Bolstered by a rapidly expanding aggregate of hospitals, physicians’ offices and medical laboratories now depending on technology to replace invasive and costly procedures, the number of job openings for diagnostic medical sonographers is projected to increase by 39 percent in coming years, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Practitioners that have earned credentials in several disciplines stand a greater chance of securing high-paying wages. In Los Angeles, sonographers earn an average annual salary of more than $75,000, based on current employment data.
“Sports medicine, which once used only MRIs to diagnose a problem, now relies primarily on ultrasounds because they provide clear results instantly,” said Jean Sewah, an accomplished diagnostic medical sonographer at Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center. “Radiology is a rapidly evolving field, with a growing number of ultrasound applications.”
Sewah holds compulsory ARDMS certifications that allow him to investigate potentially harmful changes within the abdominal, breast, vascular, obstetrics and gynecological structures of human anatomy. He is also trained to perform pediatric and musculoskeletal sonography. The Kaplan College alumnus said his position is becoming a consequential vocation within the expanse of medical technology.
“Diagnostic medical sonographers will play an even more critical role in helping to identify diseases that were once difficult to see in their early stages,” Sewah said. “As technology continues to advance, our roles will become even more important.”
What characterizes an effective sonographer?
“A good sonographer must be well-versed in physics, infectious diseases and oncology. A great sonographer should be able to interact well with patients and seek ways to improve his or her skills by reading up on the latest advances in this field.”
What helps make sonographers more employable?
“They must be certified to provide both general and vascular ultrasound diagnoses. The wider their skill-set, the more marketable they are. Anyone considering a career in this field must learn to perform as many different types of ultrasounds as possible.”
What is your advice to aspiring sonographers?
“They should be prepared to work hard and with a great attitude. Remember, it’s not just about patient care, but providing the best care to every patient, every time.”
Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to Examiner.com.