Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

How to Become a Medical Sonographer in Illinois

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Are you curious about a career as a diagnostic medical sonographer? Wondering about the diagnostic medical sonographer salary? Explore everything you need to know in this comprehensive guide, from how to become a diagnostic medical sonographer to potential career paths and earning potential.

Key Points

  • A Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, also known as an ultrasound technician, uses specialized equipment to create images of internal body structures for medical diagnosis.
  • To become a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, complete an accredited program, obtain certification through ARDMS or ARRT, and possibly acquire state licensure.
  • In Illinois, Diagnostic Medical Sonographers earn an average salary of approximately $90,690 per year.

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What is a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer?

A Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, also known as an ultrasound technician, is a healthcare professional who uses specialized equipment to create images of patients' internal organs, tissues, and blood flow. They work closely with physicians to help diagnose and monitor various medical conditions.

The responsibilities of a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer include:

  • Preparing patients for procedures and explaining the process to them

  • Operating ultrasound equipment and capturing images

  • Analyzing and interpreting the images for abnormalities or health concerns

  • Communicating findings to physicians and collaborating on patient care plans

  • Maintaining patient records and equipment

Where does a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer work?

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers can work in various healthcare settings, including:

  • Hospitals: Sonographers may work in different departments, such as radiology, obstetrics, and cardiology.

  • Imaging Centers: These facilities specialize in diagnostic imaging and may offer a range of services.

  • Physician Offices: Some doctors have in-house ultrasound equipment and employ sonographers for convenient patient care.

  • Outpatient Clinics: Sonographers may perform exams in clinics focused on specific medical specialties.

How to Become a Medical Sonographer in Illinois?

To become a Medical Sonographer in Illinois, one must first complete an accredited Diagnostic Medical Sonography program, earning an associate's or bachelor's degree. Next, they must obtain certification through the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). With certification, they can then search for job opportunities in hospitals, clinics, or private practices, earning a competitive salary commensurate with their skills and experience.

What are the requirements to become a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer in Illinois?

To become a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer in Illinois, you need to fulfill certain education and legal requirements:


  • Complete a Diagnostic Medical Sonography program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRC-DMS).

  • These programs typically result in an associate's or bachelor's degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

Legal Requirements:

  • Obtain certification from a recognized professional organization, such as the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).

  • Some employers may also require state licensure, which can be obtained through the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

Exploring a Career in Medical Sonographer Outside Illinois

If you're eager to start a career as a Medical Sonographer but are situated in a different state, don't be discouraged. Your opportunity to work as a Medical Sonographer might be found in District of Columbia, Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma, or Wyoming. If you don't live near these areas, Dreambound offers a straightforward solution to scout and compare Medical Sonographer classes by searching with your zip code. No matter where you live, with dedication and the right resources, carving out a career in healthcare is within your reach.

How do I get my Diagnostic Medical Sonographer certification?

If you are interested in pursuing a career as a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, obtaining the necessary certification is an important step. Certification not only demonstrates your competency in the field, but it also increases your job prospects and earning potential. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to get your Diagnostic Medical Sonographer certification.

1. Complete an accredited education program: The first step towards becoming a certified Diagnostic Medical Sonographer is to complete an accredited education program. These programs can typically be found at community colleges, vocational schools, and universities. It is important to ensure that the program you choose is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRC-DMS). These accrediting bodies ensure that the program meets the standards necessary for certification.

2. Choose a specialty: Diagnostic Medical Sonographers can specialize in various areas such as abdominal sonography, obstetric and gynecologic sonography, vascular sonography, and cardiac sonography, among others. It is important to decide on a specialty that interests you and aligns with your career goals.

3. Complete clinical training: In addition to the classroom coursework, you will also need to complete a certain number of clinical training hours. This hands-on experience is crucial for developing the necessary skills and competency required in the field. The accredited education program you choose will typically include a clinical component, where you will have the opportunity to work with experienced professionals in a healthcare setting.

4. Pass the certification exam: Once you have completed your education and clinical training, you will be eligible to take the certification exam. The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) offers the most widely recognized certification exams for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions that assess your knowledge and skills in your chosen specialty. It is important to thoroughly prepare for the exam by reviewing the exam content outline and studying relevant textbooks and resources.

