What Does A Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

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Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers produce ultrasonic recordings of internal organs for use by physicians.

Salary
$77790
Becoming One
Medium
Education
Associate's degree
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Personality





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

What they do

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers produce ultrasonic recordings of internal organs for use by physicians.

  • Observe screen during scan to ensure that image produced is satisfactory for diagnostic purposes, making adjustments to equipment as required.
  • Observe and care for patients throughout examinations to ensure their safety and comfort.
  • Provide sonogram and oral or written summary of technical findings to physician for use in medical diagnosis.
  • Select appropriate equipment settings and adjust patient positions to obtain the best sites and angles.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Diagnostic Medical Sonographers select appropriate equipment settings and adjust patient positions to obtain the best sites and angles. They observe screen during scan to ensure that the image produced is satisfactory for diagnostic purposes, making adjustments to equipment as required.

A typical day for a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer will also include:

  • Observe and care for patients throughout examinations to ensure their safety and comfort.
  • Decide which images to include, looking for differences between healthy and pathological areas.
  • Operate ultrasound equipment to produce and record images of the motion, shape, and composition of blood, organs, tissues, or bodily masses, such as fluid accumulations.
  • Record and store suitable images, using a camera unit connected to the ultrasound equipment.
  • Provide sonogram and oral or written summary of technical findings to physician for use in medical diagnosis.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Diagnostic Medical Sonographers also maintain stock and supplies, preparing supplies for special examinations and ordering supplies when necessary. They may also perform medical procedures, such as administering oxygen, inserting and removing airways, taking vital signs, or giving emergency treatment, such as first aid or cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

On a weekly to monthly basis, Diagnostic Medical Sonographers supervise or train students or other medical sonographers. They might also load and unload film cassettes used to record images from procedures.

In addition, they perform legal and ethical duties, including preparing safety or accident reports, obtaining written consent from patients to perform invasive procedures, or reporting symptoms of abuse or neglect.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them coordinate work with physicians or other healthcare team members, including providing assistance during invasive procedures.

To some Diagnostic Medical Sonographers, it is also their responsibility to clean, check, and maintain sonographic equipment, submitting maintenance requests, or performing minor repairs as necessary.

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What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Very High

Is this job meaningful

Very High

76% said they were satisfied with their job and 83% said they found their job meaningful.


Laura Horton
Public hospital

I’m a sonographer in a public hospital. I use ultrasound to scan people to find diseases, cancers, injuries, any abnormalities in children, fetuses, and adults.

My Typical Day

I arrive half an hour early every day in order to get all my machines, bookings, and reporting systems up and running. I look over my booked patients for the day, to make sure I don’t need any special equipment such as injection supplies or patient hoists, etc. Then I start scanning patients and reporting the results to the referrer.

Pros

It’s very satisfying to be able to help patients on their health journey. I can either reassure them or if I find something that needs further attention, I can help make it happen for them with my report. I spend up to 30 minutes with each patient, so I often bond with people in that time. I have had to deliver very bad news to people at times, and they often thank me and hug me because they finally have an answer to their problem. I always find this very humbling and upsetting.

Cons

It is exhausting because you have to be there, right next to every person you deal with. When I go home, I just want to be quiet and rest.


Pros

Suitable for people who like to solve problems mentally.

Suitable for people who value relationships between co-workers and customers and want to work in a friendly non-competitive environment.

This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.

It is not too difficult to get into this career. Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.

Short working hours (Less than 40 hours per week).

Cons

Not suitable for people who like to work with designs.

How much do they make

Average salary

$77790 per year

Average hourly wage

$37 per hour

Entry-level Diagnostic Medical Sonographers with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $53,790 to $63,020 per year or $26 to $30 per hour.

Salary by experience Annual Hourly
Highest (Top 10%) $105,340 $51
Senior (Top 25%) $90,940 $44
Median $75,920 $36
Junior (Bottom 25%) $63,020 $30
No experience (Bottom 10%) $53,790 $26

This table shows the top 10 highest paying industries for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers based on their average annual salary.

Salary by industry Annual Hourly
Outpatient Care Centers $102070 $49.07
Management of Companies and Enterprises $87190 $41.92
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools $84710 $40.73
Offices of Other Health Practitioners $84530 $40.64
Employment Services $84300 $40.53
Specialty Hospitals $81270 $39.07
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals $77510 $37.27
Offices of Physicians $76230 $36.65
Other Ambulatory Health Care Services $72460 $34.84
Home Health Care Services $72270 $34.74

View more salary by industries here.

