What Are the Different Types of Sonographers?
September 9 2021 - Are you thinking about becoming a sonographer but aren't sure if it's right for you? The average Diagnostic Medical Sonographer makes about $70,380 per year!
When you're considering becoming a sonographer, there isn't only one type, instead, there are different types of sonographers. It might feel overwhelming to decide which type is the right option for you.
You're in luck! Read on to explore the different types of sonographers and be able to decide which is the right career for you.
What Is a Sonographer?
This is a professional in the healthcare industry who uses ultrasonic imaging equipment. This equipment is used in order to diagnose and learn about the different medical conditions in patients.
Through ultrasound guidance, you'll learn how to maintain communication with patients, offer safety gear, and take diagnostic images of different parts of the body. You can work in medical testing centers or hospitals. Other options include medical facilities, clinics, and private practices.
1. Diagnostic Cardiovascular Sonographer
Sonography jobs in this field will help doctors diagnose medical conditions that can impact the cardiovascular or heart system. Under this position, you might be called an echocardiographic or cardiac sonographer.
They use 3D and 2D images of the heart to find any abnormalities. Doctors can then use this information for treatment and to diagnose problems.
Most sonographers in this field will work in hospitals. Some work in clinics or doctor's offices as well.
2. Obstretric Sonographer
When becoming a sonographer, some take images of fetuses during pregnancy. They can take a look at their development which can help doctors develop health plans for pregnant mothers.
You can also take images of the uterus to find out the due date of the baby and any potential problems. In this role, you can find positions in private practices, outpatient care centers, and maternity wards.
3. Breast Sonographer
Sonography careers can include these specialists who take images of the surrounding tissues and breasts after an abnormal mammogram. You'll take a look at lymph nodes, tissues, and breasts in order to find any abnormalities.
They'll look for tumors, lumps, and cysts. These sonographers can also help diagnose cancer or find potential cancer growth. In this role, you'll work in women's health centers, hospitals, or oncology centers.
4. Neurosonology Sonographer
This is a bit different than a traditional sonogram or ultrasound. You'll use the frequencies and beam shapes from a Transcranial Doppler. It'll measure blood flow in the vessels in the brain.
Some will be able to help with infants who are experiencing neurological disorders. Infants who receive this include those with a low birth rate, premature babies, and babies whose mothers didn't take care of themselves while pregnant.
5. Musculoskeletal Sonography
This type of sonography will allow a doctor to find any abnormalities in the ligaments and soft tissues of the muscles. Musculoskeletal sonography will allow your doctor to be able to see any damages in the different parts of the joints.
6. Gynecologic Sonography
This is where you'll perform examinations of the female pelvic anatomy. You'll either use transvaginal or transabdominal ultrasound methods.
They're performed when it's not related to pregnancy. Abnormal bleeding or pelvic pain are common reasons to need this. They can find uterine fibroids and ovarian cysts.
7. Abdominal Sonography
This is where you'll examine the soft tissues and organs of the abdominal region. It can include the gallbladder, liver, spleen, pancreas, kidney, and biliary system.
Kidney stones, gallstones, pancreatic masses, and liver cirrhosis can be found through this. If you're experiencing abnormal laboratory testing, abdominal pain, or nausea/vomiting, then you might be a candidate for this.
You'll be able to help doctors make decisions on procedures that drain excess fluid and biopsies of the soft tissue. Excess fluid can be drained from the chest or abdomen.
Important Skills To Have
First, you'll want to have strong communication skills. You'll want to explain each step of the imaging process in order to relieve the patient's worries.
Next, you'll need to understand what the doctor orders. After this, you'll need to write a detailed report about the diagnosis for the patient.
Sonographers need to be able to find any irregularities. Through proper experience and training, they'll be able to do this.
Listening skills are important as well. It's vital that you're able to answer questions that the patient has.
How To Become an Ultrasound Technician?
In order to break into sonography careers, you'll need to receive your Associate's in diagnostic ultrasound. While some programs are accelerated and will allow you to learn the job quicker, they normally take 2+ years depending on the prerequisites.
You'll study physics, biology, anatomy, physiology, and others. You'll learn the different parts of the job such as learning about consultations with doctors to make proper diagnoses.
You can also learn about:
- A specific field of sonography
- How to interact with nervous patients
- How to use equipment to perform the different tests
- Which parts of the body can receive an ultrasound
The different credentials you can earn include:
- RVT (Vascular Technology Exam)
- RDCS (Pediatric Echocardiography, Fetal Echocardiography, Adult Echocardiography)
- RDMS (Breast, Abdomen, OB/GYN, Pediatric Sonography, Fetal Echocardiography)
- RMSKS (Musculoskeletal Sonographer)
- Midwife Sonography Certificate (No special examination necessary)
- Exploring the Different Types of Sonographers
After exploring this guide, you should have a better idea of the different types of sonographers. Take your time exploring the different types and determining which is the right fit for you.
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