Before jumping into the decision to become a diagnostic medical sonographer, it is important to know exactly what the job entails. A diagnostic medical sonographer, also known as an ultrasound technologist, performs diagnostic medical sonographic examinations under the supervision of a doctor. Sonography uses high-frequency sound waves to receive visual data about the conditions inside the body. In obstetrics, sonography is commonly used to see the unborn child and his heart, head, limbs, and other important features. In other fields, it allows doctors to check for ailments without performing invasive surgery.
Among the most important facets that a person must consider if she wants to become a diagnostic medical sonographer is the kind of training she will receive. Many sonographers choose to train in hospitals, universities, vocational institutions, or the military. Depending on the kind of training program she chooses, there are different qualifications that she must meet. For example, in some programs, the trainee must have a science background or a background in the health care industry, before she can be accepted. In addition, some training programs want their trainees to have passed math and science courses and have a broad background in the liberal arts.
There are many universities and colleges that provide a formal, accredited program in sonography. In fact, there are two-year and four-year programs available. In those cases, the individual would end up with an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree. The most common are the two-year programs. Physiology, anatomy, physics, instrumentation, medical ethics, and patient care are common classes throughout a college program.
For those individuals who want to become a diagnostic medical sonographer, but who do not want to spend many years receiving a formal education, there are some one-year programs. After a year of education, the individual receives a certificate which some employers will accept – particularly if he or she has a background in the health care industry. However, it must be mentioned, that the one-year programs are not usually accredited.
Once the proper education and training has been conducted, the individual may decide that she does not want to take any further steps; yet, she can still become a diagnostic medical sonographer. There are not any licensing requirements; however, there are registration groups such as the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography or the Canadian Association of Registered Diagnostic Ultrasound Professionals that certify that a sonographer has the skills to conduct her job properly. Consequently, many employers prefer to hire sonographers who are registered through such a group.
Regardless, the decision to become a diagnostic medical sonographer can be both rewarding and lucrative. It is one of the fastest growing professions across the globe. As hospitals become increasingly confident in the success of the sonograph equipment and the skills of the sonographers, the lives of many patients will be saved and enriched.