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Diagnostic Medical Sonographer vs Surgical Technician

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer vs Surgical Technician

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When it comes to choosing a career in the medical field, there are many options to consider. Two popular choices are becoming a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer and a Surgical Technician. Both careers offer opportunities to work closely with patients and contribute to their healthcare. However, there are some key differences between the two professions. In this blog post, we will explore the roles and responsibilities of a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer and a Surgical Technician, as well as the education and training required for each career. We will also discuss the career outlook and salary potential for both professions.

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What is a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer and Surgical Technician?

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer:

  • A Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, also known as an ultrasound technician, uses specialized equipment to create images of the inside of a patient's body.
  • They work closely with physicians and other healthcare professionals to perform diagnostic tests and assist in the diagnosis of various medical conditions.
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonographers may specialize in specific areas, such as obstetrics and gynecology, cardiovascular, or abdominal sonography.

Surgical Technician:

  • A Surgical Technician, also known as a surgical technologist, works in the operating room alongside surgeons and nurses.
  • They assist in surgical procedures by preparing the operating room, sterilizing equipment, and handing instruments to surgeons during surgery.
  • Surgical Technicians are responsible for maintaining a sterile environment and ensuring the safety of patients during surgical procedures.

Difference between a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer and Surgical Technician

While both Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Surgical Technicians play important roles in patient care, there are several key differences between the two professions.

Job Responsibilities:

  • Diagnostic Medical Sonographers primarily focus on using ultrasound technology to create images of the body.
  • Surgical Technicians, on the other hand, assist during surgical procedures and are responsible for ensuring the operating room is prepared and sterile.

Work Environment:

  • Diagnostic Medical Sonographers typically work in hospitals, clinics, and imaging centers.
  • Surgical Technicians primarily work in operating rooms, although they may also find employment in outpatient surgical centers or physician's offices.

Patient Interaction:

  • Diagnostic Medical Sonographers often have direct patient contact and may explain the ultrasound procedure to patients and answer any questions they may have.
  • Surgical Technicians primarily interact with patients before and after surgery, and their main focus is on assisting the surgical team during the procedure.

Specializations:

  • Diagnostic Medical Sonographers may choose to specialize in specific areas, such as obstetrics and gynecology or cardiovascular sonography.
  • Surgical Technicians may specialize in a particular type of surgery, such as orthopedic or neurosurgery.

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer vs Surgical Technician: Job Description

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer:

  • Perform ultrasound examinations on patients, using specialized equipment to capture images of the body.
  • Analyze the images and provide preliminary findings to physicians.
  • Collaborate with other healthcare professionals to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of patients.
  • Maintain accurate patient records and ensure patient comfort and safety during procedures.

Surgical Technician:

  • Prepare the operating room by sterilizing equipment and ensuring all necessary supplies are available.
  • Assist the surgical team during procedures by handing instruments to surgeons and nurses.
  • Maintain a sterile environment in the operating room and ensure patient safety.
  • Prepare patients for surgery and assist with post-operative care.

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer vs Surgical Technician: Education and Training

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer:

  • To become a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, one must complete an accredited diagnostic medical sonography program.
  • These programs typically take 2-4 years to complete and result in an associate's or bachelor's degree.
  • Coursework may include anatomy, physiology, patient care, medical ethics, and ultrasound physics.
  • In addition to formal education, Diagnostic Medical Sonographers may also choose to become certified by passing an examination.

Surgical Technician:

  • Surgical Technicians typically complete a postsecondary certificate or associate's degree program.
  • These programs generally take 9-24 months to complete and include both classroom instruction and supervised clinical experience.
  • Coursework may cover topics such as anatomy, medical terminology, surgical procedures, and sterile techniques.
  • Surgical Technicians may also choose to become certified by passing a national certification exam.

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Diagnostic Medical Sonographer vs Surgical Technician: Career Outlook and Salary

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer:

  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers is projected to grow 17 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.
  • The median annual wage for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers was $75,920 in May 2020, with the top 10 percent earning more than $105,340.

Surgical Technician:

  • The BLS projects that employment of Surgical Technologists will grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.
  • The median annual wage for Surgical Technologists was $49,710 in May 2020, with the top 10 percent earning more than $71,400.

Final Thoughts

Choosing a career in the medical field is a significant decision, and it's important to consider your interests, skills, and goals when deciding between becoming a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer or a Surgical Technician. Both professions offer rewarding opportunities to contribute to patient care, but they have different job responsibilities, work environments, and education requirements. By researching and understanding the differences between these two careers, you can make a well-informed decision about which path is right for you.

Dreambound ensures accessibility to its educational programs by offering them in diverse locations. For a detailed exploration of the exciting opportunities within these two vocations, we encourage you to visit:

Joanna Paragas
Written by
Joanna Paragas

Joanna Paragas is part of the Growth team at Dreambound. Her primary role involves creating various automation to streamline workflows and make tasks more efficient for the entire team. Beyond her professional endeavors, Joanna enjoys spending her free time playing with her dogs and enhancing her knowledge by enrolling in online courses.

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