Vascular sonographers receive training in gathering information about vascular disorders through the use of specialized equipment. A vascular sonographer is expected to assist physicians in diagnosing conditions of the vascular system. The sonographer may choose to obtain certification in order to improve their career opportunities. In this article, we will look at the career path of a vascular sonographer and discuss what an aspiring vascular sonographer must do in order to pursue their career.
Vascular sonographers are generally expected to assist physicians in diagnosing a patient’s condition though the use of ultrasound procedures. Vascular sonographers involve themselves in the detection, assessment and diagnosis of the vascular system, using certain types of ultrasound technology with respect to certain conditions. These conditions include conditions of the arteries and veins that could potentially lead to peripheral arterial disease or blood clots. Vascular technicians also help identify, assess and diagnose conditions of the carotid artery that can lead to a stroke and conditions of the abdominal aorta that can lead to an aneurysm. These professionals are also expected to record and interpret test results.
There are approximately 15,000 vascular sonographers employed in the country (source: SVU). While about two out three vascular technicians are employed in hospitals, some find jobs in clinical settings where they are required to work alongside specialists such as cardiologists and vascular surgeons. Still others set up their own clinics and laboratories.
In order to improve their career, a vascular sonographer needs to complete an associate degree program or obtain certification by taking the examination conducted by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). Once they have passed the ARDMS’ two-part exam, a prospective candidate will receive certification as a Registered Vascular Technician. About one in three laboratories and clinics that employ vascular sonographers require candidates to earn an ARDMS certification. If the potential sonographer completes a bachelor or master degree program in the field, in addition to certification, s/he can pursue a teaching job or expect to obtain employment in conducting research on sonography practices.
Wage Potential for a Vascular Sonographer
A survey completed in 2006 by the Society for Vascular Ultrasound (SVU) revealed that fifty percent of all registered vascular sonographers (also referred to as vascular technologists or technicians) took home an annual salary of $50,000 or more (source: www.svunet.org). Additionally, in October 2010, a report by Salary.com revealed that vascular sonographers earned an average annual salary of $60,566.