21 Reasons to Start a Job in Diagnostic Medical Sonography
When it comes to diagnostic medical sonography, there’s much more than meets the eye. A doctor might suspect what the patient is suffering from, but sonograms are often key in providing evidence and helping determine the final diagnosis.
As a DMS tech, you’ll use diagnostic imaging technology to give the most detailed images of what’s really going on inside of patients, whether that’s soft tissue structures (like the liver, bladder, or appendix) or even blood flow.
To show you how great this career is, we’ve put together this list of 21 reasons of why sonographers love their work.
1. Work With Cutting Edge Technology
DMS technology uses high-pitched sonar waves to create images called sonograms. For people who are interested about the combination of technology and medicine, it’s certainly a fascinating tool.
Though it may sound complicated, a diagnostic medical sonography training program will teach you everything you need about conducting ultrasound tests. Most patients are impressed by the machines you use and may have questions for you. Luckily you’re the expert – this is your chance to show off your tech know-how!
2. You Have Superpowers!
Doctors typically call on a DMS tech when they want to get a better sense of what’s going on inside of their patients. You may work on cases ranging from identifying cancer, investigating signs of cardiovascular disease, or searching for signs of stroke in a neurology patient. Ultrasound techs have the “power” to see through people, but unlike Superman, they don’t have to change outfits in a telephone booth!
Unlike x-rays, ultrasounds allow you to see everything live. Many doctors prefer this technology because it is less invasive than surgical procedures, meaning less pain and risk for patients.
Your skills are absolutely indispensable, and as you help your patients on the road to wellness, they may come to think of you as their own personal superhero.
3. What You Find Might Surprise You
Unsurprisingly, peering inside people all day can lead to some fascinating images. For a glimps e into some of the most interesting medical cases, check out this list of remarkable ultrasound images. (It should be noted, however, that HIPAA rules are strictly enforced and it’s imperative to protect patient privacy.)
4. Your Skills Are Needed More Than Ever
The field of sonography continues to evolve, and as this technology improves, doctors in a wide range of medical specializations rely on it more than ever. Ultrasound technology has advanced to such a point that it’s possible to produce 3-D and 4-D ultrasound images. Some doctors in the Netherlands are even experimenting with portable ultrasounds which are connected to phone apps.
5. A Great Fit for People With Healthcare Experience…
If you already have experience in healthcare – but are looking for exciting new challenges or a higher-paying job – becoming a sonographer might be an excellent choice. After years of working in an allied health career, you may realize your passion lies in internal physiology.
6. …Or Just Starting Out!
It’s absolutely possible to work in healthcare without a medical degree. Having experience in the medical sector is not a prerequisite for enrolling in most ultrasound technician schools or programs.
The most important thing is that you’re excited to dedicate your future career as an ultrasound tech. Training programs are designed to teach you everything you’ll need to know, so when you finish your program, you’ll feel prepared and ready to work.
7. Make a Difference in People’s Lives
Working in healthcare is all about caring for our communities. Since medical sonographers work with a wide array of medical cases, you’ll have the chance to help many people. Folks of all ages will depend on you during what may be a stressful or anxious time.
While there will always be pros and cons of sonography, almost every medical sonographer will tell you that helping people is one of the best parts of the job. An amazing example is how sonographers helped this blind mother ‘see’ her unborn child for the first time.
8. It’s All About Teamwork
While sonographers usually run tests on their own, they’re part of a greater allied health and medical network that cooperates together. Expect to collaborate with nurses, doctors and other medical workers to pinpoint the exact needs of your patients.
9. Your Patients Can Count on You
Besides your coworkers, the most important people that ultrasound technicians work with are their patients. You’re a guide and source of calm during possibly stressful situations, and your expert imaging skills allow doctors to make educated diagnoses quickly and efficiently.
10. You Know Everything Inside (and Out!)
This career is a great fit for you because you’re fascinated by the human body, and you’ll definitely have the chance to work with many different ailments. While your friends may not appreciate you talking about internal organs at the dinner table, you simply can’t get enough.
