Ultrasound technicians can work in a variety of settings, most of which depend upon their specialization. Popular ultrasound technician specializations may include echocardiography, gastroenterology, obstetrics (OB/GYN), neurology, and ophthalmology.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) more than 50% of ultrasound technicians work in general medical and surgical hospitals. Other popular places of employment include medical and diagnostic laboratories, physicians’ offices, outpatient care centers, and educational facilities. Where you work as a diagnostic medical sonographer may also affect your expected salary range.
Total Employment by Industry:
|Annual Mean Wage
|General Medical and Surgical Hospitals
|Offices of Physicians
|Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories
|Outpatient Care Centers
|Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2013)
According to the BLS, most ultrasound technicians work a regular 40-hour workweek. Although since many medical facilities are open 24/7, ultrasound technicians may be required to work overnight, weekends, and evenings. Sonographers may also be required to fulfill on-call emergency shifts at hospitals and other medical facilities. For those who work in mobile testing medical laboratories, travel may be required to reach communities that do not have access to ultrasound technology equipment.
Ultrasound technicians often work in physically and emotionally demanding environments. They tend to complete most of their work at diagnostic imaging machines found in dimly lit rooms, although they may also work at patients’ bedsides. In addition, they spend much of their day on their feet and are constantly walking. They may also have to lift or move the heavy imaging equipment themselves as well as move disabled patients or adjust their positions on a bed. While diagnostic medical sonographers may get to share happy news with patients, such as information about fetal ultrasounds, they may also have to deal with notifying patients about unfortunate news regarding certain health ailments.