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Overview and Educational Requirements for a Sonogram Technician

Majors Overview December 28, 2012

Sonogram technicians who are referred to as sonographers employ imaging tools to create scans to use in detecting and diagnosing of diseases and abnormalities. Those who aspire to a career as a sonographer need basic medical training apart from technical expertise and exceptional communication skills. In this article, we will look at the career path of a sonogram technician and discuss what an aspiring sonogram technician must do in order to pursue their career.

Sonographers rely on training received through the operation of ultrasound equipment; such equipment employs sound waves in forming images of body masses and internal organs. During the imaging process; sonographers have discussions about the procedure with patients and ensure that patients are in proper positions to facilitate the process. Once the images have been obtained, the results are renewed by the sonographers who select the best images for submission to doctors. The doctors utilize these images in making diagnoses and developing plans for treatment of patients.

Apart from the technical details of diagnostic imaging; sonographers usually take care of administrative duties along with collecting patient information and maintaining files, such as patient histories and sonography results. The responsibility of maintaining sonography equipment inventory can be assigned to them. Some sonographers may be engaged in supervising the work of other staff members involved in diagnostic imaging work; these sonogram technicians could be required to perform other administrative duties including the scheduling of writing work.

Aspiring sonography technicians can choose a career specialization from several available choices such as vascular sonography, neuro-sonography, and gynecological and obstetric sonography.

Educational Prerequisites

Sonographers usually sharpen their skills in diagnostic imaging by undergoing hands on training or via formal education. Employers prefer sonographers who have completed healthcare programs or postsecondary programs that carry accreditation (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – www.bls.gov). Hands-on training is imparted by the military apart from various healthcare facilities; formal education programs can be availed at vocational schools and universities.

Prospective sonographers can choose to complete a bachelor degree, associate degree or certification programs in sonography. Certification programs are preferred by candidates with prior healthcare experience who seek additional skills. Sonogram technicians prefer associate degree programs over bachelor degree programs. Coursework usually covers lectures delivered in clinical settings, laboratories and classrooms that include topics such as healthcare ethics, physiology and imaging techniques. Students will need to complete clinical practicums used to impart on-the-job training.

Certification Norms

Sonographers can seek certification as a way of demonstrating their professional skills while improving their employment opportunities. Such certification can be sought in the form of the Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer credential offered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (www.ardms.org). This credential is offered in various specialties including neurosonology, fetal echocardiography, breast and vascular sonography, and obstetrics and gynecology. Certification norms include passing a specialty exam after taking a written examination in instrumentation and sonography principles.

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