OB/GYN sonography involves ultrasounds performed on the pelvic region of female patients and fetuses. Within OB/GYN you may specialize in either obstetric or gynecologic sonography. Obstetric sonography uses abdominal ultrasound scans to determine information about an unborn fetus. The scans provide data about estimated date of delivery, gestational development, and gestational size and weight. Gynecological sonography uses transvaginal or transabdominal ultrasound scans to examine the internal female reproductive system, including the fallopian tubes, ovaries, vagina, and uterus. The overall goal of OB/GYN sonography is to ensure that the patient or fetus is healthy and there are no abnormalities.
OB/GYN Sonography Job Duties
As an OB/GYN sonographer you may work closely with patients and new mothers concerned about the status of their unborn child, and therefore you must maintain a sense of decorum and show genuine concern. If you focus on obstetrics, you may identify the size of the fetus’s organs and other body parts. Gynecological sonographers capture clear images of the internal female organs.
Upon completion of the scans, OB/GYN sonographers may share abnormalities with physicians. However, ultrasound technicians are not physicians and remain legally prohibited from making a diagnosis as to patients’ conditions. Other duties you may complete include:
- Review patients’ medical history
- Explain specific medical procedures to patients
- Position patients for optimal imaging
- Observe the weight of the fetus
- Operate ultrasound equipment
- Determine if further examination is necessary
OB/GYN Sonography Education
Education requirements for OB/GYN sonographers may depend on the chosen area of specialization such as obstetrics, gynecology, or both. You may choose among associate or bachelor’s degrees as well as certificate or diploma programs. The most common option for new OB/GYN sonographers is the two-year associate degree program. Bachelor’s degree options are available to those who wish to pursue more administrational roles in sonography. Schools generally may offer degree or certificate programs in general diagnostic medical imaging but feature specializations in obstetrics and gynecology. Many programs include externships where students gain hands-on experience using the transabdominal and transvaginal scanning equipment.
OB/GYN Sonography Courses
Students enrolled in OB/GYN courses may study ultrasound applications used in obstetrics and gynecology. They may take courses concentrating on gynecological areas, including endometrial disorders, transvaginal imaging, and adnexal masses. Students may also learn how to identify pathologies of the fetus, uterus, and ovaries by examining ultrasound images. Examples of the types of classes students may complete include:
- Female Reproductive Scanning
- Medical Terminology
- Practical Aspects of Sonography
- Superficial Structures and Neonatal Brain
- Applications of 3D Obstetrical Ultrasound
OB/GYN Sonography Certification
You may obtain certification through the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS), which offers an OB/GYN specialty examination. Upon successful completion of the exam, which includes receiving at least a score of 555 out of 700, you may earn the title of Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS). However, prior to completing the Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN) specialty exam you must pass the Sonography Principles and Instrumentation (SPI) exam, which tests the knowledge of ultrasound technology and procedures. The RDMS certification exam should take no more than five hours to complete. Once certified, you will be required to complete at least 30 hours of continuing education credits every three years.
OB/GYN Sonography Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the annual mean annual wage of diagnostic medical sonographers is $67,170 while the mean hourly salary is $32.29. California ranks as the state with the highest-paying annual mean salary of $86,550. Salary ranges may differ depending upon the area of focus, whether it is in obstetric or gynecologic sonography. Salary may also differ whether you are working in specialty hospitals, outpatient care centers, general medical and surgical hospitals, physicians’ offices, or in medical and diagnostic laboratories. Other factors that may affect salary are years of experience, certification, and education.