Radiology vs. Sonography: What’s the Difference?

Radiology involves the use of a number of different types of technology including those that involve radiation such as CT scans and MRIs. Sonographers utilize ultrasound, or high-frequency sound waves to create images of inside the body. Sonography does not involve the use of radiation.

Technologists in high-touch, high-tech fields like ultrasound and radiology have plenty of room to advance their careers and are in high demand. Making the patient medical records that doctors use in their diagnoses and treatment plans requires specialized training for both professions. One must be interested in the science of imaging, enjoy working in a field with ongoing technological advancements, as well as have a strong desire to care for people from all walks of life, according to Teresa L. Vatterott, MAEL, R. T. Initial certification supervisor (R)(CV)(CI)(ARRT), educational prerequisites, and the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT)

choosing between radiologic technology vs sonography || Ask The Rad Tech

What does a radiology technician do?

Healthcare professionals with a focus on using radiology equipment include radiology technicians. Some radiology technicians focus on specific procedures like interventional radiology or mammography. Typical duties of radiology technicians include:

Work settings for radiology technicians include hospitals, doctor’s offices, and laboratories. Depending on where they work, these professionals’ specific responsibilities will change.

What is radiology?

Radiology is a branch of medicine that translates pictures of the body’s organs for use in the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses. Radiology technicians use the radiology equipment and create the images for review, whereas radiologists are trained medical professionals who specialize in interpreting the medical images produced by radiology technology.

Almost all areas of medicine, including obstetrics, infectious diseases, emergency medicine, surgery, and pediatrics, use radiology. Common equipment and tools used in radiology include:

What does a sonography technician do?

A specially trained medical professional who is able to use sonography equipment is known as an ultrasound technician or sonography technician. Sonographer, ultrasound technician, and diagnostic medical sonographer are additional job titles for this category. These specialists perform ultrasound diagnostic testing on patients to generate images used by doctors, and they collaborate directly with doctors and patients. Sonographers can choose to specialize in a specific branch of medicine, such as breast, vascular, cardiac, or obstetric and gynecologic sonography.

Common duties of a sonography technician include:

What is sonography?

High-frequency sound waves, or ultrasound, are used in the medical procedure known as sonography to produce images of the body’s tissue, organs, and blood flow. This medical examination generates an image by reflecting these sound waves off different body structures. A transducer, a device that emits ultrasound waves and listens for an internal echo, is also used in sonography.

The images produced by sonography tests, known as sonograms, are used to determine the sizes and shapes of various body structures. The brighter the sonogram image will be, the more sound waves will reflect off of the structures due to the tissue’s density and hardness. To help with the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions like appendicitis, gallstones, kidney disease, ovarian cysts, and liver disease, sonography is used to evaluate the shapes and sizes of bodily structures.

Differences between radiology and sonography

The following are the primary differences between radiology and sonography:


The technology used in each of these two medical specialties is a significant distinction between them. A variety of technological tools are used in radiology, including some that emit radiation, like CT scans and MRIs. Ultrasound, or high-frequency sound waves, are used by sonographers to produce images of the inside of the body. Sonography does not involve the use of radiation.

Diagnostic uses

The way that sonography and radiology are applied as diagnostic tools also differs. Radiology includes a much wider range of skills, so it can be applied in different contexts to diagnose a wide range of conditions. Radiology is frequently used to identify cancer, skeletal abnormalities, and broken bones. Sonography concentrates more on specific body parts, such as the heart, abdomen, musculoskeletal system, vascular system, and breasts. During a woman’s pregnancy, sonography is frequently used to monitor the fetus and perform an echocardiogram to assess heart function.

Protection protocols

Compared to sonography, radiation protection protocols are more stringent. This is due to the fact that radiation can be harmful to some people and situations, such as pregnancy. These safety precautions are not necessary for sonography, which is generally safe to use on anyone.

Requirements and salary of radiology technicians

To pursue a career as a radiology technician, aspirants must complete a formal education program in radiology. There are radiology degrees available in both the associate and bachelor degree levels. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) or the state-provided certification exam are required for radiology technicians to graduate from this program.

Requirements and salary of sonography technicians

A certification, college degree, license, or other credential in diagnostic medical sonography is required for sonography technicians. Since these programs can usually be finished in a year or less, many sonographers decide to pursue certification. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) has accredited a number of sonography education programs, which are accessible as well.

Although it’s not required, many ultrasound technicians choose to obtain certification to demonstrate to employers their level of expertise in the field. Most employers require sonography techs to hold a certification. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT), the Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI), and the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) are among the organizations that provide certification for sonographers.


What is a better career radiology or sonography?

Sonography technicians and radiology technicians both pursue different academic paths and make various salaries. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a radiology technician is $50,872. com. The same website estimates that the average salary for ultrasound technicians is $67,332. Studies are also different.

Should I do sonography or radiography?

When it comes to sonography vs. Sonographers tend to be in higher demand and earn higher wages than radiologic technicians in radiology careers, according to the U S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS. Independent Imaging explains that compared to radiation-based diagnostic procedures, ultrasound offers a safer, non-invasive alternative.

Is a sonographer the same as a radiographer?

The main distinction between radiology and sonography is the type of medical equipment you’ll use, as you can see in the table below: Additionally, ultrasound focuses more on particular body parts and their health as opposed to x-rays, which can identify a variety of medical conditions.

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