What’s the Difference Between a Radiologist and a Sonographer?

A radiation therapist is looking at data on a computer

There are many unique and rewarding career paths in the medical field. Two of these paths include radiology and sonography, which are both critical when it comes to patient care. What are the differences between the two? Let’s dive into both career paths further.

What Is a Radiologist?

Radiologists are also known as radiology technologists. These individuals are tasked with performing diagnostic imaging procedures such as x-rays, MRIs and CT scans. This helps medical professionals such as doctors and specialists diagnose medical conditions and injuries.

What Does a Radiologist Do?

As a radiologist, you would spend your days performing imaging procedures by positioning patients, gathering quality images and analyzing them. For example, you might position a child who is having pain in the arm after a fall or perform routine mammogram exams for women.

What Is a Sonographer?

A sonographer is similar to a radiology technician as they obtain images for diagnostic purposes. Yet, a sonographer uses a specific type of imaging equipment called ultrasound. Through ultrasound, a sonographer uses high-frequency sound waves to visualize parts of the body, including the abdomen, reproductive organs and heart.

What Does a Sonographer Do?

As a sonographer, you’ll also position patients for imaging exams much like a radiologic technologist. Yet, you’ll use specific ultrasound equipment to visualize organs, analyze the images you obtain and report your findings to medical professionals.

For example, you might obtain images of a woman’s thyroid to check for imbalances. Or, you might work with an OB/GYN, using ultrasound to track a baby’s health throughout pregnancy.

Key Differences Between Sonography & Radiology

As you can see, the biggest difference between radiology and sonography is the type of medical equipment you’ll use. Plus, while an x-ray can diagnose a wide range of medical conditions, ultrasound focuses more on specific body parts and their health.

Another key difference lies in the education you’ll receive for your chosen career path. Although sonographers and radiology technologists both require formal education, the type of coursework will differ.

For example, for a sonography degree, you’ll need to learn echocardiography and vascular sonography. And for a radiology degree, you’ll need to learn radiographic physics.

Start Your New Medical Career With Cambridge

Cambridge is a great place for you to start a new career as a radiologist or a sonographer. We offer two in-depth programs to fit your career goals. To learn more about our programs or to apply today, give us a call at 877-206-4279 or send us a message.

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