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Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

Diagnostic medical sonographers use ultrasound equipment to produce and record images of body organs, masses and fetuses.

  • Avg. Salary $83,306.00
  • Avg. Wage $46.14
  • Minimum Education 3 years post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed < 1500
  • 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) 
  • 2016 NOC: Medical sonographers (3216) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

78%
78%
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. The team may include doctors, nurses and other medical technologists. Ultrasound is used to:

  • monitor pregnancies
  • help diagnose internal health issues (such as heart, vascular, abdominal and pelvic disorders)
  • assist in some medical procedures (such as amniocentesis, venography and biopsies).

In general, they:

  • review and combine information (from patient history, physical exams and supporting clinical data) to help with diagnoses
  • produce, review and assess ultrasound images to aid in diagnoses
  • report initial findings (both oral and written) to doctors (sonologists).
Working Conditions
Updated Oct 13, 2016

Diagnostic medical sonographers may do shift work, including some evenings and weekends. They may also be on call.

Sonographers often work with patients who are anxious. They assist patients on and off examining tables. They 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 to have:

  • good health
  • upper body and shoulder strength
  • hand-eye coordination
  • communication and observation skills
  • the ability to visualize in three dimensions
  • extensive knowledge in anatomy and physiology
  • attention to detail
  • critical thinking skills
  • perseverance
  • self-direction
  • the ability to handle unpleasant situations and to work under pressure
  • teamwork skills
  • the ability to maintain a high standard of medical ethics at all times.

They should enjoy:

  • working with people
  • using technical equipment
  • compiling information.
Educational Requirements
Updated Oct 13, 2016

The minimum educational requirement is a 3-year diploma 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

In 2016 the Health Professions Act [pdf] was amended to include sonographers under the Alberta College of Medical Diagnostic and Therapeutic Technologists (ACMDTT). Regulations are being developed and it is expected sonography will become a regulated profession in the near future.

Upon becoming regulated, all sonographers must be approved by ACMDTT to work in the profession and should use the diagnostic medical sonographer title or DMS credential. Sonographers who wish to use the CRGS®, CRCS®, or CRVS® credentials must be members in good standing of Sonography Canada.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Oct 13, 2016

Ultrasound does not expose patients to known hazards (such as ionizing radiation). As a result, its use in medicine is growing rapidly. Ultrasound is used in:

  • internal medicine (abdomen and superficial structures)
  • obstetrics and gynecology
  • ophthalmology
  • 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 [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events that affect overall employment (especially in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities that come up when people leave existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities that come up when new positions are created)
  • size of the occupation.
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 $39.27 $43.18 $39.88 $39.27
Overall $40.69 $52.62 $46.14 $45.86
Top $50.64 $55.00 $52.06 $52.57

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

78%
78%)

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

49%
49%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

12%
12%

Vacancy Rate

2%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Oct 13, 2016

Alberta College of Medical Diagnostic and Therapeutic Technologists (ACMDTT) website: acmdtt.com

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 Mar 15, 2018. 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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