Diagnostic Medical SonographyDiagnostic Medical Sonography
You may know the words “ultrasound” and “sonogram” from talking to expectant parents. This testing—described by Trident Technical College as the “use of nonionizing equipment to transmit sound waves at high frequencies into the patient’s body, then collect reflected echoes to form an image”—gets couples excited to start picking out names based on the baby’s sex. But a sonogram actually serves the crucial purpose of monitoring the baby’s health. Plus, a major in diagnostic medical sonography involves much more than producing images of a fetus in order to detect disease. You’ll be using ultrasound techniques to evaluate all kinds of patients’ health and you’ll be prepped to help physicians form their diagnoses. During your studies, you’ll gain an in-depth knowledge of anatomy and pathology, using your knowledge to create accurate ultrasound images. Your program will most likely offer plenty of hands-on experience with the scanning equipment you’ll someday use in the field, and you’ll become skillful in the art of dealing with patients compassionately and professionally. Sonographers are very important to physicians. As a diagnostic medical sonographer, you’ll be responsible not only for producing these ultrasound images but for interpreting them as well. You’ll integrate the images with a patient’s clinical information and pass on your summary to a qualified physician for diagnosis. Specifically, sonography is used to evaluate the heart, gallbladder, kidneys, liver, blood vessels, and pelvic organs, in addition to unborn babies. The ultrasound technique involves forming a two-dimensional image to examine and measure your internal organs and detect any abnormalities. You might choose to specialize in a field such as obstetrics, abdominal, or echocardiography. No matter what your chosen path, as a diagnostic medical sonography major you’ll learn how to operate highly technical equipment, and you’ll be a vital part of evaluating patients’ health and improving their outlook and future.
A broad familiarity with the sciences is vital to a career in Diagnostic Medical Sonography, so fill your schedule with upper-level Biology, Chemistry, and Physics courses. Math courses are also important. This career requires good communication skills as well, so take courses in the humanities—such as English and languages—that will help you improve your reading, writing, and oral communication. Any health or anatomy courses your high school offers will give you a great head start for college.