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Diagnostic Medical Sonography Career

Career Description

Diagnostic Medical Sonography Career

A diagnostic medical sonographer works under the supervision of a physician and uses specialized equipment which produces images of the internal organs of patients by sending in high-frequency sound waves. These images can then be recorded, transmitted, or photographed for the physician to diagnose.

Where Do They Work?

Diagnostic medical sonographers work in hospitals, private clinics, public health facilities, laboratories and imaging centers.

What Work Does the Career Involve?

A diagnostic medical sonography career involves:

  • Taking patient history and preparing them for medical procedures by explaining what they involve;
  • Ensuring that the patient is comfortable and correctly positioned for proper image creation and the equipment is set and functioning appropriately;
  • Preparing and performing clinical assessment and diagnostic examinations;
  • Analyzing images and ensuring that the quality and coverage is adequate to make a diagnosis;
  • Analyzing images and writing preliminary reports for physicians;
  • Recording results of examinations and conveying the information to the concerned physician;
  • Maintaining records of patients; and
  • Analyzing images and indicating areas in need of medical attention.

Required Qualifications

In order to take up a diagnostic medical sonography career, you need to take up an accredited coursework at at least an undergraduate level. Diagnostic Medical Sonography programs are accredited by The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
You should take courses in basic science, general physics and algebra in high school and general physics, algebra, biology and communication skills at college.
The coursework for medical sonographers in most programs includes subjects like Anatomy, Physiology, Patient Care, Applied Biological Science, Clinical Medicine, Instrumentation, Image Evaluation, Applications of Ultrasound and Related Diagnostic Procedures, and Medical Ethics. Usually clinical training is also a part of these programs.

Areas of Specialization

Sonographers can choose to specialize in abdominal sonography, breast sonography, musculoskeletal sonography, neurosonography, echocardiography, obstetric and gynecologic sonography or vascular technology.


You can take a national certifying examination administered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography to become a registered sonographer. You can choose to become a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS) in a particular specialty such as a Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS) or a Registered Vascular Technologist (RVT).


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average in a diagnostic medical sonography career was $64,380 in May 2010. The lowest 10% earned less than $44,900 and the top 10% earned more than $88,490.


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