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Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (Ultrasound Tech)

Helping physicians diagnose medical conditions through imaging technology

As imaging technology has continued to evolve, medical facilities continue to use ultrasound to replace more invasive, costly procedures. Ultrasound is often less expensive than other imaging technologies and is often used as a first-line tool for diagnosis. Third-party payers encourage the use of these noninvasive measures over invasive ones in order to save on costs. Diagnostic medical sonographers and other diagnostic imaging personnel will continue to be needed in health care settings to provide an alternative to imaging techniques that involve radiation.

The Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (Ultrasound) program at North-West College trains students to develop the skills needed to perform diagnostic studies on patients using ultrasound equipment for diagnosis and interpretation by a physician.

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (Ultrasound Tech)
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Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (Ultrasound Tech) Course Activities

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (Ultrasound Technicians) specialize in creating images of the body’s organs and tissues. The images are known as sonograms (or ultrasounds). Sonograms are often the first imaging test performed when disease is suspected. Diagnostic Medical Sonographers may work closely with physicians or surgeons before, during, and after procedures. The following are examples of types of diagnostic medical sonographers:

  • Abdominal sonographers specialize in imaging a patient’s abdominal cavity and nearby organs, such as the kidney, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, or spleen. Abdominal sonographers may assist with biopsies or other examinations requiring ultrasound guidance.
  • Breast sonographers specialize in imaging a patient’s breast tissues. Sonography can confirm the presence of cysts and tumors that may have been detected by the patient, physician, or a mammogram. Breast sonographers work closely with physicians and assist with procedures that track tumors and help to provide information for making decisions about the best treatment options for breast cancer patients.
  • Musculoskeletal sonographers specialize in imaging muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints. These sonographers may assist with ultrasound guidance for injections, or during surgical procedures that deliver medication or treatment directly to affected tissues.
  • Pediatric sonographers specialize in imaging child and infant patients. Many of the medical conditions they image are associated with premature births or birth defects. Pediatric sonographers may work closely with pediatricians and other caregivers.
  • Obstetric and gynecologic sonographers specialize in imaging the female reproductive system. Many pregnant women receive sonograms to track the baby’s growth and health. Obstetrical sonographers work closely with physicians in detecting congenital birth defects.


Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (Ultrasound Technicians) typically perform the following:

  • Preparing patients for procedures by taking a patient’s medical history and answering any questions about the procedure.
  • Preparing and maintaining diagnostic imaging equipment.
  • Operate equipment to obtain diagnostic images or to conduct tests.
  • Reviewing images or test results to check for quality and adequate coverage of the areas needed for diagnoses.
  • Recognizing the difference between normal and abnormal images and other diagnostic information.
  • Analyzing diagnostic information to provide a summary of findings for physicians.
  • Record findings and keep track of patients’ records.

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