Using special imaging equipment, medical sonographers (also known as ultrasound technicians) create images and conduct tests to help in the diagnosis and assessment of medical conditions. Some ultrasound technicians are also on hand during surgery to assist physicians and surgeons. As imaging photography continues to improve, demand for qualified medical sonographers could rise nationwide, including in Iowa. This is due to more healthcare companies using ultrasounds as opposed to invasive, less cost-effective procedures.
A formal education is needed to pursue a career as an ultrasound technician. There are a number of sonography schools in Iowa that offer degrees or postsecondary certificates in the field. These include:
In most sonography programs, students can expect instruction to be divided between classroom-based studies and hands-on training in a clinical environment. These programs typically cover all aspects of becoming an ultrasound technician, with some courses offering students the chance to specialize in a particular area of the field. Many graduates then go on to pursue certification in that specialization.
While specific courses may vary, here are some examples of topics commonly covered in a sonography degree program:
No specific licenses are needed in order to become a sonographer in Iowa. However, most employers prefer candidates who have a professional certification in the field. Many insurance providers and Medicare call for sonographers who are certified to carry out the relevant tests and procedures on their patients. These certifications can be achieved through the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) or Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI).
When pursuing these certifications, some students specialize in a particular area, e.g. breast sonography, while others like to remain general with their expertise. In a lot of the certification programs, students will be given the chance to choose a specialist area, with most obtaining at least one of these certificates. Others may go on to achieve several. A Basic Life Support certification that demonstrates a candidate is capable of CPR is also preferred by most employers when they're searching for job candidates.
The map below shows job statistics for the career type by metro area, for Iowa. A table below the map shows job popularity and salaries across the state.
Listed below are metro areas ranked by the popularity of jobs for Sonographers relative to the population of the city. Salary data was obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
2017 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; O*NET® 22.1 Database, O*NET OnLine, National Center for O*NET Development, Employment & Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, onetonline.org
Annual Median Salary
|Des Moines-West Des Moines||160||$63,390|