Employment of diagnostic medical sonographers is expected to grow by 44 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. As ultrasound imaging technology evolves, it will be used by medical facilities as a substitute for procedures that are costly, invasive, or expose patients to radiation. The use of sonography will continue to increase as patients, when given the option, choose to avoid exposure to radiation or undergo invasive procedures. Although hospitals remain the main employer of diagnostic medical sonographers, employment is expected to grow more rapidly in physicians' offices and in medical and diagnostic laboratories. Employment in these healthcare settings is expected to increase because of the shift toward outpatient care whenever possible. Outpatient care is encouraged by third-party payers as a cost-saving measure and is made possible by technological advances, such as less expensive ultrasound equipment, which allow for more procedures to be done outside of hospitals.
As the large baby-boom population ages and remains active later in life, the need to diagnose medical conditions, such as blood clots and tumors, with imaging technology should increase. Diagnostic medical sonographers will be needed to use and maintain the imaging equipment.
Sonographers who are certified in more than one specialty are expected to have better job opportunities.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition