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Ultrasound and Sonography Schools and Programs

Sonography assistants and ultrasound technicians play a vital role in medical diagnostic imaging.

Diagnostic Medical Imaging: Ultrasound Technicians and Sonography Aides

Sonography technicians are healthcare workers who take patient X-rays, operate magnetic resonance imaging equipment, and use ultrasound technology--most often on pregnant women--but also to diagnose abdominal and neural problems and as an aid to mammograms. In addition to reading imaging results, they also work directly with patients, informing them of imagining procedures and adjusting their bodies to get proper images. Good communication skills are important to this field.

Career Path for Sonography and Ultrasound Technicians

There are no licensure requirements for diagnostic medical sonography, but organizations such as the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography certify the skills and knowledge of sonography technicians, and an ARDMS certificate is preferred by many employers. Although there is no set career path, such as earning a nursing degree, employers prefer sonography aides that have trained in accredited programs. Employment in for sonography technicians is expected to grow by 19 percent by 2016, boosted in part by increasing demand for safer alternatives to radiological imaging procedures. Hospitals remain the largest employer of sonography and ultrasound technicians. In 2008 there were 48,920 diagnostic medical sonographers working in the U.S.

Compensation for Ultrasound and Sonography Practitioners

The median hourly wage for sonographer technicians in 2008 was almost $30, or $61,980 per year. The top 10 percent in the field earned almost $84,000 annually. While most songraphers are employed in hospitals, where they earned $62,690 on average, the highest paying jobs are found in local government, employment services, and office administrative services.

Educational Requirements for Ultrasound Technicians

Colleges and universities offer two- and four-year training programs for either an associate's or bachelor's degree. Education includes study of anatomy, physiology, patient care and ethics in the medical field. Sonographers also may train at vocational schools.