Sonography Schools

Medical advances in the past century have led to longer life spans for many people. The average life expectancy in 1900 was less than 50 years in the United States. This increased consistently for a hundred years until it reached almost 78 years of age. As the millennium turned, people continued to gain years in life expectancy. Some of the advances involve knowledge of preventative health, dietary requirements, and simple solutions like improved hygiene. Longer life expectancies can also be attributed to technological advancements in medicine. These advances have bolstered the economy, leading to career growth in the health care industry. In addition to a need for more doctors and nurses, there is a growing demand for trained professional technicians to operate the advanced medical equipment that is used in modern medicine.

One of the most common and useful instruments in the modern hospital is the ultrasound machine. Ultrasound technology, also known as sonography, utilizes sound waves to create images of internal structures in the human body. Introduced into the medical field shortly after World War II, the technology has proven so useful that it trails only the x-ray in popularity in diagnostic imaging. The sounds emitted by an ultrasound’s transducer are inaudible to the human ear, but the sound waves penetrate the body’s exterior and bounce off internal organs, structures, and fluids, sending back a faithful image of the interior of the body. The transducer is usually held by the technician outside the body, but occasionally the transducer is placed within a cavity of the body. These diagnostic procedures require knowledge, patience, and a dedication to professionalism. Those feeling a calling towards medicine and human health might consider a career in sonography.

Because there is no radiation emitted and the procedure is typically very gentle, sonography is widely used in obstetrics and gynecology. OB-GYN ultrasounds are used to show the development and placement of a fetus and to identify problems in related organs. Ultrasound is also useful in emergent care, helping doctors diagnose internal bleeding, infection, and swelling. Ultrasound is also the primary imaging system for examining internal organs such as the spleen, liver, pancreas, and even the brain. Ultrasound technology can also be used to image blood flow through veins and arteries, allowing medical professionals to identify blockages and other cardiovascular issues. Finally, ultrasound machines can be used in semi-invasive procedures such as biopsies to show a physician what is happening inside of the patient’s body. Sonography can image the area being worked on by the physician.

Sonographers, also called ultrasound technicians, learn at sonography schools how to perform ultrasounds and how to use and care for the equipment. Apart from performing ultrasounds, technicians perform administrative tasks like completing patient records. The demands of this job require that ultrasound technicians earn a degree—either a bachelor’s degree or associate’s degree—from a college, university, or sonography school. There are many certificate courses for specialization in sonography, such as neurosonology and OB-GYN sonography. Many hospitals and health care facilities require their ultrasound technicians receive certification from a professional licensing body and earning a sonography school degree includes training to help students easily attain certification. Applicants who successfully complete the educational and licensing requirements will find themselves in a field boasting above-average salaries and employment opportunities. In addition to good pay and opportunities, sonographers tend to have consistent work schedules, with non-emergent ultrasounds being scheduled in advance.

Last Updated: 05/22/2014