the very least, but you can work and obtain more education as you advance in this field. The benefits far outweigh any dangers, and the rewards can be great. The following list of 19 reasons you should consider a career in medical sonography includes both career and educational ideas that could whet your appetite for working in this field.
- Room for Advancement: Advancement can come in the form of higher pay, but medical sonographers also can go on to become nurses or physician assistants. Also, there is room for variety in this job.
- Wide Variety of Responsibilities: While sonographers perform all requested sonogrphic examinations as ordered by a physician, the responsibilities also include reports, communication with a physicians, addressing the problems of patient care, educational responsibilities to other members of the health care team, and further education on the job as well.
- Wide Variety of Specialties: There are many specialties that sonographers can choose: ophthalmologic sonography deals with the eyes; abdominal sonography deals with the pancreas, spleen, gallbladder, liver, and kidneys; neurosonography deals with the brain; obstetric and gynecologic sonography deals with the female reproductive system; and echocardiography and vascular technology.
- Broad Support Systems: By joining an organization for your specialty, you can receive support for your career through networking, peer advice, and opportunities that may not have existed otherwise. Some of these organizations offer job boards, further education, certifications, and news that you might use to further your career.
- Job Safety [PDF]: Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) looks after sonographers in the workplace. Constant monitoring and solutions for safety issues can help any sonographer rest assured that this career choice is a safe one.
- Radiation Exposure Addressed: ASE (American Society of Echocardiography) believes there is a need for a greater awareness of the causes of radiation exposure and adherence to prevention techniques for the working sonographer. ASE is continuing to collect information on this issue and gathering best practices for addressing concerns. ASE will partner with other sonographer and ultrasound organizations to make any information as widely available as possible.
- Few Risks: Ultrasonography is generally considered a safe imaging modality. Diagnostic and therapeutic ultrasound equipment is regulated in the USA by the FDA, and worldwide by other national regulatory agencies. The FDA limits acoustic output using several metrics. Generally other regulatory agencies around the world accept the FDA-established guidelines.
- Clean Work Environments: Sonographers work in clean environments, sometimes sterile conditions. The field leans toward hospitals with the proper equipment to conduct the sonography profession, but a number of workers are in doctor’s offices, too.
- Salaries Good Nationwide: While a medical sonographer’s salary is about the same nationwide, your choice of where you live can affect how much you’ll earn. For instance, the top paying state for this occupation is California at $95,880 per year annual average salary. The average annual salary nationwide in 2008 was $61,980.
- Quality Job Offerings: UltrasoundJOBS.com is the only internet recruitment site focused solely on ultrasound professionals. It is a partner of the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS), the certifying agency for sonographers and vascular technologists and is the only service of its kind endorsed by the organization.
- Enter a Job Soon: There are several avenues for entry into the field of diagnostic medical sonography. Sonographers may train in hospitals, vocational-technical institutions, colleges or universities, or the Armed Forces. Some training programs prefer applicants with experience in other healthcare professions or high school graduates with courses in mathematics, health, and science.
- Defined Career Pathways [PDF]: Depending upon how much education you want to pursue, the sonographer’s career is well defined at this moment in time. This makes your education and career choices easy to determine and maintain.
- Credentials and Exams to Further Your Career: Many employers are seeking sonographers who have the initiative to complete continuing education to stay abreast of advances in this field. Often, these credentials can replace education, and — in some cases — may be applied to experience in the field if you do seek further education.
- Advanced Placement Possible: If your career path includes radiology, you can move into an educational program intended to provide a pathway to ARRT certification eligibility for individuals who have previously completed an educational program not accredited by a mechanism recognized by the ARRT, or who have completed an accredited program but who are no longer eligible for certification due to unsuccessful examination attempts or expiration of their eligibility time period.
- More Jobs Available: Employment of diagnostic medical sonographers is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2016 as the population grows and ages, increasing the demand for diagnostic imaging.
- Grant and Scholarship Opportunities: The International Foundation for Sonography Education and Research (IFSER) has been providing grants, scholarships and products for more than 20 years for the purpose of providing educational opportunities for deserving students entering the field of sonography and for sonographers seeking to further their education.
- More Grants and Scholarships: The Society for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (SDMS) Foundation is friendly to students. They offer grants and scholarships, and an international assistance program, too.
- You Can Seek Training for More Than One Specialty: Sonographers can seek advancement by obtaining competency in more than one specialty. For example, obstetric sonographers might seek training in abdominal sonography to broaden their opportunities and increase their marketability.
- Sonography Fellowships: If you want to obtain higher education, you can apply for fellowships that can boost your work experience.