About the Profession

About the Profession

Type of Degree:
Technical Certificate
Professional Credentials:
Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (subject to passing national certification exam)
Program Accreditation:
Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
Employment Opportunities:
Hospitals, clinics, physician offices, and outpatient imaging centers.

Diagnostic Medical Sonography is a technical science that deals with the use of ultrasound for diagnostic purposes in medicine. Sonographers, also known as ultrasound technologists, use high frequency sound waves to image structures within the body. Diagnostic Medical Sonography offers graduates employment in hospitals, clinics, and private offices. Skilled sonographers can advance to administrative, teaching, research, or sales positions as well as specialized concentrations within the profession. Additional information on the profession can be found at: www.ardms.org

Responsibilities & Skills

The sonographer is responsible for the production of diagnostic images and is a technical assistant to the physician/radiologist. To prepare for this career, sonography students will learn to perform abdomen, obstetrical, gynecological, and small part exams. Students will also be required to learn patient care skills, medical ethics, and the communication skills necessary to function as a member of the health care team. Students will also be trained in the physics of ultrasound and will also learn how to operate ultrasound equipment. Because the Diagnostic Medical Sonography program requires a high concentration in biology and technology, students are encouraged to obtain a strong background in high school sciences (such as biology, chemistry, physics) and math (algebra and geometry.) Computer skills are also recommended.

National Certification

Students who graduate from the DMS program can obtain national certification. Upon successful completion of the program, students will be eligible to take the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) examinations in the areas of Physics & Instrumentation, OB/GYN and Abdomen. To obtain the RDMS credential, an individual must pass the Ultrasound Physics and Instrumentation examination in addition to the Abdomen and/or OB/GYN specialty examination.

Professional Outlook

The job outlook for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers is very good. Nationwide, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 18 percent increase in the number of jobs between 2008 and 2018, faster growth than the average for all jobs. Job growth in Tennessee alone is projected at 24 percent during the same time span. Uniform salary data lags by a few years, but in 2008, the median wage of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers was $29.80, or $62,000 a year. In Tennessee, the rates were slightly lower, with a median of $26.76 an hour, or $55,700.

You can learn much more about this profession on Vol State's Career Pathways site.