3. Diagnostic Medical Sonographers
Diagnostic medical sonographers operate diagnostic imaging machinery using sonography or ultrasonography to direct high-frequency sound waves into areas of a patient's body. They videotape, transmit, or photograph the resultant image for interpretation and diagnosis by a physician. Their job profile also extends to explaining the procedure to the patient, recording medical history relevant to the condition, and making preliminary findings for the physicians.
Of the various niches, obstetric and gynecologic sonographers specialize in the imaging of the female reproductive system; abdominal sonographers inspect a patient's abdominal cavity; neurosonographers focus on the nervous system, including the brain; and breast sonographers study diseases of the breasts.
Diagnostic medical sonographers rank amongst the best medical field job without medical degree. The average hourly wage is $30.60 and the average annual wage, $63,640 as of May 2009. Demand for the job will rise by 18 percent in the decade.
Most medical sonographers are high school graduates with relevant training. Colleges and universities offer two-year and four-year programs, resulting in either an associate or a bachelor's degree, and one-year programs resulting in a vocational certificate. While licensing is not required, most employers require certification by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS).