Medical Sonographers

Occupation:Medical Sonographers

About the job

Nature of work:

Medical sonographers operate ultrasound equipment to produce and record images of various parts of the body to aid physicians in monitoring pregnancies and in diagnosing cardiac, ophthalmic, vascular and other medical disorders. They are employed in clinics and hospitals. Medical sonographers who are supervisors or instructors are included in this group.

Job duties:
Medical sonographers perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Operate ultrasound imaging equipment that transmits high frequency sound pulses through the body to produce images of those parts of the body requiring examination.
  • Monitor examination by viewing images on video screen, to evaluate quality and consistency of diagnostic images, and make adjustments to equipment, as required.
  • Record, store and process scanned images by using camera unit connected to ultrasound equipment.
  • Observe and care for patients throughout examinations to ensure patient safety and comfort.
  • Prepare examination reports for physicians to aid in the monitoring of pregnancies and the diagnosis of cardiac, abdominal, ophthalmic, vascular and other disorders.
  • Perform quality control checks on ultrasound equipment to ensure proper operation and perform minor repairs and adjustments as required.
  • May supervise and train student and other medical sonographers.

Medical sonographers may specialize in abdominal, cardiac, cerebral, obstetrical and gynecological, ophthalmic, intraluminal or peripheral vascular sonography. They may also specialize in adult or pediatric echocardiography or neurosonology.

Sample job titles:
  • diagnostic cardiac sonographer
  • diagnostic ultrasound supervisor
  • diagnostic ultrasound technician
  • echocardiographer
  • medical sonographer
  • registered diagnostic medical sonographer (RDMS)
  • registered ultrasound technologist
  • ultrasonography technologist
  • ultrasound technician

You should be interested in medicine and health. You must be able to deal with people in a mature, tactful, and professional way. You should also be comfortable working with instruments, apparatus, and technology. A background in science would be helpful.

Job requirements:
  • Completion of a three- to four-year program in diagnostic medical sonography or ultrasound technology or completion of a two- to three-year program in a related allied health field and a one-year post-diploma program in diagnostic medical sonography from an accredited institution are required.
  • Registration with the Canadian Association of Registered Diagnostic Medical Ultrasound Professionals and/or the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers is usually required by employers.
Other considerations:

Although the majority of people in these jobs are employed full-time, part-time and casual work arrangements are common. Membership in the Canadian Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers is available but voluntary.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Undetermined

This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent. With a small percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are not expected to be a major contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Medical Sonographers most commonly work full-time hours. Also, a fair portion of the workforce is self-employed, so having the option to "work for yourself" may appeal to some individuals’ interests/motivations.

The median employment income for 48% of Medical Sonographers who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $70,185. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Medical Sonographers105xxx
Minimum:  N/A
Median:  N/A
Maximum:  N/A
Minimum:  N/A
Median: $63,794
Maximum:  N/A
Occupations in Health36,515Strong growth4,385Low
Minimum: $16.38
Median: $25.50
Maximum: $41.00
Minimum: $10,740
Median: $43,853
Maximum: $88,944
Medical SonographersCompared to: Occupations in Health
Percent employed full-time78%77%
Percent self-employed27%10%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentMedical SonographersCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Cape Breton22%x13%$32,974
Annapolis Valley9%x13%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeMedical SonographersCompared to: All Health
% Employed% Employed
Median Age4444
GenderMedical SonographersCompared to: Occupations in Health
% Employed% Employed
EducationMedical SonographersCompared to: All Health
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high schoolxx1.1%$27,581
High schoolxx6.9%$24,119
Trades certificatexx5.0%$31,728
College certificate or diploma52.2%$65,24639.4%$36,693
University certificate or diploma8.7%x4.8%$50,769
Bachelor's degree34.8%$68,20827.6%$57,186
University advanced certificate or diplomax$59,9192.3%$61,833
Master's degreexx5.1%$87,808
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryxx7.2%$83,000
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.


Employment Requirements & Contacts

Medical Sonographer
Special Requirements:Standards exist for this job in Nova Scotia. Certification or membership in a professional body may be required by employers, however, a certificate is not legally needed to work in this occupation.
Regulating body:
Sonography Canada
PO Box 1220
Kemptville, ON K0J 1J0
(888) 273-6746
(888) 743-2952
Useful contacts:
American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography
1401 Rockville Pike, Suite 600
Rockville, MD - USA 20850-1402
Tel: (800) 541-9754
Fax: (301) 738-0312

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Diagnostic medical sonography/sonographer and ultrasound technician
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals, under the supervision of physicians, to utilize medical ultrasound techniques to gather sonographic data used to diagnose a variety of conditions and diseases. These programs include courses in obtaining, reviewing, and integrating patient histories and data; patient instruction and care; anatomic, physiologic and pathologic data recording; sonographic data processing; sonography equipment operation; and professional standards and ethics.
See all institutions providing this program+
Dalhousie University
Office of the Registrar
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
(902) 494-2450
Additional resources: