Medical Sonographers play an important role in the medical community. They become skilled at assessing and identifying medical issues by using an imaging device (an ultrasound transducer). They work closely with people, especially with patients, physicians, and other co-workers. As a result, it is of upmost importance that Medical Sonographers have strong communication skills. Compassion is an important quality for Medical Sonographers to have, as some patients may be anxious or distraught and may need reassurance. Medical Sonographers must have full use of both hands, be able to hear and see, be able to stand for long period of time (at least 80% of the workday), and be relatively physically fit. They should be extremely oriented to details and able to follow guidelines and protocols. Medical Sonographers must also have good dexterity and hand-eye coordination. These abilities are essential to successful job functioning. It is beneficial if Medical Sonographers are fairly physically fit, as they may need to assist patients in getting on or off the exam table. They also stand for a large majority of their workday. It is imperative that Medical Sonographers be able to competently use imaging devices and machinery. This is a key component of their job. Strong people skills are also very important to Medical Sonographers as they may need to convince patients to cooperate with the diagnostic ultrasound.
Overview of a Medical Sonographer Salary
The BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) indicates that the median annual Medical Sonographer salary as of May of 2012 was $65,860. The lowest 10% of Medical Sonographers made less than $44,990 per year. The top 10% of Medical Sonographers made more than $91,070. They make anywhere from $19.42 per hour up to $38.94 per hour. When working overtime, Medical Sonographers typically make between $26.96 and $61.54. Salaries for Medical Sonographers tend to be somewhat competitive. Medical Sonographers are often paid a similar salary or higher than individuals in other professions who have a comparable level of education. Medical Sonographers employed in California tend to be some of the best (if not the best) paid sonographers in the United States. Specifically, areas such as San Jose, Santa Rosa, Oakland, and San Francisco tend to compensate Medical Sonographers best. Universities and outpatient centers tend to offer the best Medical Sonographer salary.
Earnings Factors of a Medical Sonographer Salary
Some factors that influence a Medical Sonographer’s salary include location, years of experience, and area of industry in which they work. As previously stated, certain demographic areas pay Medical Sonographers more money than others. For example, if a Medical Sonographer works in California, he or she is more likely to earn a higher salary than a Medical Sonographer who has the same amount of experience but works in Pennsylvania. Also, the more work experience a Medical Sonographer has, the higher his or her salary is likely to be. Finally, the specific area of the industry in which Medical Sonographers work significantly influences salary. Some of the best paying areas of the industry include professional schools, outpatient clinics and centers, and colleges.
Medical Sonographer Job Description
You may be wondering what a Medical Sonographer does. A Medical Sonographer essentially takes images of people’s internal organs by using special imaging devices. These special imaging devices are called ultrasound transducers. Certain Medical Sonographers may help doctors during various procedures and surgical operations. Medical Sonographers work closely with patients, doctors, and other co-workers. Effective communication skills are imperative as they may need to communicate important information to their co-workers. Medical Sonographers must collect relevant information about their patients, know how to use the imaging devices, be able to ensure that the images they took depicted the correct organ/organs, and be able to detect abnormalities in the imaging. Medical Sonographers typically become specialized to one set of organs or organ systems. For example, some Medical Sonographers specialize in obstetric sonography and monitor women’s reproductive organs as well as the growth of fetuses. Other Medical Sonographers specialize in breast sonography. Medical Sonographers can specialize in nearly any set of organs or tissues. Regardless of what a Medical Sonographer specializes in, they play a critical role in accurately diagnosing an individual. Sonographers must be able to work with patients who are extremely ill as well as patients who are healthy. Medical Sonographers also write or report comprehensive summaries of their findings to doctors and other staff members.
Medical Sonographer Job Outlook
According to the BLS, the field of Medical Sonography is expected to grow by more than 45% between the years 2012 to 2022. This rate of growth is faster than the average growth for all other careers combined. Individuals who have an educational background from an accredited program and who are certified or licensed have the best chance at securing employment as a Medical Sonographer. It is likely that there will be some degree of competition for Medical Sonography positions, but it is also likely there will be a higher demand for Medical Sonographers in the coming years. As the baby boomer generation requires diagnostic tests and medical treatments, there will likely be an increased demand for Medical Sonography services. Also, it is probable that more individuals will seek medical care as a result of the Affordable Healthcare Act. This will also necessitate the employment of many skilled Medical Sonographers. The demand for outpatient care will also influence the need for Medical Sonographers in the United States.
Medical Sonographer Education Requirements
There are several routes one can take to become a Medical Sonographer. Medical Sonographer education usually consists of attaining and associates or bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Some individuals pursue a year-long certificate program from an accredited hospital’s program, although these individuals typically have some sort of background education pertaining to Medical Sonography. Most employers seek out job candidates who have received their education from an accredited college, university, or hospital. Students who pursue Medical Sonography certificates or degrees can anticipate taking classes in the various sciences, medical terminology, and human anatomy. Medical Sonographers can choose to focus on a specific area such as breast sonography, and would therefore take specialized classes on that particular part of the human anatomy. High school students who have an interest in becoming a Medical Sonographer could take various science classes such as biology and chemistry, human anatomy and physiology, and various mathematics courses if they want to prepare for their future Medical Sonography education. On the job experience is always beneficial, particularly when individuals are seeking new employment. It is possible that someone who has a similar or related educational background (such as in radiation therapy) could be trained on the job site to become a Medical Sonographer since their previous education overlaps. Medical Sonographers typically need to be certified or licensed in order to obtain employment.
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