Job Description for Sonographer
A sonographer, or diagnostic medical sonographer, uses ultrasound equipment to view the inside of the human body and assist physicians in making diagnoses. Typically, a physician issues a medical order for an ultrasound, which the sonographer carries out using special ultrasound equipment to produce diagnostic images.Read More...
During image collection, the sonographer applies a clear gel on the skin in the area to be examined. The sonographer then uses a small piece of equipment called a transducer to transmit sound waves inside the patient's body. The sound waves create an image of the internal structure of the area, and this image is used to detect diseases, follow the development of a fetus in utero, and evaluate various aspects of internal organs' function.
A sonographer typically works indoors in a medical setting. Although sonographers are typically associated with obstetrics, they work in many areas of medicine such as vascular technologies, breast screenings, ophthalmology, and abdominal area specialties. A sonographer typically is expected to spend long periods of time standing, and they must be able to lift up to 50 pounds frequently; they must also have the full use of their hands, arms, wrists, and shoulders to accommodate the physical demands of their job. Sonographers must have strong communication skills and be able to meet the demands of their job while interacting with a variety of people (which may include physicians, nurses, and patients from a variety of backgrounds).
Education requirements for sonographers vary. Typically one must have received relevant formal education in United States, typically about two years of training as a sonography technician. This training can occur at a vocational or technical institution, college or university, or through military servic. Generally, employers require sonographers to be a graduate of an American Medical Association-approved institution as a radiologic technologist and registered in their state as a sonographer.
- Maintain equipment and follow safety regulations.
- Interpret and add electronic notes to diagnostic images.
- Operate and adjust ultrasound and other equipment to obtain diagnostic images.
- Complete paperwork and route tasks and images to appropriate staff.
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Popular Employer Salaries for Sonographer
Kaiser Permanente offers the largest salaries in town — $95K on average.
HCA, Inc. offers the smallest salaries in town — $68K on average — but the considerable range in workers' salaries (stretching from $42K to $93K) creates a rather varied pay scale.
Popular Skills for Sonographer
Survey respondents exploit a significant toolbox of skills in their work. Most notably, skills in Pediatrics, Add New: Abdomen, RVT, and breast are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 7 percent and 18 percent. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Sonography. Those proficient in Obstetrics/Gynecology are, more often than not, also skilled in Cardiology and Vascular.
Pay by Experience Level for Sonographer
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Sonographers with more experience do not necessarily bring home bigger paychecks. In fact, experience in this field tends to impact compensation minimally. Those in the early stages of their career can expect to make around $54K; however, individuals with five to 10 years of experience bring in $65K on average — a distinctly larger sum. Sonographers who work for 10 to 20 years in their occupation tend to earn about $70K. Folks who have racked up more than 20 years in the field report incomes that aren't that much higher than less experienced individuals' earnings; the veterans make just $75K on average.
Pay Difference by Location
Surpassing the national average by 29 percent, Sonographers in Portland receive some of the highest pay in the country. Sonographers can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Denver (+27 percent), Chicago (+17 percent), Phoenix (+15 percent), and Atlanta (+13 percent). The smallest paychecks in the market, 12 percent south of the national average, can be found in Austin. Below-median salaries also turn up in San Antonio and Detroit (10 percent lower and 8 percent lower, respectively).