11. …But You Can Also Specialize
If you typically associate medical sonographers with an expectant mother receiving an ultrasound, you wouldn’t be wrong. It’s a popular specialization, but there’s a whole lot more to the job!
Training in many diagnostic medical sonography programs focus on the abdomen, reproductive organs, and obstetrics because they’re the most common applications. However, by earning additional certifications, you can specialize in more targeted care (and command higher pay).
Other specializations include vascular technology, musculoskeletal sonography (tendons and ligaments), breast sonography, as well as cardiac sonography.
12. Relax, You’re a Medical Sonographer
Depending on the type of facility you work at, you may or may not be on your feet throughout the day. Sonographers in hospitals typically move around a lot more than those who work in imaging centers. Regardless, you’ll be interacting with patients throughout your working day.
Your regular duties are interesting and engaging, but you can go home and feel relaxed, knowing you’ve helped people. This means more time for friends, family, and hobbies (which are all part of a well-balanced life). It’s no wonder that sonography is considered one of the least stressful careers in the medical world.
13. Did We Mention You’re Popular?
Okay, so ultrasound technicians may not be popstars, but employers want you more than ever.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that the demand for medical sonographers is growing at a higher than average rate. In fact, they estimate that this number will grow by 17% from 2016 to 2026. As demand increases, so does the likelihood that you’ll be able to find an excellent position once you complete your sonography training program.
14. You’re Worth Your Weight in Gold (or Dollars)
Allied healthcare salaries continue to remain highly competitive. The median yearly salary for medical sonographers hovers around $72,500. Given that the average income in the U.S. is around $44,000, it doesn’t take much to realize what a great average salary it is – especially when students complete their programs with minimal student debt.
15. Choose the Education You Want
There are many educational options to becoming part of the DMS sector. First, you’ll need to decide between a degree or certificate program. You can find out more about each path in our breakdown of pros and cons of diagnostic medical sonographer certificates or degrees.
16. Your Education Is Flexible and Matches Your Needs
Most diagnostic medical sonography programs last around 2 years. Vocational and training schools, however, tend to offer certificate programs which accommodate busy schedules. For example, you might be able to take evening courses so you have more time for your family or full-time job.
17. Paying for School Won’t Cost You an Arm and a Leg
You’ll do anything for your dream job, but taking out massive student loans just isn’t necessary. Certificate and degree programs are shorter and offer more affordable options than medical school or nursing programs (which can last up to four years).
As soon as you finish your program and pass your certification exam, you can jump right into your new career and start earning a competitive salary.
18. Internships Prepare You for the Real World
Internships in accredited diagnostic medical sonography programs don’t include making coffee or filing boring reports. Instead, you’ll be applying the real world skills you’ve learned in a clinical environment alongside experienced professional mentors.
Working with seasoned professionals offers you the chance to learn from the best, ask questions, and get a glimpse of daily life on the job. When you take on your first job, you will be far more confident and capable (thanks to the practical experience you’ve acquired).
19. Ultrasound Technologists Have Job Security
It is often possible to work part-time – or even hourly – as an ultrasound tech. Hospitals and imaging centers typically want to hire DMS techs for full-time positions, but this is great for job security and benefits.
20. Your Office Is Close to Home
Ultrasound techs aren’t just found in hospitals – 40% also work in medical offices and imaging centers. You might also find yourself working in specialty medical centers like OB/GYN clinics or cancer research centers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, DMS employment is especially high in eastern states like New York and New Jersey.
The good news: Whether you live in a busy urban hospital or a rural clinic, your skills are needed everywhere. It won’t be difficult to find sonographer jobs close to home.
21. It’s the Kind of Job You Can Brag About
When you complete a DMS training program, your experience sets you apart from many people, and your ability to use new technology puts you at the forefront of the allied healthcare sector. Having such a unique and important job is a real reason to be proud!
Kickstart Your Future Diagnostic Medical Sonography Career Today!
If you want to learn more about how to become an ultrasound tech, check out our comprehensive blog article on the process.