What is a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer?

October 7, 2020

As a diagnostic medical sonographer, you are a key member of an effective healthcare team. Earn your diagnostic medical sonographer degree at Marian University.A diagnostic medical sonographer uses specialized equipment to capture images inside the body. With these images, clinicians can make accurate diagnostic assessments. Their work in the medical imaging field is critical to improving the accuracy of diagnostics, the efficacy of treatment plans, and overall patient outcomes.

Marian University offers two degree programs to support students who want to enter the profession, no matter where they are on their educational journey: the on-campus Bachelor Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography and the online Bachelor of Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography Completion Program.

Both degrees prepare students for success in a profession that allows you to work at the heart of the healthcare industry in a profession that continues to grow.

What Diagnostic Medical Sonographers Do

Most people associate diagnostic medical sonographers with the images they produce, called sonograms or ultrasounds. These images are of the body’s organs and tissues, or for producing images of babies in the womb to track their growth and health.

A sonographer develops expertise on the best use of the equipment to capture the most accurate and clear image possible. This involves an ultrasound transducer that uses sound pulses that bounce back, causing echoes that an ultrasound machine converts into an image.

Sonographers work in many specialties. They include the following.

  • Cardiac sonographers. They take images of a patient’s heart chambers, valves, and vessels, creating echocardiograms.
  • Abdominal sonographers. They focus on images in a patient’s abdominal cavity and organs such as the kidney, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, or spleen.
  • Breast sonographers. They take images that can confirm the presence of tumors or cysts found by the patient, a physician, or a mammogram.
  • Musculoskeletal sonographers. They focus on images of muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints.
  • Pediatric sonographers. They work with children and infants.
  • Vascular sonographers. They focus on images of the blood vessels, often in the patient’s extremities, to determine if there are issues with blood flow or formation of blood clots.

In all specialties, diagnostic medical sonographers work closely with clinicians to ensure that patients get the best care possible.

Demand for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

The demand for diagnostic medical imaging professionals remains high. The number of people entering the profession by 2029 will increase by 12%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Nationwide pay for diagnostic medical sonographers reached an average of $75,780 in May 2019, the BLS reports. In Wisconsin, it’s even higher. Diagnostic medical sonographers earn $85,670 per year on average. The top 25% in Wisconsin made more than $96,940.

How Marian University Prepares Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

Both degree programs from Marian University are designed to help students at different phases of their careers.

The on-campus BS in Diagnostic Medical Sonography is designed to give students not only the skills they need to operate medical imaging equipment, but also the combination of analytical, critical thinking, and leadership skills needed to become a successful member of a healthcare team. No prior experience is needed. Students get the clinical and classroom training needed to become a licensed DMS.

The online bachelor degree completion program offers those with a two-year certificate in diagnostic medical sonography the chance to complete their four-year degree. The online coursework allows students to schedule classes around busy professional and personal schedules.

Applicants to the online program must have earned certification from the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS).  Applicants immediately earn 60 credit hours toward a bachelor’s degree at Marian University with the certification.

Earning a bachelor’s degree puts graduates in a position to take on leadership positions in this growing healthcare career. Diagnostic medical sonographer jobs are growing in Wisconsin and around the country. Now is a good time to take the steps needed to excel in the medical imaging field.