Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

Produce ultrasonic recordings of internal organs for use by physicians. Includes vascular technologists.

Sample of reported job titles: Cardiac Sonographer, Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, Medical Sonographer, Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS), Sonographer, Staff Sonographer, Ultrasonographer, Ultrasound Technician (Ultrasound Tech), Ultrasound Technologist (Ultrasound Tech)

Occupation-Specific Information

Tasks

  • Observe screen during scan to ensure that image produced is satisfactory for diagnostic purposes, making adjustments to equipment as required.
  • Observe and care for patients throughout examinations to ensure their safety and comfort.
  • Provide sonogram and oral or written summary of technical findings to physician for use in medical diagnosis.
  • Select appropriate equipment settings and adjust patient positions to obtain the best sites and angles.
  • Operate ultrasound equipment to produce and record images of the motion, shape, and composition of blood, organs, tissues, or bodily masses, such as fluid accumulations.
  • Decide which images to include, looking for differences between healthy and pathological areas.
  • Prepare patient for exam by explaining procedure, transferring patient to ultrasound table, scrubbing skin and applying gel, and positioning patient properly.
  • Determine whether scope of exam should be extended, based on findings.
  • Obtain and record accurate patient history, including prior test results or information from physical examinations.
  • Maintain records that include patient information, sonographs and interpretations, files of correspondence, publications and regulations, or quality assurance records, such as pathology, biopsy, or post-operative reports.
  • Record and store suitable images, using camera unit connected to the ultrasound equipment.
  • Coordinate work with physicians or other healthcare team members, including providing assistance during invasive procedures.
  • Clean, check, and maintain sonographic equipment, submitting maintenance requests or performing minor repairs as necessary.
  • Perform clerical duties, such as scheduling exams or special procedures, keeping records, or archiving computerized images.
  • Perform legal and ethical duties, including preparing safety or accident reports, obtaining written consent from patient to perform invasive procedures, or reporting symptoms of abuse or neglect.
  • Supervise or train students or other medical sonographers.
  • Perform medical procedures, such as administering oxygen, inserting and removing airways, taking vital signs, or giving emergency treatment, such as first aid or cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
  • Maintain stock and supplies, preparing supplies for special examinations and ordering supplies when necessary.
  • Process and code film from procedures and complete appropriate documentation.
  • Load and unload film cassettes used to record images from procedures.

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Technology Skills

Hot technology Hot Technologies are requirements frequently included in employer job postings.

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Occupational Requirements

Work Activities

  • Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
  • Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
  • Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
  • Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
  • Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
  • Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
  • Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
  • Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
  • Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
  • Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.

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Detailed Work Activities

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Work Context

  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 89% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Contact With Others — 90% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Physical Proximity — 85% responded “Very close (near touching).”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 80% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 93% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 81% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 80% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Exposed to Disease or Infections — 66% responded “Every day.”
  • Telephone — 79% responded “Every day.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 66% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 67% responded “Every day.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 73% responded “Every day.”
  • Deal With External Customers — 68% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 46% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 47% responded “Very important results.”
  • Time Pressure — 63% responded “Every day.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 70% responded “Every day.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 36% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 41% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Consequence of Error — 34% responded “Extremely serious.”
  • Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 29% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 27% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Electronic Mail — 40% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Sitting — 43% responded “About half the time.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 38% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
  • Spend Time Standing — 59% responded “About half the time.”
  • Level of Competition — 25% responded “Highly competitive.”

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Experience Requirements

Job Zone

Title
Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed
Education
Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.
Related Experience
Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.
Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples
These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include hydroelectric production managers, travel guides, electricians, agricultural technicians, barbers, court reporters, and medical assistants.
SVP Range
1-2 years of preparation (6.0 to < 7.0)

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Training & Credentials

State training
Local training
Certifications
State licenses
Apprenticeships
Have a career path or location in mind? Visit Apprenticeship.gov external site to find apprenticeship opportunities near you.

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Worker Requirements

Skills

  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
  • Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Operations Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
  • Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
  • Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.

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Knowledge

  • Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Physics — Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub-atomic structures and processes.
  • Medicine and Dentistry — Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • Administrative — Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.
  • Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Psychology — Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

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Education

How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:

  • 47%
     
    responded: Associate’s degree required
  • 19%
     
    responded: Post-secondary certificate required
  • 17%
     
    responded: Bachelor’s degree required

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Worker Characteristics

Abilities

  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
  • Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
  • Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Speed of Closure — The ability to quickly make sense of, combine, and organize information into meaningful patterns.
  • Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.

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Interests

Interest code: ISR
Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
  • Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
  • Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

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Work Values

  • Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
  • Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.

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Work Styles

  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
  • Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

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Workforce Characteristics

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2021)
$37.38 hourly, $77,740 annual
State wages
Local wages
Employment (2020)
75,900 employees
Projected growth (2020-2030)
Much faster than average (15% or higher)
Projected job openings (2020-2030)
7,300
State trends
Top industries (2020)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data external site and 2020-2030 employment projections external site. “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

State job openings
Local job openings

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More Information

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