a dark blue TraitLab logo
Pricing Sign up

Have an account? Sign in

Career profile Sonographer

Also known as Cardiac Sonographer, Cardiac/Vascular Sonographer, Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, Medical Sonographer, Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS), Sonographer, Staff Sonographer, Ultrasonographer, Ultrasound Technician (Ultrasound Tech), Ultrasound Technologist (Ultrasound Tech)

Sonographer

Also known as Cardiac Sonographer, Cardiac/Vascular Sonographer, Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

Interests Profile
  • Investigative
  • Social
  • Realistic
Pay Range
$53,790 - $105,340 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Active Listening
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Speaking
Knowledge Areas
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Physics
  • Medicine and Dentistry
Core tasks
  • Observe screen during scan to ensure that image produced is satisfactory for diagnostic purposes, making adjustments to equipment as required.
  • Observe and care for patients throughout examinations to ensure their safety and comfort.
  • Provide sonogram and oral or written summary of technical findings to physician for use in medical diagnosis.
Is Sonographer the right career path for you?

Would Sonographer be a good fit for you?

Explore how your personality fits with Sonographer and hundreds of other career paths.

Create your free account

What does a Sonographer do?

Sonographers produce ultrasonic recordings of internal organs for use by physicians.

In addition, Sonographers includes vascular technologists.

What kind of tasks does a Sonographer perform regularly?

Sonographers are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Observe screen during scan to ensure that image produced is satisfactory for diagnostic purposes, making adjustments to equipment as required.
  • Observe and care for patients throughout examinations to ensure their safety and comfort.
  • Provide sonogram and oral or written summary of technical findings to physician for use in medical diagnosis.
  • Select appropriate equipment settings and adjust patient positions to obtain the best sites and angles.
  • Operate ultrasound equipment to produce and record images of the motion, shape, and composition of blood, organs, tissues, or bodily masses, such as fluid accumulations.
  • Decide which images to include, looking for differences between healthy and pathological areas.
  • Prepare patient for exam by explaining procedure, transferring patient to ultrasound table, scrubbing skin and applying gel, and positioning patient properly.
  • Determine whether scope of exam should be extended, based on findings.
  • Obtain and record accurate patient history, including prior test results or information from physical examinations.
  • Maintain records that include patient information, sonographs and interpretations, files of correspondence, publications and regulations, or quality assurance records, such as pathology, biopsy, or post-operative reports.
  • Record and store suitable images, using camera unit connected to the ultrasound equipment.
  • Coordinate work with physicians or other healthcare team members, including providing assistance during invasive procedures.
  • Clean, check, and maintain sonographic equipment, submitting maintenance requests or performing minor repairs as necessary.
  • Perform clerical duties, such as scheduling exams or special procedures, keeping records, or archiving computerized images.
  • Perform legal and ethical duties, including preparing safety or accident reports, obtaining written consent from patient to perform invasive procedures, or reporting symptoms of abuse or neglect.
  • Supervise or train students or other medical sonographers.
  • Maintain stock and supplies, preparing supplies for special examinations and ordering supplies when necessary.
  • Perform medical procedures, such as administering oxygen, inserting and removing airways, taking vital signs, or giving emergency treatment, such as first aid or cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

The above responsibilities are specific to Sonographers. More generally, Sonographers are involved in several broader types of activities:

Assisting and Caring for Others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Documenting/Recording Information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

What is a Sonographer salary?

The median salary for a Sonographer is $75,920, and the average salary is $77,790. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Sonographer salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Sonographers earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Sonographers earn less than $53,790 per year, 25% earn less than $63,020, 75% earn less than $90,940, and 90% earn less than $105,340.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Sonographers is expected to change by 19.0%, and there should be roughly 7,300 open positions for Sonographers every year.

Median annual salary
$75,920
Typical salary range
$53,790 - $105,340
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
19.0%

What personality traits are common among Sonographers?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Sonographer are usually higher in their Investigative, Social, and Realistic interests.

Sonographers typically have very strong Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Also, Sonographers typically have strong Social interests. Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Lastly, Sonographers typically have strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Sonographer tend to value Relationships, Support, and Achievement.

Most importantly, Sonographers strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Second, Sonographers strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Lastly, Sonographers strongly value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Sonographers must consistently demonstrate qualities such as dependability, attention to detail, and integrity.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Sonographers, ranked by importance:

Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Independence
Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

What education and training do Sonographers need?

Sonographers often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Sonographers usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Sonographers

  • 1.2% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 4.3% completed high school or secondary school
  • 12.6% completed some college coursework
  • 35.7% earned a Associate's degree
  • 36.1% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 7.1% earned a Master's degree
  • 3.0% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Sonographers

Sonographers may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as customer and personal service, physics, or medicine and dentistry knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Sonographers might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Physics
Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub-atomic structures and processes.
Medicine and Dentistry
Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
Administrative
Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

Important Abilities needed by Sonographers

Sonographers must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Sonographers need abilities such as oral comprehension, written comprehension, and oral expression in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Sonographers, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

Critical Skills needed by Sonographers

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Sonographers frequently use skills like active listening, reading comprehension, and speaking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Sonographers, ranked by their relative importance.

Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Social Perceptiveness
Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.