Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

Faviola Hernando

Career Description.

Diagnostic medical sonographers use special imaging equipment that directs sound waves into a patient’s body (known as an ultrasound, sonogram, or echocardiogram) to be able to find medical conditions. Echoes are sent to the ultrasound machine, which processes them and displays them as images.

Job Responsibilities And Duties

Diagnostic medical sonographers typically do the following:

  • Prepare patients for procedures by taking a patient’s history and answering any questions about the procedure
  • Prepare and maintain imaging equipment
  • Apply a gel to help the sound waves’ ability to show the inside of the body
  • Operate equipment to get diagnostic images of areas in the patient’s body
  • Analyze the images to check for quality and adequate coverage of the area needed for diagnosis
  • Recognize the difference between normal and abnormal images
  • Analyze images to provide preliminary findings for physicians
  • Record findings and keep track of patients’ records

Job Outlook

Expected to grow by 44 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Salary/Wage Potential Average

$64,380 per year
$30.95 per hour

Average Hours/Working Schedule

Most diagnostic medical sonographers work full time. Because imaging is sometimes needed in emergencies, sonographers sometime work evenings, weekends, or overnight.

Work Environment

Diagnostic medical sonographers held about 53,700 jobs in 2010 and work in healthcare facilities. About 61 percent worked in hospitals in 2010, others worked in areas such as physician’s offices and medical and diagnostic laboratories:

Hospitals; state, local, and private61%

Offices of physicians24

Medical and diagnostic laboratories9

Outpatient care centers2

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