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Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

Diagnostic medical sonographers operate ultrasound equipment to produce and record images of body organs, masses and fetal imaging.

  • Avg. Salary $83,180.00
  • Avg. Wage $44.70
  • Minimum Education 3 years post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed 1,700
  • In Demand High
Also Known As

Medical Sonographer, Sonographer, Ultrasound Technologist

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Medical Sonographers (3216) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Medical Sonographers (D216) 
  • 2011 NOC: Medical sonographers (3216) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

72%
72%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Interest Codes
The Diagnostic Medical Sonographer is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Medical Sonographers
OBJECTIVE

Interest in operating ultrasound imaging equipment and in recording, storing and processing scanned images by using camera unit connected to ultrasound equipment; and in performing quality control checks on ultrasound equipment to ensure proper operation and in performing minor repairs and adjustments

METHODICAL

Interest in speaking with patients while observing and caring for them throughout examinations to ensure their safety and comfort

innovative

Interest in compiling information to aid in the monitoring of pregnancies and the diagnoses of cardiac, abdominal, ophthalmic, vascular and other disorders

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Oct 13, 2016

Diagnostic medical sonographers work as part of a health care team which may include doctors, nurses and other medical technologists. Ultrasound is used to:

  • monitor pregnancies
  • assist in diagnosing heart, vascular, abdominal, pelvic and brain disorders
  • assist in some medical procedures (for example, amniocentesis, biopsies).

In general, diagnostic medical sonographers are involved in:

  • obtaining, reviewing and bringing together pertinent patient history, information from physical examinations and supporting clinical data to facilitate diagnoses
  • producing, assessing and evaluating ultrasound images to aid in diagnoses
  • reporting technical findings to interpreting physicians (sonologists)
  • educating patients and promoting the principles of good health.
Working Conditions
Updated Oct 13, 2016

Diagnostic medical sonographers work in hospital and clinical settings. They may work shifts including some evenings and weekends, and may be required to be on call.

Sonographers often work with patients who are anxious. They assist patients on and off examining tables, and may experience unpleasant sights and odours, and medically stressful situations. Working in awkward positions can cause repetitive strain injuries.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Oct 13, 2016

Medical sonographers need the following characteristics:

  • good physical health including upper body and shoulder strength
  • the stamina required to spend hours on their feet
  • good communication and observation skills
  • the ability to visualize in three dimensions
  • the ability to pay close attention to detail
  • good critical thinking abilities
  • eagerness and perserverance
  • self-direction
  • the ability to handle unpleasant situations
  • teamwork skills.

They should enjoy operating equipment, observing patients to ensure their safety and comfort, and compiling information.

Educational Requirements
Updated Oct 13, 2016

The minimum educational requirement is a three year diploma program in diagnostic medical sonography.


Required Education

The following schools offer programs and courses that meet this occupation’s educational requirements. Other eligible programs and courses may be available.

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

British Columbia Institute of Technology

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Oct 13, 2016

Canadian diagnostic medical sonographers are required to be registered with Sonography Canada. Certification is obtained by successfully passing qualifying examinations.

Continuing education courses is required to maintain certification.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Oct 13, 2016

Since ultrasound does not expose patients to known hazards (as does ionizing radiation or the injection of dyes), its use in medicine is growing rapidly. Ultrasound is used in:

  • internal medicine (abdomen)
  • obstetrics and gynecology
  • ophthamology
  • cardiology
  • neurology
  • vascular studies
  • muscular studies
  • pediatrics.

Most diagnostic medical sonographers work in hospitals or private clinics. In Alberta, 93% of people employed as medical sonographers work in the Health Care and Social Assistance (PDF) industry.

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the  Health Care and Social Assistance industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Oct 13, 2016

For information about current collective agreements in the public and not-for-profit sectors, see the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website.

Medical sonographers

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $33.98 $45.00 $38.18 $36.81
Overall $42.06 $47.45 $44.70 $45.17
Top $44.75 $57.00 $49.58 $47.30

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Health Care & Social Assistance
ALL INDUSTRIES

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

80%
80%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

72%
72%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

14%
14%

Vacancy Rate

N/A
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Oct 13, 2016

Alberta Diagnostic Sonographers Association (ADSA) website: www.ultrasound.ca

American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) website: www.ardms.org

Sonography Canada website: www.sonographycanada.ca

Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website: www.hsaa.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Supports Centre near you.

Updated Apr 09, 2014. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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