21 Reasons to Start a Job in Diagnostic Medical Sonography
There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to diagnostic medical sonography. A doctor might have a hunch of what the patient is suffering from, but sonograms are key in providing evidence and helping set the final diagnosis.
As a DMS tech, you are the extra “eyes” for doctors, using diagnostic imaging technology to give detailed images of what’s really going on inside of patients.
If you typically associate medical sonographers (also called ultrasound techs) with an expectant mother receiving an ultrasound, you wouldn’t be wrong. It is a popular specialization, but there’s a whole lot more to the job!
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 harnesses the power of high-pitched sonar waves to create images. For people fascinated by the intersection of tech and medical care, it’s certainly a fascinating tool.
Though the technology may sound complicated, after you complete a diagnostic medical sonography program, conducting ultrasound tests will become second nature to you. Most patients are impressed by the machines you use, and may have many questions for you. Luckily you’re the expert. This is your chance to show off your tech know-how!
2. You Have Superpowers!
Ultrasound techs have the “power” to see through people. Unlike Superman though, you won’t have to deal with kryptonite (or change outfits in a telephone booth!).
Ultrasound techs are needed when doctors want to get a better sense of what’s going on inside of their patients. Each day, you may work on cases ranging from identifying cancer, investigating signs of cardiovascular disease, or searching for signs of stroke in a neurology patient.
Unlike x-rays, however, you see everything live. Many doctors prefer this technology because it is less invasive than procedures that require surgery, which means less pain for patients.
Your skills are absolutely indispensable when it comes to diagnosing signs of disease or internal abnormalities. As you help your patients on the road to wellness, they may come to think of you as their personal superhero.
3. What You Find Might Surprise You
Unsurprisingly, looking inside of people all day can lead to some fascinating images. Check out this list of remarkable ultrasound images for a glimpse into some of the most interesting cases you could encounter. However, it should be noted that HIPAA rules are strictly enforced and it is important to protect patient privacy.
4. Your Skills Are Needed More Than Ever
Sonography continues to evolve, and as technology improves, doctors in a wide range of medical specializations rely on it. Ultrasound technology has advanced to such a point that, today, it is possible to produce 3-D and 4-D ultrasound images. Some doctors in the Netherlands are even experimenting with portable ultrasounds 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 career, becoming a sonographer is an excellent choice. After years of working in a medical field, you may realize your passion is in internal physiology or working with technology.
6. …Or Just Starting Out!
It’s entirely possible to work in healthcare without a medical degree. Having experience in medicine is not a prerequisite for most ultrasound technician schools and programs.
What is most important is that you are dedicated to your dream career as an ultrasound tech. Programs are designed to teach you everything you’ll need to know with experiential training and guidance. When you finish, you will feel prepared and ready to work right out of school.
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.
Nearly every medical sonographer will tell you that helping people is one of the best parts of the job. One amazing example is how sonographers helped this blind mother to ‘see’ her unborn child for the first time.
8. It’s All About Teamwork
While sonographers usually run tests on their own, they are part of a greater network that cooperates together. You can expect to collaborate with nurses, doctors and other medical workers to pinpoint exactly what your patients need.
9. Your Patients Can Count on You
Besides your co-workers, the most important people you’ll work with are your patients. You are a guide and source of calm for people during what might be incredibly stressful situations.
10. You Know Everything Inside (and Out!)
While your friends may not appreciate you talking about internal organs at the dinner table, you can’t get enough. This is the perfect job for you because you are fascinated by the human body, and you’ll have the chance to work with many different ailments.
11. …But You Can Also Specialize
Courses in many diagnostic medical sonography programs will focus on the abdomen, reproductive organs, and obstetrics. This is because these are the most common applications when it comes to ultrasounds. 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), and breast sonography. Cardiac sonography is another important specialization.
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 working in imaging centers. Regardless, you’ll be interacting with patients throughout your day.
At work, your 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.
13. Did We Mention You’re Popular?
Okay, so ultrasound technicians may not be pop stars, 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 the number will grow by 26% from 2014 to 2024. As demand increases, so does the likelihood that you’ll find an excellent position by the time you finish a 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 is a whopping $69,982 with an average hourly rate of $34/hr. Given that the average income in the U.S. hovers around $44,000, it’s no wonder this job is so appealing.
15. Choose the Education You Want
There are many education options to become a diagnostic medical sonographer. First, you 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 DMS certificate or degree programs.
16. Your Education Is Flexible to Match Your Needs
Most diagnostic medical sonography programs last around 2 years. Vocational and training schools offering certificate programs can often accommodate busy schedules. For example, you can take evening courses so you have more time during the day for your family.
17. Paying for School Won’t Cost You an Arm and a Leg
You’ll do anything for your dream job, but spending a ton of money isn’t necessary. Certificate and degree programs are shorter and more affordable options than medical school or nursing programs. This means less time and money on education and more time for your career.
While degree programs can last up to four years, most certificate programs take only two 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 won’t include making coffee and filing boring reports. Instead, you’ll get to apply the skills you’ve learned in class in a real medical environment alongside experienced professionals. As a recent poll found, practical internships can increase your chance of finding work after school.
Working with seasoned professionals gives you a 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. However, hospitals and imaging centers usually want to hire DMS techs for full-time positions, which 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 an OB/GYN clinic or cancer research center.
The good news is that whether it’s a busy urban hospital or a rural clinic, your skills are needed everywhere, so it’s not hard to find a location close to home.
Plus, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, DMS employment is especially high in eastern states like New York and New Jersey.
21. It’s the Kind of Job You Can Brag About
Not everybody can do the work of a diagnostic medical sonographer. Your training and experience sets you apart from many people, even within healthcare, and your ability to use new technology puts you at the forefront of medicine. Having such a unique and important job is a real reason to be proud!
If this career path sounds like something you’d love, check out the AIMS Education Diagnostic Medical Sonography page. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about training.