5. Maintain certification: After successfully passing the certification exam, you will need to maintain your certification by meeting certain requirements. These requirements typically include continuing education credits, which can be earned through conferences, workshops, online courses, and other educational activities. By staying up-to-date with the latest advancements in the field, you can ensure that you maintain your competency as a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer.

How do I get a job as a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer?

Once you have obtained your certification as a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, it's time to start looking for a job in the field. Here are some steps you can take to increase your chances of landing a job as a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer.

1. Update your resume: Start by updating your resume to highlight your education, certification, clinical experience, and any relevant skills or accomplishments. Be sure to include any specialized training or certifications you have obtained, as well as any relevant work experience in the healthcare field.

2. Network: Networking is a powerful tool when it comes to finding job opportunities. Reach out to your instructors, clinical preceptors, and fellow students to let them know that you are looking for a job. Attend professional conferences, workshops, and events to meet professionals in the field and make connections. Join professional organizations such as the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (SDMS) to access networking opportunities and job boards.

3. Apply for jobs: Start searching for job openings in your area and apply to positions that align with your interests and qualifications. Job boards specifically tailored to healthcare professionals, such as the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) job board or the SDMS job board, can be a good place to start. Additionally, reach out to local hospitals, clinics, and imaging centers to inquire about any job openings they may have.

4. Prepare for interviews: Once you start receiving interview invitations, it's important to prepare thoroughly. Research the facility or organization you are interviewing with and familiarize yourself with their mission, values, and services. Practice common interview questions and prepare examples that demonstrate your skills and experience. Dress professionally and bring copies of your resume and certification to the interview.

5. Continue learning and growing: As a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, it is important to continue learning and growing in your field. Stay updated with the latest advancements in technology and techniques through continuing education courses, conferences, and workshops. This not only enhances your skills and knowledge but also demonstrates your commitment to professional development to potential employers.

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Career Paths and Opportunities after Becoming a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

Becoming a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer opens up various career paths and opportunities within the healthcare industry. Here are a few potential career paths you can pursue after obtaining your certification.

  • Hospital Sonographer: Many Diagnostic Medical Sonographers work in hospitals, where they perform ultrasound examinations on patients. In a hospital setting, you may have the opportunity to specialize in a specific area such as obstetrics, vascular, or cardiac sonography. Hospital sonographers work closely with other healthcare professionals to provide accurate and timely diagnostic information.

  • Private Practice Sonographer: Some Diagnostic Medical Sonographers work in private medical practices, where they perform ultrasound examinations for patients referred by physicians. Private practice sonographers may have the opportunity to work in various specialties or focus on a specific area, depending on the needs of the practice.

  • Mobile Sonographer: Mobile sonographers work for companies that provide mobile ultrasound services. They travel to different healthcare facilities, clinics, or patients' homes to perform ultrasound examinations. This career path offers flexibility and the opportunity to work in various settings.

  • Research and Development: With additional education and experience, Diagnostic Medical Sonographers can pursue careers in research and development. They may work in research institutions or medical device companies, contributing to the development of new ultrasound techniques and technologies.

  • Education and Training: Some experienced Diagnostic Medical Sonographers choose to transition into education and training roles. They may become instructors in accredited education programs, teaching the next generation of sonographers. Others may become clinical preceptors, supervising and mentoring students during their clinical training.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is ultrasound tech school in Illinois?

Ultrasound tech school in Illinois typically lasts between 2 to 4 years, depending on whether you pursue an associate's or bachelor's degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

How much does a medical sonographer earn in IL?

As of the latest data, the average diagnostic medical sonographer salary in Illinois is approximately $90,690 per year.

What state pays medical sonographers the most?

California emerges as the highest paying state for medical sonographers, with a median annual wage of $122,670. Other top-paying states include Hawaii, Oregon, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia.

Final Thoughts

Becoming a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer is a rewarding career choice for those interested in healthcare and technology. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can obtain your certification and start a successful career in this field. Remember to stay updated with the latest advancements in technology and techniques, network with professionals in the field, and continue learning and growing throughout your career. Good luck on your journey to becoming a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer!

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Athena Kan
Written by
Athena Kan

Athena is Co-founder and CEO of Dreambound.

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