Four Hot Specializations in Ultrasound
Ultrasound--or diagnostic medical sonography--is a rapidly growing career field in the medical professions. Because ultrasound technology is a non-invasive procedure, physicians and patients often prefer using sonography for gathering diagnostic data over radiation alternatives that may produce harmful side effects. The Department of Labor predicts solid 19 percent job growth for the field during the decade of 2006 through 2016.
There are associate degrees and bachelor's degree programs in medical sonography providing detailed career training in the use of ultrasound technology to record sound echoes, as well as covering coursework in hard sciences (including basic physics, anatomy, and patient procedures).
For those who want to specialize in an ultrasound niche where well-trained grads are in top demand, consider these four sub-fields of the science:
Neurosonographers are ultrasound technicians that focus on taking images of the nervous system and the brain. You may be asked to help with neonatal care or in helping detect abnormalities in blood vessels.
Breast sonographers work at the front lines of the battle against breast cancer, taking diagnostic sound images of tissues and blood supply. They may be critical in early tumor detection that saves lives.
Abdominal sonographers are employed to help physicians diagnose disease or disorders with organs of the main abdominal cavity: the kidneys, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, and liver.
Ophthalmologic sonographers help eye specialists to detect abnormalities such as tumors, blood clots, detached retinas, and other problems.
More than half of ultrasound jobs occur in public and private hospitals, although sonographers also work in clinics, diagnostic laboratories, and with companies in the ever-growing field of mobile imaging. There are no state laws governing the registration of diagnostic medical sonographers, but graduates of many online Ultrasound degree programs seek optional credentials and registration with the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography.