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Career profile: So you want to be a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

Perla Valadez

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Sonographers work with high frequency sound waves created by ultrasound equipment  to capture images of patients organs. They are also able to monitor fetuses in the womb. An advantage is being able to find the gender of other patients baby. This way you are able to work with baby’s but do not actually have to interfere with them at the same time. To work in tie career you have to be able to communicate with patients and relax them. At times there will be bad news but you have to remain calm, to keep the patients calm also.

Who can do this?  Have excellent patient care 
What does it take?  Associates or Bachelors  
Where can you get it?  

 

About a year and a half of prerequisites, and the actual program is 2 years, and then you must do clinical training, so it would take about 4 years.  
Where can you get it?    2-year community college or 4-year university. 
Why should you do it?  It’s a job that will always be hiring, it has a great security. There’s clinics in almost every town or city.  
How much will you make?   About $30 an hour as soon as you’re done with school. 

Starting Salary:$64,370    

Median Salary:$75,490 

 

There are 13 schools that offer Sonography. The closest schools are Triton college and College of DuPage. Triton cost about $306.20 per credit hour and a $16 fee per credit hour. A smart choice would be to  find out more information to know if you qualify to pay Morton college prices, but still attend Triton since Morton doesn’t have the program. While DuPage offers a credit hour for $322 or $15,680 for the 18 month program and $1,893 for books and supplies. To live on off campus housing its estimated to be $9,153. DuPage offers about 160 eligible scholarships with some covering all tuition and fees. Out of the 13 schools in the state, none are for profit organizations.

 

What personal characteristics do you believe are required to be successful in this career? You have excellent patient care, you must make sure you really take care of the patient, of course were taking pictures but our main priority is taking care of our patients.  

What are the biggest challenges in your job?  Biggest challenges are when you have bad news, so if you’re scanning a patient and the baby is not alive or they have cancer, you have to have a poker face. Sometimes they know because the doctor sends them for an ultrasound to confirm it and they come into the room crying because they already know. 

What is one thing that you would change that you didn’t do in the best way? I would of done this younger because I went to school for a bachelors in English, but you can’t get a nice paying job in English, so I went back for this when I was in my late twenties. 

How much security is there for people in your fielding? Now it’s fantastic, the job openings are wide open. They say the 24% growth in the next 10 years.  

What other jobs can you do with the skills you have gained? You can specialize, you can do just babies, or just hearts, just vascular, or work in a hospital where you’ll do a little bit of everything, which I like better, or you can become a radiology manager or a teacher.  

Were there any times when you wanted to give up? It’s very hard when you’re first leaning because you have to learn all the anatomy, all the physiology, what it looks like on ultrasound, what abnormal looks on ultrasound, what this disease looks like this, but this disease looks like that. Plus all these button on the machine. You think, holy cow there’s no way I’m ever going to learn all this. But then with practice, with time then you get better.  

What is the worst part of the job? It can be painful for your arm, I got a shoulder replacement because all day you have to do this (circle motion with ultrasound equipment), other people have also gotten Carpal tunnel.  

How many years have you been in the field, and how much are you paid? About 25 years and $46 an hour.  

What is the difference between getting a bachelors and an associates? You can do this with a bachelors, some places offer associates, but they make the same amount of money, it just takes longer and its more money.

Does watching medical shows bother you, such as Grays Anatomy? Yes it makes all of us mad because they’re scanning the ribs, but on a monitor, a baby comes up. Or they scan a patients with clothes over and you cant do that. You need to have contact with the skin.

What is the purpose of the gel that you rub on before scanning? The machine doesn’t scan though air, so the gel fills in the gap in between the patient and the scanner. And it also acts as a lubricant so it doesn’t burn the patient.

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Career profile: So you want to be a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer