General Sonography

Diagnostic medical sonography (DMS) is a multi-specialty occupation comprised of abdominal-extended sonography, adult cardiac sonography, breast sonography, musculoskeletal sonography, obstetrics and gynecology sonography, pediatric cardiac sonography, vascular sonography, and other emerging clinical areas or concentrations.

These concentrations all use comprehensive knowledge of ultrasound technology in their daily work. The trained technologist is an individual who provide s patient care services applying ultrasound technology in the performance of diagnostic and/or therapeutic exams and procedures. As an occupational prerequisite the diagnostic medical sonographer must be educationally prepared and clinically competent. Demonstration and maintenance of competency through certification by a nationally recognized credentialing organization is the standard of practice in sonography. Maintenance of certification in all areas of practice is endorsed.

The diagnostic medical sonographer functions as a delegated agent of the physician and does not practice independently. Diagnostic medical sonographers are committed to enhanced patient care and continuous quality improvement that increases knowledge and technical competence. Diagnostic medical sonographers use independent, professional and ethical judgment, and critical thinking to safely perform diagnostic procedures.

The diagnostic medical sonographer generally performs the following:

  • Obtains, reviews, and integrates pertinent patient history and supporting clinical data to facilitate optimum diagnostic results;
  • Performs appropriate procedures and records anatomic, pathologic, and/or physiologic data for interpretation by a physician;
  • Records, analyzes, and processes diagnostic data and other pertinent observations made during the procedure for presentation to the interpreting physician;
  • Exercises discretion and judgment in the performance of sonographic and/or related diagnostic services;
  • Demonstrates appropriate communication skills with patients and colleagues;
  • Acts in a professional and ethical manner;
  • Facilitates communication and education to elicit patient cooperation and understanding of expectations and responds to questions regarding the sonographic examination.

As a multi-specialty occupation, these Standards apply to the following learning concentrations:

  • Abdominal Extended Sonography
  • Adult Cardiac Sonography
  • Breast Sonography
  • Musculoskeletal Sonography
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology Sonography
  • Pediatric Cardiac Sonography
  • Vascular Sonography

Female student with patient

Jackson College Offers the following program options:

Program Video


Get Started

Jackson College offers an associate degree in general sonography. This is a second admit program, meaning students must first take some basic studies courses then apply for admission to the sonography program. Clinical experiences provide real-world experience.

Job Opportunities

Sonographer positions are available in hospitals or larger doctor’s offices and clinics. General sonographers are often associated with obstetric and gynecological ultrasound, but do scan other areas throughout the body as well, such as abdomen and breast. In addition to general sonography, there are specialties in vascular sonography, focusing on all vessels except for the heart, and echocardiography, which focuses on the heart.


Starting wages average between $21 and $26 an hour.

Career Outlook

Sonographers are in demand in today’s job market. The Occupational Outlook Handbook projects 39 percent job growth through 2022.