Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Career

ultrasound-tech-500At the mention of the word ultrasound, most people immediately begin thinking of a pregnant mother and a small black and white image of a baby on a monitor.

This has historically been the most common use of ultrasound technology, but these days ultrasound technicians are needed for a lot of different purposes besides prenatal care. The technology is often used for abdominal diagnosis, such as in cases of spleen, liver, or kidney disease, brain trauma, and heart complications.

Ultrasonography requires direct contact with patients, so it’s important for a technician to have strong people skills so that they can communicate effectively with any patients that come in for testing. An ultrasound may be ordered for any number of diseases and conditions, and because of this the patient may be stressed or worried. It’s up to the ultrasound technician to calm these fears so that the patient has as relaxing an experience as possible.

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Career Snapshot

Many diagnostic medical sonographers work in hospital settings. According to the BLS.gov, about 68% are employed by hospitals. Another 20% are employed in physician offices. Diagnostic imaging workers may alternate between sitting and standing and may need to be able to help disabled patients get situated.

Further details on a career as a diagnostic medical sonographer are listed below (statistics from the May 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average yearly salary for diagnostic medical sonographers.


increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.


have an Associate’s degree while 19% have a o post-secondary certificate.


Ultrasound technicians are required to complete a two year course in sonography, graduating with either a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in that field depending on their prior education level. If you want to, you can extend your ultrasound technician training into specialized fields through certification courses. These fields require more training but may result in a higher salary.

Job Duties

Ultrasound technicians are often called upon to perform several different duties, and these may include operating ultrasound equipment, explaining procedures to patients, and maintaining all equipment. In addition, they will need to sort through ultrasound images and take care of the patient’s medical files.


The average pay for diagnostic medical sonographers was $68,970 per year in May 2015 according to BLS.gov statistics. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $28,420, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $87,170.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for ultrasound technicians has become increasingly positive in the past few years with a 26% increase expected over the next several years. With an ultrasound technician degree, you can look forward to a solid career with a great deal of personal reward.

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Skills & Traits

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by Diagnostic Medical Sonographers:Typical Work Activities:
• Active Listening
• Reading Comprehension
• Social Perceptiveness
• Speaking
• Critical Thinking
• Oral Comprehension
• Near Vision
• Oral Expression
• Problem Sensitivity
• Written Comprehension
• Blood pressure cuff kits
• Medical radiological positioning aids
• Ultrasound monitors
• High frequency transducers
• Two-dimensional doppler ultrasound equipment
• Caring for others
• Getting information
• Using relevant knowledge
• Documenting information
• Communicating with others

Related Careers

What Do Related Careers Pay?