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Types of Sonography: Which Field Is Right for You?

May 28, 2014 General 0 Comments

Types of Sonography: Which Field is Right for You?Sonographers employ ultrasound imagery to display different sections of the body's internal organs. A vital field of healthcare, it is a profession that will only grow in importance as the population ages and the number of people with chronic diseases increases. Before you begin studying as a sonographer, consider the different types of sonography you can specialize in.

National Organizations

There are several national associations that can help steer you in the right direction, offering ample personal testimonials and detailed information on each organization. Among these is the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (SDMS), which also offers certification, and links to other organizations and sonographers themselves. The American Society of Echocardiography (ASM) does the same, but with a focus on this specialized field.

Others include the American Institute of Ultrasound Medicine (AIUM), the Society of Pediatric Echocardiography (SPE), the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) and the Society for Vascular Ultrasound (SVU).

Technician Versus Technologist

Before launching your sonography career, keep in mind that there is a difference between a sonography technologist and a sonography technician. A technician focuses more on the maintenance of equipment and preparing patients for a procedure. They earn less and usually attend only a certification program. A technologist, on the other hand, begins with an associate degree and often continues for a bachelor's degree in some specialized area within the profession. They actually conduct the sonography procedures themselves, and prepare reports for ordering physicians. For that reason, they earn higher salaries.

Sonography Specializations

A wide variety of specializations await you. Areas of interest among include:

  • Diagnostic cardiovascular sonographers — specialists who employ sonography in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders of the heart and vascular system. Cardiovascular sonographers often specialize even further; for example, into pediatric and fetal sonography.
  • Abdominal sonographers (AB) — work with organs within the abdominal cavity, such as the pancreas, spleen, urinary tract and liver.
  • Obstetric sonographers (OB) — focus on the organs of the female reproductive system.
  • Breast sonographers (BR) — specialize in the use of mammography to screen and evaluate for abnormalities of the breast.
  • Musculoskeletal sonographers (MSK) — evaluate the tissues and joints of the musculoskeletal system.
  • Neurosonology sonographers — work with the brain and nervous system.

There is many other fields that may take your interest, including ones that focus on urology and nephrology (kidneys).

Some areas of the country have an especially high need for sonographers. New York State, for example, has the fourth-highest level of employment in the field, while the Greater New York City area ranks first in the nation in employment level. No matter where you decide to work, choosing a sonography field you a passionate in means your patients are in good hands.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons


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