Missouri Sonography Tech Careers and Degrees
Diagnostic medical sonography is an ideal career for individuals who like working with people, are detail-oriented, have good hand-eye coordination and are comfortable working with computers and technical equipment.
Receiving Your Sonogram Training in Missouri
Diagnostic medical sonography degree programs are available at several public and not-for-profit schools in Missouri, including the Hillyard Technical Center, Rolla Technical Institute, Saint Louis Community College and the University of Missouri-Columbia. The sonography programs at these schools take 42 credit hours, or two years, to complete and incorporate both classroom work and clinical education.
Some of the courses in the diagnostic medical sonography program include medical terminology, introductory diagnostic medical ultrasounds, ultrasound clinical foundations and medical ethics. Other courses provide students the opportunity to specialize through courses in medical sonography, scanning techniques in medical sonography, cardiac sonography, cardiac sonography scanning techniques, vascular technology and scanning techniques in vascular technology. You must also complete practicums.
In order to complete training, you must gain hands-on experience in the field. This includes participating in clinical rotations. Prior to completing fieldwork, you must pass a background check and drug tests. You may have to complete their clinical hours at more than one location.
Sonography Technician Licensing in Missouri
Although there are no specific licensing requirements for Missouri sonography technicians, but acquiring professional certification can make you more appealing to potential employers. The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) offers specialization exams in cardiac sonography, vascular technology and musculoskeletal technology. They also have credentials so you can specialize in working with the abdomen, breast, fetal echocardiography, neurosonology and other areas. You must also take a sonography principles and instrumentation exam. Both exams must be completed within five years of one another, but there is no specific order. You must keep your certification current by taking continuing education courses.
Career Outlook for Sonogram Technicians in Missouri
The employment of diagnostic medical sonographers is expected to increase by about 44% between 2010 and 2020, which is much higher than the average rate of employment for all careers. This is due, in part, to baby boomers growing older and needing imaging done to identify tumors, blood clots and other medical conditions. Although most sonogram technicians work in hospitals, some work in physician’s offices, outpatient care centers and diagnostic and medical laboratories, according to the BLS.
Sonogram technicians are responsible for preparing the imaging equipment and applying gel to the body so the instrument can distinguish sound waves to take images. They must check the whole area they’re imaging and be familiar with the body parts so they can identify abnormal images and focus on them so the doctor can give an accurate diagnosis. They also need to keep records of the findings, so that any changes are easily noticeable.
Abdominal sonographers take images of the abdominal cavity, the liver, kidneys, gallbladder, spleen and pancreas. Breast sonographers take images of breast tissue, which can be used to detect breast cancer. Neurosonographers take images of the brain and nervous systems. Individuals can also specialize in musculoskeletal sonography or obstetric and gynecologic sonography.