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California Health Occupations Directory

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

Diagnostic Medical SonographerDiagnostic Medical Sonographers also known as ultrasonographers, or ultrasound technologists, use special equipment to direct high frequency sound waves into areas of the patient's body. Sonographers operate the equipment, which collects reflected echoes and forms an image that may be videotaped, transmitted, or photographed for interpretation and diagnosis by a physician.

Sonographers begin by examining the procedure to the patient and recording any medical history that may be relevant to the condition being viewed. Although techniques vary, Sonographers usually spread a special gel on the skin to aid the transmission of sound waves. They then select appropriate equipment settings and direct the patient to move into positions that will provide the best view. To perform the exam, Sonographers use a transducer, which transmits sounds waves in a cone or rectangle-shaped beam.

Viewing the screen during the scan, Sonographers look for subtle visual cues that contrast healthy areas from unhealthy ones. They decide whether the images are satisfactory for diagnostic purposes and select which ones to show to the physician.

Educational Programs/Qualifications

Completion of training in hospitals, the Armed Forces, vocational-technical institutions or formal training at a college or university with either a two-year associate or four-year bachelors degree is required. A State license is not required. However, registration with the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) is desirable. To maintain current registration, 30 hours of continuing education every three years is required.


Links to Additional Career Information

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs                                                                                          

Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography

American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

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