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?
According to the 2018 BLS, the average salary for full time, diagnostic medical sonographers nationwide was $73,860, varying by specialty and geographic region. Average annual salary also varies greatly across New York State, depending on location. The NYSDOL reports that diagnostic medical sonographers in New York earned an average annual salary of $75,640, (entry level-$60,630, experienced- $83,140).
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 2016 and 2026, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the total number of DMS jobs nationwide will increase by 23.2%, and in New York will increase to 26.9%.
For more information on the need for DMSs by New York State labor regions, 2014-2024, 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
1 University Plaza
Brooklyn, New York 11201
|Rochester Institute of Technology
One Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623
College of Health Related Professions
450 Clarkson Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11203
|Western Suffolk BOCES
152 Laurel Hill Rd
Northport, NY 11768
360 Choate Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14220
|SUNY Upstate Medical University
College of Health Professions
750 East Adams St
Syracuse, NY 13210
|Hunter Business School
3247 Route 112
Medford, NY 11763
|Center for Allied Health Education
1401 Kings Highway
Brooklyn, NY 11229
|Alfred State College of Tech
10 Upper College Dr
Alfred, NY 14802
| NY Medical Career Training Center
36-09 Main Street
Flushing, NY 11354
|The CURE Center
for Ultrasound Research & Education
333 Westchester Ave
White Plains, NY 10604
Additional Web Links
For more information on medical sonographers, go to the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography website at: http://www.sdms.org/.