A sonographer is a trained medical professional who uses diagnostic equipment to view and collect images from inside the human body. Medical doctors use these images to diagnose medical conditions and develop treatment plans. To become a sonographer, one must go through a training program that includes certification and hands-on learning experience.
Individuals who work in sonography are not physicians, but medical technicians, and are referred to as sonographers. Vascular technologists are sonographers whose specialty is the vascular system. Additionally, someone who wishes to become a sonographer generally chooses an area of specialization such as obstetrics/gynecology, ophthalmology, breast or abdomen imaging, echocardiography, or neurosonology.
Depending upon the program chosen, to become a sonographer, one usually completes a series of courses that may last from one to four years. Additionally, many programs include work experience training in which a prospective sonographer works as part of a medical team to learn and apply sonography skills and knowledge. An ultrasound technician is generally required to pass a certification exam and take part in a clinical internship, which may last from three to six months. Prerequisites to these programs often include a high school diploma or GED. There are several types of accreditation organizations, which specialize in registering and rating appropriate programs.
To become a sonographer, a qualified professional must have experience working in ultrasonography, which is also referred to as sonography. This practice utilizes medical equipment that uses high frequency sound waves, or ultrasound, to create pictures of organs and systems within the human body. Once the ultrasound is captured, a sonographer produces a sonogram or ultrasound scan, which is the visual representation of these sound waves. Different than an x-ray, an ultrasound scan does not use radiation technology.
Sonograms are used to analyze and diagnose a wide range of conditions such as heart disease and cancers of specific organs. Additionally, sonograms are commonly used to view and collect information from a patient’s reproductive system, prostate, and blood vessels. In some cases, a sonogram is necessary to assist in a tissue biopsy procedure.
One who wishes to become a sonographer must have a set of qualifications outside of their medical training, certification, and experience. Sonographers must be comfortable performing invasive procedures, be compassionate in treating patients, be physically fit enough to move heavy equipment and patients, and be prepared to spend most of their day standing on their feet. Additionally, one who wishes to become a sonographer should be prepared to assist in recording information, using computers, scheduling, and in some cases, supervising others.