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Career and Education Opportunities for Sonographers in Chattanooga, Tennessee

If you want to be a sonographer, the Chattanooga, Tennessee area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. Currently, 1,170 people work as sonographers in Tennessee. This is expected to grow by 24% to about 1,450 people by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for sonographers are expected to grow by about 18.3%. In general, sonographers produce ultrasonic recordings of internal organs for use by physicians.

A person working as a sonographer can expect to earn about $26 per hour or $55,670 per year on average in Tennessee and about $29 per hour or $61,980 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for sonographers are better than earnings in the general category of Healthcare Technical in Tennessee and better than general Healthcare Technical category earnings nationally. People working as sonographers can fill a number of jobs, such as: ultrasound technologist, diagnostic medical sonographer, and cardiac sonographer.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Chattanooga where you can study to be a sonographer, among twenty schools of higher education total in the Chattanooga area. The most common level of education for sonographers is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree. You can expect to spend about two years training to become a sonographer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Sonographer

Sonographer video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, sonographers produce ultrasonic recordings of internal organs for use by physicians.

Sonographers decide on appropriate apparatus settings and adjust patient positions to obtain the best sites and angles. They also observe and care for patients throughout examinations to insure their safety and comfort. Equally important, sonographers have to ready patient for exam by explaining procedure, transferring them to ultrasound table, scrubbing skin and applying gel, and positioning them properly. They are often called upon to furnish sonograms and oral or written summaries of technical findings to physicians for use in medical diagnoses. They are expected to decide which images to include, looking for differences between healthy and pathological areas. Finally, sonographers furnish sonograms and oral or written summaries of technical findings to physicians for use in medical diagnoses.

Every day, sonographers are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they see details at a very fine level of focus.

It is important for sonographers to observe screen during scan to insure that image produced is satisfactory for diagnostic purposes, making adjustments to apparatus as required. They are often called upon to operate ultrasound apparatus to produce and record images of the motion, shape and composition of blood, organs, tissues and bodily masses such as fluid accumulations. They also process and code film from procedures and complete appropriate documentation. They are sometimes expected to perform medical procedures such as administering oxygen, inserting and removing airways, taking vital signs, and giving emergency treatment, such as first aid or cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Somewhat less frequently, sonographers are also expected to maintain records that include patient data, sonographs and interpretations, files of correspondence, publications and regulations, or quality assurance records such as pathology or post-operative reports.

Sonographers sometimes are asked to clean, check and maintain sonographic apparatus, submitting maintenance requests or performing minor repairs as needed. They also have to be able to decide whether the scope of exams should be extended, on the basis of findings and direct work with physicians and other health care team members, including providing assistance during invasive procedures. And finally, they sometimes have to maintain records that include patient data, sonographs and interpretations, files of correspondence, publications and regulations, or quality assurance records such as pathology or post-operative reports.

Like many other jobs, sonographers must be thorough and dependable and have exceptional integrity.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chattanooga include:

  • Cardiac Technician. Conduct tests on pulmonary or cardiovascular systems of patients for diagnostic purposes. May conduct or assist in electrocardiograms, cardiac catheterizations, pulmonary-functions, lung capacity, and similar tests.
  • Health Information Systems Technician. Compile, process, and maintain medical records of hospital and clinic patients in a manner consistent with medical, administrative, and regulatory requirements of the health care system. Process, maintain, and report patient information for health requirements and standards.
  • Medical Laboratory Technologist. Perform complex medical laboratory tests for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. May train or supervise staff.
  • Respiratory Therapy Technician. Provide specific, well defined respiratory care procedures under the direction of respiratory therapists and physicians.
  • Surgical Technician. Assist in operations, under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses, or other surgical personnel. May help set up operating room, prepare and transport patients for surgery, adjust lights and equipment, pass instruments and other supplies to surgeons and surgeon's assistants, hold retractors, and help count sponges, needles, and instruments.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Sonographer Training

Chattanooga State Technical Community College - Chattanooga, TN

Chattanooga State Technical Community College, 4501 Amnicola Hwy, Chattanooga, TN 37406-1097. Chattanooga State Technical Community College is a medium sized college located in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,488 students. Chattanooga State Technical Community College has a less than one year program in Diagnostic Medical Sonography/Sonographer & Ultrasound Technician which graduated fourteen students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Registered Technologist - Sonography: The purpose of the ARRT Examination in Sonography is to assess the knowledge and cognitive skills underlying the intelligent performance of the tasks typically required of staff sonographers at entry into the profession.

For more information, see the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists website.

Registered Ophthalmic Ultrasound Biometrist: Registered Ophthalmic Ultrasound Biometrist (ROUB) includes: Keratometry, Physics, Biometry Instrumentation, Instrument Settings for Biometry, Examination Techniques for Biometry, Sources of Error in Biometry, and Intraocular Lens Power Calculations.

For more information, see the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology website.

LICENSES

X-RAY OPERATOR (MEDICAL)

Licensing agency: Committee on Medical Doctors
Address: Board of Medical Examiners, Cordell Hull Bldg 1st Floor, 425 Fifth Av North, Nashville, TN 37247-1010

Phone: (615) 532-3202
Website: Committee on Medical Doctors Board of Medical Examiners

X-RAY OPERATOR (OSTEOPATHIC)

Licensing agency: Board of Osteopathic Examination
Address: Division of Health Related Boards, Department of Health, Cordell Hull Bldg 1st Floor, 425 Fifth Av North, Nashville, TN 37247-1010

Phone: (615) 367-6393
Website: Board of Osteopathic Examination Division of Health Related Boards Department of Health

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga, Tennessee
Chattanooga, Tennessee photo by Avala

Chattanooga is situated in Hamilton County, Tennessee. It has a population of over 170,880, which has grown by 9.9% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chattanooga, 85, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Chattanooga are priced at $141,100 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, two hundred sixty-two new homes were built in Chattanooga, down from four hundred forty-one the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Chattanooga are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 21.5% of Chattanooga residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chattanooga is 9.5%, which is less than Tennessee's average of 10.2%.

The percentage of Chattanooga residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 58.2%, is more than both the national and state average. Stuart Heights Baptist Church, Kings Point Church and Stanley United Methodist Church are some of the churches located in Chattanooga. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Non-Charismatic Churches Independent.

Chattanooga is home to the Creeks Bend Golf Club and the Concord Golf Course as well as Warner Park and Ross Landing City Park. Shopping malls in the area include Northgate Mall, Northgate Crossing Shopping Center and Lee Plaza East Shopping Center. Visitors to Chattanooga can choose from Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, Crystal Air Sport Motel and Hampton Inn Chattanooga I-75 North for temporary stays in the area.