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Best Medical Careers

Number of Jobs

27, 000

Median Salary

$65, 860

Unemployment Rate

4.1 percent

Is it a boy or a girl? As a diagnostic medical sonographer, you could be the one answering this or a host of other life-changing medical questions with the help of ultrasound technology. Beyond babies, sonograms are used to help diagnose other medical conditions by creating images of body organs and tissues. These professionals include musculoskeletal sonographers, who specialize in creating images of muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints; neurosonographers, who focus on the nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord; abdominal sonographers, who capture images of the abdominal cavity as well as nearby organs like the kidney, liver and pancreas; and breast sonographers, who capture images of breast tissue that could confirm the presence of cysts and tumors. Skilled technicians play a vital role in ensuring a proper diagnosis. It’s a job with both social and technical elements, since sonographers must position a patient just right so that a properly calibrated machine can produce the best possible image. The job also requires social savvy, since the sonographer is the first person nervous patients turn to for information about their condition.

Advances in imaging technology will lead medical facilities to use it more in place of costly, invasive procedures and less-expensive equipment, which means more procedures will be conducted outside hospitals. Although hospitals are the biggest employers of diagnostic medical sonographers, employment should grow rapidly in physicians’ offices and medical and diagnostic laboratories. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment growth of a whopping 46 percent between 2012 and 2022, which is among the fastest rates on our list of the Best Jobs of 2014.

According to the BLS, diagnostic medical sonographers earned a median salary of $65, 860 in 2012. The best-paid 10 percent earned more than $91, 070, while the lowest-paid earned less than $44, 990. Areas of the industry that pay well include outpatient care centers and colleges, universities and professional schools. Big cities also tend to compensate well – specifically, metropolitan areas clustered in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Salary Range

75th Percentile $76, 890
Median $65, 860
25th Percentile $54, 260


While there is no formal licensure process in most states (health care professionals can learn on the job in their hospital, for example, or pass a variety of one-year certificate programs), most employers prefer a candidate who has passed a certification exam by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers. That usually requires clinical experience, a more likely component of an accredited program (the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education keeps a list of such programs). There are bachelor’s programs in sonography, but most students get two-year associate degrees, and many students already have undergraduate degrees in math or science. The curriculum includes anatomy, physiology, instrumentation and other medical courses.

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Popular Q&A

What is the best medical career?

Im looking for a medical career that is stable but interesting at the same time and pays at least $50,000 yearly. Most importantly I plan to have a family so i really want a career that does not interfere with my family life. I want to have time for my family.
here are some that i was looking into
Registered Nurse
Registered Dietician
Radiology technologist
MRI tech
which one would you suggest?

RN's have a wide variety of jobs open. All the way from home nursing, to doctors offices, to hospitals. The harder and crappier hours you want to work, the more you can make. On the other hand, you can find jobs that will fit in with a family schedule. I would check that one out if I were you.

What are some of the best medical careers?

Some of the best medical careers are Registered Nurse, Pharmacist, Physician Assistant, Physical Therapist, Radiologist Technician, and Athletic trainer.

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