There are several different aspects of training that can be taken into consideration for the career field of diagnostic medical sonography. This can make choosing a training method a bit confusing, but at the same time offers you a few more choices than some technical careers do. Diagnostic Medical Sonography schools can be found in almost every state, and chances are there is one near you.
Community colleges, universities, Armed Forces, vocational schools, technical institutions and hospitals are offering diagnostic medical sonography training programs. Some of these programs however, require that the student had some experience in healthcare already, while other programs require a minimum of a high school diploma that consists of courses taken in mathematics, health and science.
Diagnostic medical sonography training programs that are taken at a college or university will typically last between two and four years resulting in either an Associates degree or a bachelors degree. Most common is that of an Associates degree that is earned with two years of schooling. Typically ultrasound technician schools offer courses that consist of classes in physiology, physics, patient care, medical ethics and anatomy. While there are many different schools and universities that offer sonography training programs, it is not only important but vital that the school offers an accredited program.
One year medical sonography programs are also offered that can lead to certification. These one-year certificate programs are in most cases not accredited by the CAAHEP, and are generally taken by people who are already employed and hospitals and doctors offices as a way to increase their demand and marketability in the medical field.
As of right now, no states in the United States require that a diagnostic medical sonographer be licensed. However, because of the high competition level for jobs in the medical field, it is in one’s best interest to become certified or earn a degree to prove to employers that you, as an individual, are self-motivated enough to take the steps involved to land yourself a job in the sonography career field. Having these credentials under your belt will make you more desirable for any hospital or doctor’s office that is seeking to hire a sonographer.
In order to become certified as a diagnostic medical sonographer, you must first become eligible to take the certification examination by either having enough work experience or completing a proper education and training required. There are typically a required number of continuing education hours to maintain your registration after you have been certified. If you pass your exam, the American Registry for diagnostic medical sonography will then certify you as a registered diagnostic medical sonographer. You can become certified for several different specialty areas of the body such as, the abdomen, nervous system, cardiovascular system or the breast.
Once basic training has been completed, a sonographer can then seek advanced training that will allow them the ability to be certified in more than one area of the body. What this will do is allow the sonographer to broaden their opportunities therefore increasing their marketability and chances for promotions and a higher average sonography salary.
Choosing a Career as a a Diagnostic Medical Songrapher comes with many benefits, one of which inlcudes a nice yearly salary. However, like in any job field, not all sonographers will recieve the same pay. There are some obvious variables that will play a large part in determining just how much you can expect to see on your pay checks. What are some of these variables? There are three of them that we will discuss and break down. This career choice requiers a Degree, so obviously your schooling will play a major role in pay. Next, your eperience in the field will come into play, as will your geographic location.
For you personally, how big of a role does salary play in deciding what career path you will follow? True, money is very important and should definately be considered before attending school for a degree or certificate, but there are other factors your should keep close in mind. Money should not be the sole reason you chase or pursue one career over another. Money will only go so far, before you realize that maybe you are not satisfied with your work environment or what you do at your job on a daily basis. This is where research, time and thought really come into play. In further articles we will discuss the job description and duties of a medical sonographer, along with schooling and job oppurtunities.
Schooling Effects Job Placement
In the diagnostic medical sonography career field, school and education are an absolute must. As a young graduate, your schooling background in itself will be the what will effect your diagnostic medical sonography salary. For this reason, anyone job employer will be sure to not only make sure you have the correct schooling required, along with your degree, but they will also be looking deep into your school background. Did you attend an accredited college that offered the correct courses? This will be your employers first and foremost question. Before attending a college or technical school, make sure that it is accredited by consulting with the Comission on Accreditation of Allied Health Programs (CAAHEP). The CAAHEP is responsible for accrediting colleges in diagnostic medical sonography programs in the United States. They have a list of accredited programs on there official website: www.caahep.org.
Experience in the Field
As you live and breath, you can expect to start at the bottom and have to work your way to the best possible salary available to sonographers. Fresh out of college you should never expect to be payed top wages. This is the way of life and everyone in the field before you had to do the same thing. As in most technical skills, you will be taught in classrooms with hands on training and be ready to jump right into your career once you have graduated. Keep in mind that there will most likely come more training after you are hired. This is on-the-job training that you will receive from your employer. No two doctors offices, or medical businesses are run the exact same. For this very reason, you will need to be taught to do your job to a particular standard that will be set by your employer. With time you will prove yourself worthy as an employee, earning trust and respect, along with your pay raises. So, just how much does experience effect your hourly and yearly salary?
Fresh out of college with a degree, you can expect to earn an average sonography salary of $20.00 per hour and move quickly from that point to up to $27.00 per hour within the first 5 years. Over the following next 5 years of your career, you can expect a gradual pay raise of $5 dollars per hour, moving you as high as $32.00 per hour. After 10 years on the job and being well versed in all your job tasks as a sonographer, your pay will continue to increase. Over the remainder of your career, you can expect to hit upwards of $38.00 per hour. Keep in mind that these are national averages and will vary due to the variables mentioned or to follow.
Location, Location, Location!
Location affects a diagnostic medical sonography salary, the same as it effects salaries of different jobs around the world. Pay is largely effected by an areas economy, due to the cost of living, compitition and demand. Two people with the same degree, and experience living in opposite parts of the United States can still expect to see even a large pay scale difference. Someone who lives in Houston Texas will not see the same technician salary as someone who lives in Los Angelas California, Miami Florida or Phoenix Arizona. Although the pay is not the same, the pay will still be addiquate for your regional location.
Location also deals with your physical job location. Who you are hired on with can have a large effect on your sonography salary as well. Working for a small independant medical office will usually earn you a different pay that working for a large hospital, even in the same city. The demand for jobs from one city to the next will also effect largely how much money you will earn over your career span. The demand for diagnostic medical sonography jobs is expected to rise more than average over the next 10 years, showing that if you are looking to start a career in the sonography field and feel that you meet all the required criteria, it is going to be a career with job security providing a great living for you and your family.