Sonography
Career Information

About the Profession

A sonographer is a highly skilled professional who creates images of structures inside the human body used by physicians to make a medical diagnosis. The technology is ultrasound, the studies are called sonograms, and the profession is sonography.

All ultrasound exams require the sonographer to use the same critical thinking, scanning and technical skills while following exam protocols that state the minimum images, views, measurements and blood flow assessments required for each organ, structure, vessel or area of the body. During the performance of the ultrasound exam, the sonographer must constantly assess and adjust the technical parameters AND assess the region of interest to determine normalcy or presence of pathology in the organs, structure, and blood vessels. The sonographer makes the decision which images/views to acquire, assess, and record; the sonographer is expected to go beyond the minimum protocol to provide a diagnostic ultrasound exam. Proficiency and competency in performing sonographic examinations is a continuous and cumulative process based in the consistent demonstration of accurate scanning skills.

Sonography is used to examine many parts of the body, such as the abdominal organs, heart, superficial structures, reproductive systems, and blood vessels throughout the body.

Credentialing Exams

Upon successful completion of the program, Sonography students are eligible to apply for the RDMS or RDCS and/or RVT specality exams offered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography. DMS and DCS students take the ARDMS SPI exam during the program. No additional clinical hours are required after graduation. Only certain states (currently not Texas) require licensing at this time, but local employers generally require a sonographer to be registered. For more information about the ARDMS and the credentialing exams, please go to www.ardms.org.

Career Opportunities

Sonography is a dynamic profession that has grown significantly over the past 20 years. With rapidly developing new technologies and increased use of diagnostic ultrasound procedures, growth is projected to continue in the future with employment opportunities for qualified sonographers in both urban and rural areas nationwide. Sonographers can choose to work in clinics, hospitals, private practice physician offices, and other medical settings.

Estimated Starting Salary

Varies with locale and background; approximately $22-24 per hour, in the central Texas area.

More Information

The Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography, the American Society of Echocardiography, and the Society for Vascular Ultrasound offer detailed career information on their websites.