Rad Tech vs Sonographer: Salary, Job, Education & Suggestions

 Switching a career or choosing a career is a tough choice. There are pros and cons to any and all jobs, but looking into a career that has a great job growth rate and competitive salary is a great place to guarantee that you will have a productive and fruitful career. Two jobs that offer both positive job growth and competitive salary are either a sonographer or radiology techs.


sonographyA sonographer is a non-physician professional who is trained and certified to work with equipment and patient in using high frequency sound waves to create visuals that can help in locating possible issues in the patient. To become a sonography specialist, you can either go through a one-year certified program with healthcare experience, or earn a bachelor's degree if there is no healthcare experience. An annual sonographer salary of $73,360 per year can be expected once working in the field, reference: http://sonographersalarydata.com/. Becoming a medical ultrasonographer is a great way to provide one-to-one care with patients. Become knowledgeable and skilled using high-tech equipment, and become an integral part of a healthcare team. An ultrasonographer is a way to join a rapidly growing profession that has a lot of outlooks. The job is not all positive though, a professional will have to work long hours, endurance is required to be on one's feet all day. A lot of the job is taken up by administrative work. There is also a high injury rate from moving heavy equipment and operating it.

Rad Technician

radiology tech A radiographer is similar to a ultrasonographer in that the profession uses diagnostic imaging examinations to see what is going on inside a patient. A medical radiation technologist specializes in using x-ray, CT,and MRI equipment. In order to become eligible for this profession one must become certified or earn an associates degree. On average the medium salary for radiology technicians is slightly less than $64,450 a year, source: http://radiologytechniciansalarysource.com/. X-ray technicians are an in demand field with employment expected to keep expanding. Similar advantages for a general ultrasonographer apply to a rad tech. There are two unique disadvantages to being a radiologic technologist, work availability is twenty-four hours a day, and there is a minimal risk to radiation exposure.

 If a student is looking for a job that is in an extremely active and growing field than either becoming a sonographer or a rad tech is a best option. Having the ability to be part of a successful team is important to job satisfaction, and both of these careers make you an important part of success. If you want to be in the medical field but feel that earning a Ph.D is not a viable option, than take a look into these two promising careers.

For more information, you can go to Healthcare Occupations - Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In-Plane vs Out-of-Plane Approach

The plane of the sonography cuts across the shaft to the needle. We can rotate this to an in plan approach where the needle is in the plane of the ultrasonography. The advantage of this is that you can see the entire tip of the needle. However, the out of plane approach is a little bit better for centering the needle over the vessel of interest.

This shows a target a sign which is what you want to see when you're accessing something in a short axis or out of plane; you can see the needle on the center of vessel. Here again is a short axis procedure where we are accessing the internal jugular. You can see the Endothelium kind of tempting into the internal jugular vein there and we are across or out of plane with the transducer in that particular clip.

Here is an in plane or long axis procedure where the needle is being inserted into the internal jugular vein. You can see the tip and again we're showing this as it would occur in a peripheral vein. You can see the tip of the needle entering the vessel and then we thread the Catheter.

You can check that the Catheter has been threaded by placing the sonography on there. Here we can actually see a Catheter in peripheral vessel. The other thing that you can do is flush the Catheter. Here's we're actually following the wire for central venous access into the IJ. When you flush the Catheter, just take some agitated saline when injected and you can see bubbles through the vessel.

Sonography Guidance for Central Venous Access

This is a short presentation on the use of sonography for procedural guidance and vascular access, those peripheral and central. You want to start with a Linear Probe which is a flat probe, high frequency, 3 - 12 megahertz. Identify the indicator which is a bumper grove on the side. Put a little bit of gel on there and make sure that the indicator corresponds to the left side of the screen as it is viewed. That will be your orientation for looking at vessels.

Vessels can be either in the short or the long axis. The long axis in plane, the short axis is out of plane. This is a short axis clip of a peripheral vessel. So you see the collapse ability of the vein, the indicator is to the left side of the screen which is the left of the patient as you're looking up.

This is showing the application of the Linear Probe to the neck of a patient around the area that you would look for the internal jugular access. The indicator in this case is to the patient's right and the fingers placed right here over the vessel as it's going into the neck. When this is done you should be able to see the internal jugular vein lateral to the Carotid Artery. Here is a short clip showing collapse of the internal jugular lateral to the Carotid, the Trachea shown medial to this.

When you're doing a central access procedure you need to use sterile precautions, this shows the application of a sterile probe cover. The gel which doesn't need to be sterile inside is placed inside the probe cover and the probe is then lowered into this cover and allowed to fall down without touching anything creating a sterile probe cover that can then be used for central vascular access.

Here we're putting rubber band and some sterile gel on top of the probe. Once this is done you could use it for central venous access. Again when you're looking at a needle you can look at it in the in plane approach or the outer plane approach. The indicator is identified here to my left and I'm using the use of a middle in the short axis or out of plane approach.