Sonogram technicians, also known as ultrasound technicians, use advanced diagnostic equipment to help physicians with a diagnosis. These technicians play an important role in the diagnostics aspect of the healthcare industry.
Sonogram technicians use ultrasonography equipment for examination and diagnosing illnesses. This equipment uses high frequency sound waves that penetrate the body and bounce back. The waves are then relayed to a computer screen, here they are interpreted and displayed in a form of an image or a video. The waves are transmitted on to the patient’s body with the help of a wand known as a transducer. Sonogram technicians mostly work with obstetric and gynecology (OB/GYN) physicians helping them with examinations. Many people associated with the healthcare industry hail them as the unsung heroes of the medical fraternity.
Sonogram technicians operate ultrasound equipment and are responsible for its maintenance and care. Sonogram technicians also need to move the equipment around to better facilitate diagnosis. They talk to the patients and give them information pertaining to the diagnostic test. Instructing patients to assume positions that allow for easy and accurate diagnosis is also a part of their job.
Sonogram technicians capture images of the internal organs, fluids, tissues or other bodily masses for examination by the physician. They analyze ultrasound films and generate reports giving their opinion that may help diagnosis. These technicians also record medical histories and maintain records pertaining to their investigations. Sonographers also help physicians with the examinations and at times will give their inputs regarding future examinations. Interpreting computer generated data and presenting it to the supervising physician is a part of their job profile.
Sonogram technicians perform administrative tasks like ordering medical equipment and taking an inventory of supplies needed for sonography. In large healthcare settings, they are required to do evaluation of equipment purchase. Maintaining records related to the examination like requisition forms, patient charts, copy of the images and videos take up a part of their time at work.
Educational Requirements and Salary
If using hi-tech medical equipment and playing a vital role in patient diagnosis appeals to you, then the job of a sonographer is ideal for you. Several vocational training schools and training institutes offer a two-year associate’s degree program for aspiring sonogram technicians. However, industry experts believe that for gainful employment individuals should opt for a four-year bachelor’s degree program. If you are working in the healthcare industry and looking for a career switch, then some hospitals also offer in-house training programs for sonogram technicians. The course work of these programs cover topics like anatomy, ultrasound principles, echo interpretation and medical terminology.
Once you complete your training it is advisable to register with the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) as this will improve your chances of getting a bigger pay packet. Technicians earn good salaries in the healthcare industry, sonogram technicians get average salaries that range between $40,000 and $60,000 per year. These are just estimated figures and actual salaries can be affected by factors like education, job location and experience of the candidate. States which have a high cost of living like New York report salaries that range between $60,000 and $70,000 per year. In States like Colorado where the cost of living is comparatively lower, technicians earn salaries that range between $45,000 and $50,000.
If you have good written and verbal communication skills and looking for a job in the healthcare sector then being a sonogram technician is a good option. Gradual growth is expected in the industry which translates to better pay packets for sonogram technicians.