our everyday life

Careers in Uterine Sonography

by Sharon Perkins

If the idea of looking into the uterus appeals to you, a career in ultrasonography with a specialization in obstetrics and gynecology might be your dream job. Ultrasound technicians who perform uterine sonography work with pregnant women as well as women undergoing fertility treatment to try and get pregnant. Some technicians who perform uterine sonography work in centers that do all types of ultrasounds, not just uterine studies. Becoming an ultrasound technician is just the first step towards spending your days looking at the uterus from the outside in.

Job Requirements

While some people learn ultrasonography on the job, the majority complete an accredited course that culminates in an associate's or bachelor's degree in ultrasonography, the Bureau of Labor Statistics explains.(ref 4) Ultrasonographers spend most of their days on their feet; an ultrasonographer should deal well with people and have the ability to handle what she sees on ultrasound discretely. Ultrasound technicians must let doctors deliver the news of what the scan shows, in most cases, although in some settings she can pass along information, such as whether a pregnant woman is having a boy or girl.

Working In Obstetrics

Many ultrasonographers enjoy working in obstetrics, seeing fetuses in every stage from no more than a dot without a heartbeat to a full-term baby. Some ultrasonographers work for obstetric practices, but most work in an office, hospital or clinic. Ultrasonographers measure the growing fetus to determine whether the baby's growth is on target, check for birth defects, assess the amount of amniotic fluid around the fetus and, of course, diagnose twins -- or more -- and determine whether a woman is having a boy or a girl.

Fertility Patients

Fertility centers working with couples trying to have a baby do frequent ultrasounds on their patients. Many fertility treatments involve powerful hormone stimulation, which produces more eggs each month than a woman would normally produce on her own. The ultrasonographer measures the growing follicles in the ovary, found right next to the uterus, so the doctor can determine when to schedule an egg retrieval, a minor surgical procedure to remove the eggs under ultrasound guidance. Fertility centers also do ultrasounds on patients in early pregnancy, often spotting multiple pregnancies at a very early stage. Ultrasonographers also evaluate problems within the fallopian tubes.

Working In Gynecology

If you work in a general ultrasound facility, you will likely do a number of uterine ultrasounds. Doctors order uterine ultrasounds to diagnose uterine abnormalities such as fibroids, polyps, cancers and other growths. Uterine ultrasound can also diagnose an abnormally shaped uterus, which could cause problems during pregnancy. Uterine ultrasonographers also diagnose problems with other female reproductive organs, such as the ovaries.

Salary

Ultrasonographers make a good salary, no matter where they work. The median annual salary for ultrasound technicians in 2013 is $78,520, according to the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography. Techs working in physician's offices and in the hospital make slightly less than those working in outpatient care centers, the BLS reported in 2010. Opportunities for employment are expected to grow faster than normal in ultrasonography, around 44 percent between 2010 and 2020, the BLS reports.

About the Author

A registered nurse with more than 25 years of experience in oncology, labor/delivery, neonatal intensive care, infertility and ophthalmology, Sharon Perkins has also coauthored and edited numerous health books for the Wiley "Dummies" series. Perkins also has extensive experience working in home health with medically fragile pediatric patients.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images