What Do Diagnostic Medical Sonographers Do?
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (DMSs), also known as ultrasonographers or sonographers, use special equipment that directs high frequency sound waves into a patient’s body to collect images for interpretation by physicians to assess and diagnose various medical conditions (procedures commonly known as ultrasounds, sonograms, or echocardiograms).
This diagnostic medical procedure can be used to examine the abdomen, breasts, female reproductive system, prostate, heart, and blood vessels. Sonography is increasingly being used in the detection and treatment of heart disease, heart attack, and vascular disease that can lead to strokes. Specialization in gynecologic sonography, abdominal sonography, neurosonography, and ophthalmologic sonography is common in the profession.
Unlike x-rays, sonography is a radiation-free imaging modality. Although most ultrasound procedures are non-invasive, invasive ultrasound procedures are becoming more frequently used with the development of new technology.
For more information about DMSs, click here.
Where Do Diagnostic Medical Sonographers Work?
The majority of all DMSs are employed in hospitals. Some DMSs work in physicians’ offices and clinics, particularly diagnostic imaging centers and offices specializing in obstetrics. DMSs are also employed in medical and dental laboratories. Also, some DMSs work in federal or local government and offices of non-physician health practitioners and allied health professionals.
What Do Diagnostic Medical Sonographers Earn?
In 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median annual income for DMSs in New York was $70,190, comparable to the national median annual income of $69,650.
Supply and Demand
As ultrasound technology evolves, it will become a more and more common method used to assist in diagnosing medical conditions, favored over more invasive procedures. As a result, the number of DMS jobs is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations. Between 2014 and 2024, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the total number of DMS jobs nationwide will increase by 26.4%, and in New York will increase by the same.
For more information on the need for DMSs by New York State labor regions, click here.
DMSs usually have an associate degree or a four-year bachelor’s degree and programs are available through colleges and universities. Some sonographers train in vocational-technical schools, hospital training programs, or the Armed Forces. Many employers prefer a degree or certificate from an accredited institute or hospital program. The accredited programs usually follow a specific course of study and include clinical training. Course work may include classes in anatomy, physiology, instrumentation, basic physics, mathematics, patient care, and medical ethics. These programs also include courses in medical terminology and interpreting sonographic images.
New York does not require DMSs to be licensed. Individuals wishing to demonstrate proficiency in their occupation may receive certification through national organizations such as the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS), http://www.ardms.org. ARDMS certification is also available in specialty areas within sonography.
Although specialized scholarships for diagnostic medical sonographers are not widely available, students seeking an education in sonography can apply for financial aid through a number of state and Federal aid programs. More information about student aid is available at: www.highered.nysed.gov/NYLearns/finances.htm.
Education Programs in New York (subject to change)
|Hudson Valley Community College
80 Vanderburgh Avenue
Troy, NY 12180
|Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus
School of Health Professions
1 University Plaza
Brooklyn, New York 11201
(718) 780-6529 or (718) 488-1011
|Rochester Institute of Technology
One Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623-5603
(585) 475-2241 or (585) 475-2411
College of Health Related Professions
450 Clarkson Ave., Box 60
Brooklyn, NY 11203
|Western Suffolk BOCES
152 Laurel Hill Rd
Northport, NY 11768
360 Choate Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14220-2094
(716) 827-2497 or (716) 826-1200
|SUNY Upstate Medical University
College of Health Professions
766 Irving Ave
Syracuse, NY 13210
|Hunter Business School
3247 Route 112
Medford, NY 11763
|NY Methodist Hospital
1401 Kings Highway
Brooklyn, NY 11229
Additional Web Links
For more information on medical sonographers, go to the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography website at: http://www.sdms.org/.