Where can they work

Where can Diagnostic Medical Sonographers work? Here is a table showing the top 10 largest employers of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers including the average salary in that industry.

Employers Total Employed Annual Salary Hourly Wages
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals 44570 $77510 $37.27
Offices of Physicians 15110 $76230 $36.65
Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories 8330 $71830 $34.53
Outpatient Care Centers 3200 $102070 $49.07
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools 750 $84710 $40.73
Specialty Hospitals 600 $81270 $39.07
Employment Services 490 $84300 $40.53
Offices of Other Health Practitioners 160 $84530 $40.64
Management of Companies and Enterprises 160 $87190 $41.92
Individual and Family Services 130 $52890 $25.43

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
49%

40 hours
28%

More than 40 hours
23%

Working schedule

83%

17%

0%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
21%

Every day
40%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
5%

Every day
79%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
10%

Every day
67%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
72%

Once a year
20%

Once a month
7%

Once a week
1%

Every day
0%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
20%

Slightly competitive
18%

Moderately competitive
23%

Highly competitive
25%

Extremely competitive
16%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
7%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
93%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
96%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
4%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
95%

Once a year or more
5%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
100%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

How to become one

Difficulty to become one

Medium
You will need previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience. Most careers in this difficulty category require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an Associate’s degree, and one or two years of on-the-job training. Similar careers include Travel Agents, Agricultural Technicians, Court Reports, and Medical Assistants.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
0%

High School Diploma or equivalent
0%

Post-Secondary Certificate
19%

Some College Courses
0%

Associate’s Degree or similar
47%

Bachelor’s Degree
17%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
0%

Master’s Degree
0%

Post-Master’s Certificate
0%

First Professional Degree
17%

Doctoral Degree
0%

Post-Doctoral Training
0%

Relevant majors

Diagnostic Medical Sonography/Sonographer and Ultrasound Technician

A program that prepares individuals, under the supervision of physicians, to utilize medical ultrasound techniques to gather sonographic data used to diagnose a variety of conditions and diseases. Includes instruction in obtaining, reviewing, and integrating patient histories and data; patient instruction and care; anatomic, physiologic and pathologic data recording; sonographic data processing; sonography equipment operation; and professional standards and ethics.

Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
13%

1 month
0%

1 to 3 months
0%

3 to 6 months
6%

6 months to 1 year
5%

1 to 2 years
57%

2 to 4 years
16%

4 to 6 years
0%

6 to 8 years
2%

8 to 10 years
2%

Over 10 years
0%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
11%

1 month
15%

1 to 3 months
15%

3 to 6 months
21%

6 months to 1 year
12%

1 to 2 years
22%

2 to 4 years
2%

4 to 10 years
1%

Over 10 years
0%

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Thinker

People with this personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.

The Builder
76%

People with The Builder personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.


The Thinker
86%

People with The Thinker personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.


The Artist
24%

People with The Artist personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.


The Helper
81%

People with The Helper personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.


The Leader
38%

People with The Leader personality likes to start and work on projects. They also like leading people and making many decisions.


The Organizer
48%

People with The Organizer personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.


You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like working with ideas and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

They also like working with, communicating with, and teaching people. They like helping or providing service to others.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.

Work Values

Which values are the most important to a person’s satisfaction for this job?

Achievement
71%

You are someone who is results oriented. You prefer work that allows you to utilize your skills and abilities while at the same time giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Working Conditions
71%

You are someone who values job security, steady employment, and good working conditions. You also prefer work that keeps you busy all the time with something different to do every day.

Recognition
62%

You are someone who values job advancement and leadership roles. You prefer work that receives recognition for the work you do and jobs that are looked up to by others in the company and your community.

Relationships
81%

You are someone who likes to provide a service to others. You prefer a work environment where you can work with your co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Support
81%

You are someone who values a company that stands behind their employees. You prefer a work environment where everyone is treated fairly and is being supported by the company.

Independence
67%

You are someone who likes to work on your own and make your own decisions. You prefer work that requires little supervision and are allowed to try out your own ideas.

FAQ


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