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Exploring Sonography Careers: What Is Pediatric Sonography?

March 4, 2020  |  Category: Sonography

A sonographer uses an ultrasound device on a woman.

Every professional in the healthcare industry plays an important role in ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of their patients. This means that in order to provide the best possible care, each of these professionals needs to be an expert in their field, but how do you decide which specialty to pursue?

Typically, students look for disciplines that are interesting and fulfilling, allow for ample job opportunities, and provide a positive working environment. In the world of healthcare, there is one growing industry that checks all of those boxes: diagnostic medical sonography.

Exploring Sonography Careers

The Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography defines sonography as “a diagnostic medical procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce dynamic visual images of organs, tissues, or blood flow inside the body.” This noninvasive procedure has been part of the healthcare industry since the 1940s, and it continues to play a vital role in modern medicine. For this reason, sonographers are needed at a variety of healthcare facilities and thus have a wide range of job opportunities.

Sonographers use imaging equipment, such as an ultrasound machine, to obtain images of the inside of a patient’s body. These images enable doctors and other medical professionals to accurately diagnose and treat patients, making sonography a very important part of the healthcare process.

Sonography is a highly attractive field for many students because it offers a very positive, low-stress work environment. In fact, Forbes named sonography the least stressful career of 2017. Given that many medical professionals work in stressful and high-stakes environments, some students may be drawn to a career that allows them to help others in a calmer setting.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that 60% of American sonographers worked in hospitals (including state, local, and private) during 2018. However, sonographers may also work in physician’s offices, medical laboratories, and outpatient facilities.

What Is Pediatric Sonography?

While there are many specialties a sonographer can pursue, a particularly well-known one is pediatric sonography. This field of sonography focuses on children’s health, both as they develop in the womb and after they are born. Pediatric sonography can help obstetricians identify potential problems during fetal development, which allows them to treat both mother and baby more effectively.

During a pediatric ultrasound, a sonographer will use imaging technology to capture an image of a fetus inside a mother’s uterus. This allows doctors to assess a baby’s development and ensure that the baby is growing normally and at an appropriate rate. Ultrasound images give doctors vital insights, which can sometimes lead to adjustments in the mother’s treatment plan. For example, when a baby appears to be getting too large for a natural birth, a doctor might decide to induce labor early. This type of essential decision cannot be made without the imaging a sonographer provides.

However, pediatric sonography is not solely limited to prenatal care. Pediatric sonographers also perform ultrasounds on young children, helping to identify the source of pain in the abdominal, pelvic, or scrotal areas, for example. These images can play a vital role in effective pediatric healthcare.

Because pediatric sonographers are so important to children’s health and wellness, it is crucial that they are highly trained and professional individuals. Pediatric sonographers must be detail oriented, excellent communicators, and technically savvy — which means they need a superior education.

How To Have a Career in Pediatric Sonography

Becoming a professional pediatric sonographer requires at least two years of school at an institution that has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. Universities that offer sonography certification programs often award students with an associate’s degree in sonography or health sciences.

After graduation, aspiring sonographers must take a certification exam given by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS), American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT), or Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI). After passing the test, they are officially certified sonographers. To specialize further, sonographer can take the Pediatric Sonography certification exam offered by the ARDMS.

Once a student earns their sonography certification, they can look forward to a career that is both emotionally and financially rewarding. According to the BLS, the median salary for sonographers in 2018 was $72,510. In addition, the BLS anticipates a 14% growth in sonography careers by 2028. Individuals who pursue advanced education in the field can expect to receive a higher salary and have access to a greater wealth of career options.

Advance Your Sonography Career Today

If you are a registered sonographer who wants to take your career to the next level, you should consider earning your Bachelor of Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography degree at AdventHealth University Online. The flexible program allows you to work at your own speed, gaining a competitive edge and pursuing your career at the same time.

Recommended Readings
How to Become a Sonographer
How to Start a Sonography Career
Safety Concerns for Sonographers

Sources
ARDMS, How to Become a Sonographer
Forbes, “The 10 Least Stressful Jobs in 2017”
Radiology Business, “Healthcare Dominates 2019 Best Jobs Report, but What About Careers in Imaging?”
RadiologyInfo.org, “Children’s (Pediatric) Ultrasound — Abdomen”
SDMS, Understanding Sonography
SDMS, What Is Sonography?
UpToDate, “Ultrasound Examination in Obstetrics and Gynecology”
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians, Including Vascular Technologists