How To Become A Sonographer In Australia: A Complete Guide

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Students want to know how they can become a sonographer in Australia.


Are you caring, an excellent communicator, and dedicated to enhancing people's health? Then, a career in Sonography could be ideal for you.


Sonographers are trained professionals who operate ultrasound equipment to capture, understand and record anatomical images and real-time biological information for medical diagnostic purposes.


You usually need a postgraduate degree in medical Sonography and registration with the Australasian Sonographer Accreditation Registry (ASRA) to work as a Sonographer in Australia.


So, if you want to become a sonographer and pursue it as a career, you are at the right place! The following article contains all the necessary information to become a successful sonographer in Australia.



1. What Is A Sonographer?


The sonographer is a professional medical specialising in using ultrasonic imaging devices to create diagnostic images, scans, and videos. A sonographer uses imaging equipment and sound waves to create ultrasound images of various body parts.


They know how to acquire and analyse sonographic images. These images help doctors in diagnosing and treating a variety of medical conditions.



2. What Do Sonographers Do?


A sonographer's duties are keeping daily patient logs, handling billing procedures, and performing routine machine maintenance. Sonographers know how to analyse sonographic images.



3. Primary Duties And Tasks Of Sonographer


The following are the duties and tasks of a sonographer in Australia:


  • Setting up the ultrasound equipment.

  • Performing ultrasound examinations.

  • Producing images resulting from the ultrasound examinations.

  • Interpreting ultrasound images to aid patient diagnosis.

  • Carrying out training on ultrasound equipment for other healthcare professionals.

  • Addressing patient concerns before, during, and after ultrasound examinations.

  • Keeping up-to-date records of scans performed and images produced.

  • Referring patients to other healthcare professionals and facilities when necessary.



4. Essential Skills Of A Sonographer


These are the essential skills that make a sonographer exceptional:



Great Communication Skills


Communication is essential in medicine, as patients are usually nervous when undergoing body examinations. A sonographer must have excellent communication skills. Great communication skills will help the patient to relax.


A sonographer must briefly explain the procedure before starting the process. It helps the patient to calm down.



Technical Skills and Eye-Hand Coordination


Sonographers use various technical operating equipment. For that purpose, they need solid technical skills to operate the equipment. They should have technical skills and eye-hand coordination. Sonographers will usually learn these skills with time as they gain experience.


Patience is the key, as learning technical skills and eye-hand coordination might take a while.



Keen Learner


If you have a passion for learning continuously, this profession is perfect for you, as the learning process never stops. The sonographer will keep learning new techniques and methods because continuous learning and education will be required to maintain this job.





If you have a passion for learning continuously, this profession is perfect for you, as the learning process never stops. The sonographer will keep on learning new techniques and methods. Continuous learning and education will be a requirement to maintain this job.



Physical Strength


Diagnostic sonographers work on their feet for long periods. They have to lift and move the patient who needs help and assistance. Physical strength is essential for sonographers because of the long shifts.


However, sonographers need the ultimate stamina to carry out their day as the typical duty timing is 9 to 5. However, there is a probability of overtime and long shifts.



Mental Strength


Mental strength is the ability to concentrate and focus. The sonographer must have solid mental strength and the ability to demonstrate judgment, emotional stability, empathy, and maturity for others.


Sonographers might be required to make decisions on their own in a potentially busy environment, so they must be able to deal with stress well. However, the sonographer's mental strength should be strong enough that they can deal with stressful situations without getting panicked.





The primary reason for professionalism is to ensure the safety of patients as the patient is the main and one of the crucial concerns. Sonographers must be professionals who can effectively communicate while adhering to the principles of honesty.



Ability To Work Under Pressure


Sonographers must be able to cope with the pressure during emergencies. Medical emergencies can happen anytime. A sonographer must be ready for every situation and strong enough to handle it. They must build time management skills beforehand to decrease stress and increase productivity.



5. How To Become A Qualified Sonographer In Australia?


You must complete a relevant postgraduate qualification to become a qualified Sonographer in Australia. Here is how to qualify for this role:


  1. Complete a 3-4 years full-time undergraduate sonography degree in Australia, i.e., a Bachelor's degree in nursing, medical radiation science, applied science, or a related field. These courses will take between 2-3 years to complete full-time.

  2. Complete a Postgraduate Diploma in Medical Ultrasound, such as two years part-time Graduate Diploma of Medical Ultrasound or a Master of Medical Sonography specialising in cardiac, general, or vascular Sonography.

  3. Apply for registration at Australian Sonographer Accreditation Registry to become an Accredited Medical Sonographer. Complete your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) annually to keep your registration active.



6. Steps To Become A Sonographer In Australia


Below you can find the complete steps on how to become a certified sonographer in Australia:



Step 1: Education and Training


Study for an undergraduate medical radiation science or sonography degree, followed by a graduate diploma.


