About diagnostic medical sonography

Diagnostic medical sonography uses ultrasound, or high-frequency sound waves, to identify and diagnose diseases in body organs and tissues.

The diagnostic medical sonographer is a health care professional who performs diagnostic ultrasound examinations under a physician’s supervision. To perform imaging on patients in the clinical setting, sonographers are required to integrate medical knowledge of anatomy and physiology, pathology and ultrasound physics. Among the parts of the body most commonly viewed through ultrasound are the heart and blood vessels, abdominal organs, pelvic organs and pregnant uterus.

Qualified diagnostic medical sonographers are needed in hospitals, clinics, physicians’ offices, medical laboratories, industry and public health. Teachers, managers and researchers in diagnostic ultrasound are also in demand.

Diagnostic medical sonographer profile

  1. Sonographers must have the ability to organize and accurately perform the individual steps of the ultrasound examination in proper sequence.
  2. The sonographer is expected to examine patients who may have communicable diseases and/or other health problems
  3. Sonographers must have the capability to be independently mobile.
  4. Sonographers must have the hearing and visual acuity sufficient to perform ultrasound examinations, observe patients, read monitors, and document and hear equipment alarms.
  5. Sonographers must have the ability to:
  • Transport patients from wheelchairs and patient carts to an examination table (to lift more than 50 pounds routinely)
  • Sit/stand for prolonged periods of time
  • Work with arms routinely
  • Push and pull routinely
  • Kneel and squat routinely
  • Work within a limited space
  • Transport mobile ultrasound equipment to patient rooms, operating rooms and research laboratories 

The U.S. Department of Labor stated that employment of diagnostic medical sonographers was expected to grow to more than 12,000 openings between 2020 and 2030, which is much more growth than the average for all occupations. Learn more