The Diagnostic Medical Sonography Associate of Science program is 18 months, full-time, with a focus on the use of ultrasound for diagnosing pathological and pathophysiological conditions of the abdomen, gravid and non-gravid pelvis and superficial structures. There is an introduction to vascular sonography. The program is divided into two components; introductory ultrasound courses designed to build a solid foundation in scanning techniques and normal anatomy recognition followed by advanced courses that focus on pathological conditions and patientfocused case studies. The program consists of sequenced and integrated theory, lab, and clinical instructional tracks.
Your Guide to a Career in Diagnostic Medical Sonography
As a diagnostic medical sonographer, each day brings new surprises. You might start your morning in the OB/GYN department guiding a nervous young woman through her first ultrasound scan. Your next patient could be an elderly gentleman who’s waiting to see if his cancer is in remission.
It’s a fast-paced day, but as a diagnostic sonographer (also called an ultrasound technicologist), you wouldn’t have it any other way!
What else does this career entail? We’re glad you asked!
What Is Diagnostic Medical Sonography?
Diagnostic medical sonography (DMS) is an allied health field that uses imaging equipment and sound waves are used to create images of organs, tissues, and even blood vessels inside the body. From verifying blood flow, looking for signs of cancer, and providing intricate images of tissue and internal organs, DMS technology is often considered an all-purpose tool.
Medical sonographers provide physicians with the right information in order to diagnose and/or treat many internal health issues.
Doctors investigate what’s happening internally to our bodies, but rely upon sonographers to provide the proof. The role of a medical sonographer is critically important in helping doctors make accurate diagnoses.
Are Ultrasounds and Sonograms the Same?
The sonogram vs. ultrasound debate can be confusing, as the two are often used interchangeably. Ultrasounds are the high-pitched vibrations used to create a medical image. This medical image is called a sonogram.
At 20,000 Hz, these sounds aren’t audible to humans (although dogs can probably pick them up). Due to their high frequency, these waves have come to be known as “ultra-sounds.”
Ultrasound techs and diagnostic medical sonographers are essentially the same professions. Regardless of the job title, the job responsibilities and the required education is often the same.
Occupational Guide: Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Career
The allied health sector is appealing for people looking to start a new career – and for good reason. Dynamic and growing by leaps and bounds, there are great opportunities for well-paying jobs throughout the healthcare field – and it doesn’t require years of medical school!
Whether you’re new to the field or looking for a new job path, one of the best allied health careers out there is in diagnostic sonography – here’s why!
What Is Diagnostic Medical Sonography?
Diagnostic medical sonographers (also known as ultrasound technologists) use high-frequency sound waves and imaging equipment to peer inside patients’ bodies. These images help doctors diagnose a variety of medical conditions like pregnancy, cancer, and internal bleeding.
How Do Ultrasound Waves Create Images?
You’re probably familiar with how submarines use sonar to send out sound waves, measuring them when they return in order to determine the size and distance of objects.
Sonar generally uses very low frequencies (often as low as 5 Hz) because these soundwaves need to travel across vast expanses of ocean water.
Ultrasound imaging only needs to travel a few inches and back, so they use high frequencies for extreme levels of precision to tell the difference between fluid, muscles, bone, and organs.
The Different Types of Ultrasounds
Ultrasounds are able to show active blood flow (or blockages), the anatomy of a particular organ in three dimensions, or stiffness of tissue which is especially useful in cancer diagnoses.
The capabilities of this single type of machine are truly amazing, and it means that diagnostic medical sonographers can examine any of these during their day-to-day work.
Sonogram vs Ultrasound: What’s the Difference?
Sonographers are often asked about the difference between ultrasounds and sonograms.
The word “ultrasound” refers to the procedure, when gel is applied and the ultrasound wand is applied to view the relevant part of the body. The resulting image is referred to as a sonogram.
The terms diagnostic medical sonographer and ultrasound technologist are often used interchangeably. Most training programs use the term sonography, but your job title will vary based on the employer. If you check out job postings, you’ll see some employers looking for ultrasound techs, while others are seeking diagnostic medical sonographers.
A Day in the Life of a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
Now that you have a firm grounding in the science of ultrasounds, discover why diagnostic medical sonography has been rated one of the least stressful medical jobs.
The typical appointment involves explaining how the procedure works, applying gel, and using the wand of the ultrasound machine to produce images. Depending on the procedure and your workplace protocol, you might be asked to assist the physician in their diagnosis.
Where Can Sonographers Find Work?
Diagnostic medical sonographers aren’t limited to a single type of employer. Like most allied healthcare careers, hospitals are the largest employer for ultrasound techs, though you’ll likely be able to find positions at private practices, medical laboratories, and outpatient care centers.
Chances are, there are several facilities of these types in the area where you live. This kind of flexibility is an important point, particularly if you don’t want to move to a new area or have a long commute.
Thanks to the high demand for this profession (more on that later), diagnostic medical sonographers typically work a full 40-hour work week.
Keeping a regular schedule for full-time DMS techs is generally a higher priority for employers. So while it’s still possible to work part-time, you might be expected to fill a variety of night, weekend, and holiday shifts.
Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Working Environments
Whether you’re working with the elderly in a nursing home or young people in a children’s hospital, ultrasound technology procedures are largely the same.
One exception might be for those who work mainly with a pregnancy ultrasound. While the procedures aren’t much different, there’s a certain level of joy in helping parents see their children for the first time (as opposed to largely working to diagnose illnesses).
It’s clear why this is an attractive field. In fact, it’s one of the highest-paying allied health careers out there – and all without a medical degree. But how difficult is it to find employment?
Rising Demand in the Field
The BLS has determined that the demand for diagnostic medical sonographers is set to rise by a shocking 23% from 2016 to 2026.
Compared to all health technologists and technicians in the US, the rise in demand is projected to be just 14% during the same period.
It’s clear that this industry is experiencing one of the highest demands for new workers of any field. With above-average salaries and excellent demand, what’s stopping you from entering this career?
Why choose American College for Medical Careers?
Our Diagnostic Medical Sonography program is designed to help students to become an Ultrasound Technologist. Upon graduation, you will have the entry-level skills of a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer and be prepared to interview for positions in a variety of healthcare settings.
Our ultrasound training program features online learning, on-campus labs, and a clinical externship at various medical facilities. As a student, you’ll receive a solid foundation in Ultrasound training with an opportunity to specialize in General Sonography focusing on abdominal and obstetrics/ gynecological ultrasound and more.
American College for Medical Careers DMS Program is Nationally Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training, Recognized by the US Department of Education. Graduates from this program are eligible to sit for the ARRT Exam. After graduates take and pass the ARRT exam they will be eligible to sit for the ARDMS exam.
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