Sonographer

Ultrasound practitioner

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Sonographers use ultrasound equipment to screen and diagnose different medical conditions.

Salary range: £30,401 to £43,772

How to become a sonographer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

University

You will need a degree in a relevant subject like:

  • radiography
  • midwifery
  • nursing
  • science
  • health science

You must also complete a postgraduate certificate or a postgraduate diploma in medical or clinical ultrasound, recognised by the Consortium for the Accreditation of Sonographic Education (CASE).

You will need to be able to meet all of the practical requirements of the course as well as the theory, so you must have an agreed placement in an approved setting.

Some universities can offer a master’s course in medical ultrasound as part of a medicine degree.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More information

Apprenticeship

You may be able to do a sonographer degree apprenticeship.

There may be opportunities with the NHS, and independent and private providers of healthcare services. You can look for vacancies on NHS Jobs.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship

More information

Work

If you’re a health professional like a nurse, midwife, radiographer, doctor or a healthcare scientist, you may be able to take in-service training for medical ultrasound to add sonography to your skills. Courses vary in length and are generally run by experienced healthcare professionals.

More information

Career tips

There is a demand for sonographers in the UK as a result of more health screening programmes being introduced.

Professional and industry bodies

You can join the voluntary register of sonographers administered by the Society of Radiographers.

If you’re already qualified in another healthcare profession you may find it useful to continue your registration with your previous professional body, as employers often require this for entry to jobs.

Further information

You’ll find more details about a career in sonography from the British Medical Ultrasound Society.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to work on your own
  • knowledge of medicine and healthcare
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • concentration skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • setting up and regularly checking ultrasound equipment
  • dealing sensitively with patients, before, during and after their scan
  • using ultrasound equipment to carry out examinations
  • producing images and interpreting observations
  • writing reports
  • keeping accurate and up-to-date patient care records
  • training healthcare staff to use specialist equipment
  • making referrals to other healthcare professionals

Working environment

You could work in an NHS or private hospital or in a therapy clinic.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.

You may need to wear a uniform.

Career path and progression

There are opportunities to move into specialist sonography areas like obstetrics and gynaecology, vascular or cancer services. You could work with specific patient groups such as children, young people or pregnant women.

With experience, there are opportunities to go into teaching sonography or to do clinical research.

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