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.

Sonographic Indicator

The indicator, it is initially to the patient's right and again here we're fanning through the Aorta in a transverse view. And this is what we should be seeing on the screen. The indicator again towards the patient's right. Our major landmark is the Lumbar spine also known as the horseshoe spine. And sitting right on top of that is the Aorta towards the patient's left.

The IVC is another landmark to the patient's right. In this picture we can also see the Splenic vein and a little bit of a superior mesenteric artery.

This is an example of using color flow Doppler to make sure that you're looking at the Aorta. In this case we see the spine in post sterile part of the screen and we've used the color flow Doppler to pick up Aortic pulsations in the center of the screen. It may help to angle the probe slightly to pick up the color flow.

Once we're interrogated the Aorta in the transverse plane from the Celiac axis to the verification. We'd like to turn the probe clockwise, 90 degrees so that the indicator is towards the patient's head. And this will give us a Sagittal plane.

When we look on the screen, what we should using the Liver as a window, the Aorta which runs along the spine becoming more close to the abdominal walls. It goes distally. And in this case we can see the celiac artery, the first major branch of the Intra-abdominal Aorta followed in this case by the superior mesenteric artery traveling inferiorly.

When we're measuring the Aorta, we want to make sure that we include the entire wall, outside wall, the outside wall and this is generally to make sure that we don't underestimate the size of an Aneurysm. Normally Aorta is generally considered to be less than 3 centimeters from outside wall to outside wall. And this shows a correct measurement of the abdominal Aorta with a normal Aorta.

One of the things we need to be aware of, when we see an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm as in this case is that the Lumen may look very anechoic, but there maybe Mural Thrombus or Otosclerosis on the outside of the Lumen, and this should be included when measuring the entire Aorta as that is part of the Aneurysm.

Point of Care Ultrasonography

When we place this on the patient we're using a Coronal image here. Again the indicator is towards the head, this is similar to the FAST examination except that we slide the probe up a little bit higher to look at the area above the diaphragm.

This shows a normal view of the right Thorax. You can see the diaphragm, and above the diaphragm is what's called a mirror image artifact. It actually looks like Liver. This is normal. It's a trick of physic. It actually shows as if there is no evidence of a Pleural effusion in this case.

This clip shows the Liver and the Diaphragm again, but above that is a large, moderate to large anechoic space which represents a Pleural effusion and you can see consolidated lung within the Pleural effusion.

This shows a smaller Pleural effusion. In the Costophrenic angle there is small amount of anechoic space right there just superior to the Liver and the Diaphragm.

This clip shows a loculated or septated Pleural effusion. Sonography is generally better than CT at figuring out whether there are spetations and this would indicate a Pleural effusion that might be difficult to aspirate.

On perform Point of Care Ultrasound at the Abdominal Aorta with the focus on finding Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm, also take a look at the anatomy IVC and some other findings.

Like all Point of Care Ultrasonography we begin by selecting an appropriate probe. We should be using generally the curvilinear wide footprint with the frequency of about 2 - 5 megahertz. We want to identify the indicator, place a small amount of gel on the side of the indicator and verify that it's oriented correctly so that the indicator is towards the left side of the screen as it is viewed. We generally keep this to the right side of the patient or the patient's head when we're doing out scanning.

Begin by placing the probe between the Umbilicus in a Xiphoid process in a transverse orientation with the indicator to the patient's right. We can tilt the probe inferiorly and superiorly as well sliding it, a little bit of general pressure to get the Bal out of the way. It's usually very helpful.