A diagnostic medical sonography career requires formal education, such as that of an associate degree or post secondary certificate. Many different employers will also require the individual to have their professional certification.
Educational Requirements: What Are They?
Universities and colleges offer both the associate and the bachelor degree program in sonography. You can also choose to do a one-year certificate program, although those are normally useful to individuals who are already working in a related healthcare field, such as nursing. Employers will often prefer a certificate or degree from an accredited hospital or institute. Accredited programs often follow specific courses and include clinical training. The programs also include courses in interpreting sonographic images and medical terminology. Most of the programs are divided into the field that corresponds to the relevant certification exam, such as breast sonography or abdominal sonography.
Some sonographers can graduate with their degree in nursing or radiologic technology and then receive training on-the-job from their employers. High school students interested in a diagnostic medical sonography career should take classes in physiology, anatomy and mathematics.
Certification and Licensing
Most of the time, employers prefer hiring sonographers with professional certification. The sonographer can obtain certification from graduating from an accredited program and successfully passing an exam. Most of the exams correlate to the specialty field that the sonographer has the most interest in, such as that of an exam for an abdominal sonography. Few states require that the diagnostic medical sonographer needs licensing. Generally, professional certification is required to get licensed. Sonographers need to take continuing education to maintain their certification and keep it current.
Important Qualities of a Sonographer
Diagnostic sonographers need to follow a precise set of instructions to obtain the images needed to treat and diagnose patients. They need to pay attention to the screens when they are scanning the patient because the cues for contrasting healthy and unhealthy areas are often subtle. To get quality images, the sonographer needs to be capable of moving equipment along the body in response to whatever they notice on the screen.
eSonographers work on their feet for an extended period. They have to be capable of lifting and moving patients requiring assistance. These professionals need to understand how to appropriately operate complex machinery and instruments. Sonographers work closely with patients. There are times when the patient is in an extreme amount of mental stress or pain, so the sonographer needs cooperation from the patient to get images that can be used.
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