In-demand Careers

Diagnostic Medical Sonography

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

SOC Code: 29-2054 (no longer available on BLS under the Occupational Outlook Handbook) (Diagnostic Medical Sonographers SOC Code: 29-2032)

 

Served Graduated Average JP Wages

55 16 $22.23

 

Summary of Career: Diagnostic medical sonographers operate special imaging equipment to create images or to conduct tests. The images and test results help physicians assess and diagnose medical conditions. Some technologists assist physicians and surgeons during surgical procedures.

 

Projected Growth: In the Upper Rio Grande region, employment of diagnostic medical sonographers is projected to grow almost 55% from 2012 to 2022. As imaging technology evolves, medical facilities will continue to use ultrasound to replace more invasive, costly procedures. The Projected Annual Job Openings shown below refers to the average annual job openings due to growth and net replacement.

 

Upper Rio Grande Employment

2012

Upper Rio Grande

Employment

2022

Upper Rio Grande

2012-2022

Anticipated Growth

El Paso, TX

2014 Median Annual

Wage

110

170

54.5%

$59,500

Texas

Employment

2012

Texas

Employment

2022

Texas

2012-2022

Anticipated Growth

Texas

2014 Median Annual

Wage

4,380

6,900

58%

$65,900

U.S.

Employment

2014

U.S.

Employment

2024

U.S.

2014-2024

Anticipated Growth

U.S.

2015 Median Annual

Wage

60,700

76,700

26%

$68,970

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Note: The data for the Local and State Employment Trends and the National Employment Trends are not directly comparable. The projections period for local and state data is 2012-2022, while the projections period for national data is 2014-2024.

 

Education: Diagnostic medical sonographers need formal education, such as an associate’s degree or a postsecondary certificate. Many employers also require professional certification. Sonography education programs usually include courses in anatomy, medical terminology, and applied sciences. Most sonography programs are divided into the specialized fields that correspond to the relevant certification exams, such as abdominal sonography or breast sonography. In addition to classroom study, most programs also include a clinical component in which students earn credit while working under a more experienced technologist in a hospital, physician’s office, or imaging laboratory.

 

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations: Most employers prefer to hire diagnostic imaging workers with professional certification. Many insurance providers and Medicare pay for procedures only if a certified sonographer performed the work. Certification is available from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Credentialing International.

Diagnostic imaging workers can earn certification by graduating from an accredited program and passing an exam. Most of the certifications are for specialties in diagnostic imaging; for example, a sonographer can earn a certification in abdominal sonography. Most diagnostic imaging workers have at least one certification, but many earn multiple certifications.

In addition, many employers prefer to hire candidates who have a Basic Life Support certification, which shows they are trained to provide CPR.

Few states require diagnostic medical sonographers to be licensed. Professional certification is typically required for licensure; other requirements vary by state. Contact state medical boards for more information.