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Career Profile: Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

Produce ultrasonic recordings of internal organs for use by physicians. Includes vascular technologists.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 75,900 people employed as diagnostic medical sonographers in the United States. The median annual salary is $75,900. Entry level employees earn approximately $53,790 per year and senior employees earn approximately $105,340 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Perform clerical duties, such as scheduling exams or special procedures, keeping records, or archiving computerized images.
  • Perform legal and ethical duties, including preparing safety or accident reports, obtaining written consent from patient to perform invasive procedures, or reporting symptoms of abuse or neglect.
  • Supervise or train students or other medical sonographers.
  • 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).
  • Maintain stock and supplies, preparing supplies for special examinations and ordering supplies when necessary.
  • Process and code film from procedures and complete appropriate documentation.
  • Load and unload film cassettes used to record images from procedures.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Decide which images to include, looking for differences between healthy and pathological areas.
  • Prepare patient for exam by explaining procedure, transferring patient to ultrasound table, scrubbing skin and applying gel, and positioning patient properly.
  • Determine whether scope of exam should be extended, based on findings.
  • Obtain and record accurate patient history, including prior test results or information from physical examinations.
  • Maintain records that include patient information, sonographs and interpretations, files of correspondence, publications and regulations, or quality assurance records, such as pathology, biopsy, or post-operative reports.
  • Record and store suitable images, using camera unit connected to the ultrasound equipment.
  • Coordinate work with physicians or other healthcare team members, including providing assistance during invasive procedures.
  • Clean, check, and maintain sonographic equipment, submitting maintenance requests or performing minor repairs as necessary.
  • 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.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
75,900
Annual Openings:
7,300
Increase in Openings by 2030:
19%
Annual Salary Range:
$53,790 - $105,340
Education Requirements:
Associate's degree