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.

Pleural Ultrasonography

In this image we see 2 Pleural lines in a patient that suffered blunt trauma. On the left side of the screen is normal lung sliding which is on the right side of the patient. On the right side of the screen there was a lack of lung sliding on the left side of the patient.

This is a Supine chest radiograph from the same patient. It was read as a possible small Pneumothorax on the lower left side of the plain film. However when viewed on CT Scan you can see that Pneumothorax is actually quite large. It is interior which is why it doesn't show up so well on the plain radiograph, but it is well visualized using sonography.

When we're looking at the Pleural line, we also want to look for artifacts. Here you can see some small tape ring Comet tail artifacts also known as Z lines and these are normal. However, when you look at the lung and you see these Comet tail artifacts which are long, hyperechoic or bright lines that go from the front of the probe face all the way to the back, these are known as B lines or Lung Rockets. And they're consistent with Alveolar interstitial syndrome which is typically congested heart failure in the acute setting which you may also see B lines with interstitial lung disease and other acute lung processes.

This clip shows the use of a linear probe also showing B lines with these hyperechoic lines going all the way from the Pleural line to the back of the screen.

If we're interested in looking for a Pleural effusion it's generally better to switch to the curvilinear probe, the penetrational view a little bit, the frequency is a bit lower. Again we check the orientation by putting a small amount of gel on the side of the indicator and confirming that this does indeed correspond to the left side of the screen as it is viewed.

Example 2: Parasternal view, Midclavicular line

This is an example of a Parasternal view of the heart and the key point here is that there is a slight anechoic area but it does have echoes in it and it disappears distally and this typical of a fat pad, and should not be mistaken for a Pericardial effusion.

This is a series about the use of Point of Care Ultrasound in Interrogation of the Thorax, specifically looking for Pneumothorax, Alveolar Interstitial Syndrome and Pleural effusion.

Begin by selecting a probe; generally the high frequency linear probe is going to be best for interrogating the Pleural line. Identify the indicator which we can confirm by using a small amount of gel; this should correspond to the left side of the screen as it is viewed. Generally the indicator will equate towards the patient's head.

And here we are placing it on the patient, again with the indicator towards the head. We are in the Midclavicular line just lateral to the Sternum and we can slide up and down a little bit to get in between the rib shadows.

Here we see the image on the screen. Again the indicator is towards the head, the face of the probe is on the skin. You can see subcutaneous fat. The rib, rib shadow and at the post sterile part of the rib is the Pleural line which is visualized by a shimmering or sliding. This is normal sliding at the Pleural line.