Cardiac vs. Medical sonographer

Working as a sonographer is one of the most lucrative and rewarding career one can take. However, most students do not understand that there are different categories of sonographers that they can pursue. The two major categories of sonographers include cardiac sonographer and medical sonographer.

Cardiac Sonographer

Cardiac sonographers use ultrasound to analyze the anatomy of a patient’s heart and blood vessels. The common issue that cardiac sonographers help doctors to diagnose is the blood clots. To work as a cardiac sonographer, you must be physically strong, have interpersonal and analytical skills.



The pay scale for cardiac sonographers is highly competitive. The SonographerSalaryData.com put the annual salary of the top 10 percent at $90,640 as at May 2013. The average annual salary was $65,800 and the lowest 10 percent earned about $44,950. The payment is determined based on the size of the employer, experience, education and geographical area.



To work as a cardiac sonographer, you are required to have an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree. The training will include laboratory, technical and classroom. The students are required to attend a mandatory Basic Life support (BSL) training. It is also important to be accredited by various bodies such as the Cardiovascular Credential International (CCI).

Medical Sonographer

A medical sonographer uses a noninvasive, nontoxic diagnostic procedure to produce high quality images of the body using high frequency sound waves. The procedure is used to capture the image of abdominal organs, blood flow, heart, reproductive organs and even the images of a developing fetus. Medical sonographer training equips students with skills in research and administration and scanning and diagnostics abilities.



The payment structure for medical sonographers is very encouraging to students interested in pursuing career as a medical sonographer. The actual payments vary between the industry and geographical areas. Medical sonographers working in the big cities and outpatient care centers enjoy relatively higher salary. In 2011, the BLS indicated the mean hourly wage as $31.63 and the median salary as $65,210. The 10 percent well paid medical sonographers earned about $90,640 while the lowest paid 10 percent earned $44,950.



To work as a medical sonographer, students can pursue an associate degree, bachelor’s degree or even certificate. It is also beneficial to be a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS).

Conclusion - Sonographer Career in the United States

Pursuing career as a cardiac sonographer or medical sonographer is a very good career decision. This is because the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts the industry will enjoy an incredible employment growth of about 45.5 percent between 2010 and 2020.