Career Profile: Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
Medicine can be a complicated field since what doctors and nurses see on the outside might not show the real problem. When they need to know what is happening inside a patient, they need help from diagnostic medical sonographers. These technicians use ultrasound machines to help provide information for medical staff to diagnose and treat illnesses. Their work is important for helping patients and the people who care for them.
Most people who want to become diagnostic medical sonogaphers go through a twenty-month program at a community or career college. They can decide to specialize in an area like abdominal sonography for patients who might have problems like appendicitis or obstetrical for pregnant women.
Most courses include both classroom work and practical experience. People in this job have to know how to use ultrasound equipment and to interpret what they see. Being able to find problems and to recommend treatments is helpful, usually in consultation with doctors and nurses.
Diagnostic medical sonographers should have good technical skills and be good with their hands. They also need good communication skills since they have to talk with patients and doctors. Writing or public speaking practice can help people learn the skills they need, and philosophy courses in university can help with understanding what patients need beyond just medication or surgery.
Learning to work through problems can help diagnostic medical sonographers find the health issues that people are facing. People in this field spend a lot of time looking at screens and adjusting ultrasound machines to get the best images possible.
Besides technical skill, attention to detail is one of the most important parts of being a diagnostic medical sonographer. Becoming qualified to work in this field involves taking the Canadian Clinical Skills Assessment and the Sonography Canada written exam. When people pass these two exams, they can work in hospitals, doctors’ offices, and other places where people go for help with health questions.
Often the work includes moving patients into the right position for the scan after explaining the process. The next step is to process the film, code it, and enter the information into the patients’ records.
Almost ninety percent of the people working as diagnostic medical sonographers are women, but the job is also good for men. Wages start at about $24 per hour or $50,000 per year and can rise to almost $50 per hour or over $100,000 per year.
Experience is important in this job, especially since understanding what the scans mean takes practice. Keeping up with new technology and techniques in this field is also very important. This might mean that sonographers need to take courses throughout their careers, but they can also learn many of the new techniques on the job.
Working as a diagnostic medical sonographers is not physically difficult, although it can be tiring with all of the detailed work. As long as people can still see well enough to find tiny details on the scans and are physically strong enough to help patients into position, they can continue to work in this field. It might be the right one for you.
Payscale Canada. “Average Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Pay.” https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Diagnostic_Medical_Sonographer/Hourly_Rate.
Red River College. “Health Sciences: Diagnostic Medical Sonographer.” https://www.rrc.ca/healthsciences/ultrasound-diagnostic-medical-sonography/.
Sonography Canada. “Regulation.” https://www.sonographycanada.ca/Apps/Pages/sonography-regulation-7.
Ultrasound Technician Centre. “High School Preparation for Entering an Ultrasound Program.” https://www.ultrasoundtechniciancenter.org/education/high-school-preparations.html.