You will study the following subjects while completing the sonography course:


  • Principles of General Sonography

  • Sonography Patient wellbeing

  • OB/GYN Scanning and Pathology

  • Vascular Scanning

  • The extensive module on Sonography

  • Superficial and Small Parts Scanning

  • Registry Review

  • Abdominal Sonography and Scanning

  • Ultrasound Physics and Instrumentation



Step 2: Registration and License


You must obtain registration from Australia's medical radiation practice board to work as a professional sonographer.



Step 3: Graduate Entry Program


If you're applying through a graduate-entry program, you must have a bachelor's degree first. You can further review the university requirements for using and understanding the entry requirements.


The Following Are The Basic University Entry Requirements:


  • GMSAT: You are required to appear in the graduate medical school admission test and pass with a decent score.

  • GPA: The GPA requirements are pretty straightforward. You must earn a good GPA to get into a university.

  • Interview: The university might interview before admission. Interviews play an essential role in the admission process as it is a pathway to get to know the students and their potential.



7. What Degree Is Best For Sonography?


Aspiring Sonographers must study for an undergraduate degree in nursing, medical imaging, medical radiation science, or a related field. These courses usually take 3 to 4 years to complete full-time.


  • Bachelor of Medical Imaging - CQUniversity

  • Bachelor of Medical Imaging - Deakin University

  • Bachelor of Medical Radiation Science (Medical Imaging) - University of South Australia

  • Bachelor Of Medical Sonography/Graduate Diploma Of Medical Sonography – CQU University

  • Graduate Diploma in Medical Sonography (General) – The University of South Australia

  • Bachelor of Nursing - Deakin University

  • Bachelor of Nursing - Western Sydney University

  • Bachelor of Nursing - RMIT University

  • Bachelor of Nursing - Charles Sturt University

  • Bachelor of Nursing - University of New England



8. Areas Of Specialisation


An experienced sonographer can specialise in the following areas:


  • Musculoskeletal 

  • Cardiac 

  • Chest

  • OB/GYN 

  • Vascular 

  • Breast 

  • Neuro 

  • Ophthalmology

  • Paediatric

  • Abdomen and small parts



9. Sonographer Career Path In Australia


According to Glassdoor, a sonographer can progress to the following positions during their career:


  1. Sonographer

  2. Sonographer III

  3. Adjunct Sonographer

  4. Chief Sonographer



10. Where Do Sonographers Work?


Sonographers primarily work in the following settings:


  • Outpatient Care Centers

  • Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories

  • Offices of Physicians

  • Colleges, Universities, and Professional schools

  • General Medical and Surgical hospitals



11. Typical Job Roles For Sonographers In Australia


  • Electrophysiology Technician (EP tech)

  • Neuro Sonographer

  • Echocardiography (ECHO) Technologist

  • Obstetric Sonographer

  • Pediatric Echo Sonographer

  • Cardiac Sonographer

  • Chief Ultrasound Technologists

  • Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

  • Vascular Sonographer



12. Job Outlook Of Sonographers In Australia


ANZSCO ID 251214 - Sonographers


According to Labour Market Insights, the job outlook of Sonographers is as follows:



Main Industries For Employment


More than half of the vacancies for Sonographers are in the private healthcare sector. Most jobs are available in regional Victoria, Brisbane, Sydney, Cairns, Perth, Melbourne, and Adelaide.


  • Health Care And Social Assistance: 97.4%

  • Public Administration And Safety: 0.8%

  • Wholesale Trade: 0.3%

  • Agriculture, Forestry, And Fishing: 0.3%

  • Other Industries: 0.8%



Percentage of Employment Across Australia


  • New South Wales: 33.4%

  • Victoria: 20.5%

  • Queensland: 23.6%

  • South Australia: 8.4%

  • Western Australia: 9.7%

  • Tasmania: 1.8%

  • Northern Territory: 0.8%

  • Australian Capital Territory: 1.8%



Worker's Age and Gender Profile


The average age of Sonographers is 39 years, with most aged 25 to 34 years. Females constitute 76% of the workforce which is 28 percentage points more than the average of all jobs, i.e., 48%.



13. What Does A Sonographer Earn In Australia?


Currently, Sonographers are among the most decent-paid jobs in Australia. The average sonographer's salary in Australia is AU$ 55.07 per hour, or an annual equivalent of AU$ 89,755. The prime factors that influence their salary include:


  • The level of expertise

  • Years of experience

  • The demands of the job

  • Hourly pay rate ranges 



Salary Based on Experience


  • Entry-level (< 1 year experience): AU$48.62 per hour 

  • Early career (1-4 years of experience): AU$51.39 per hour 

  • Mid-career (5-9 years of experience): AU$59.47 per hour 

  • Experienced (10-19 years of experience): AU$65.16 per hour 

  • In their late career (20 years and above): AU$63 per hour. 



Highest Paying Locations for Sonographers in Australia


  • Perth: $111 per hour

  • Darwin: $110 per hour

  • Brisbane: $109 per hour

  • Gold Coast: 109 per hour

  • Sydney: $108 per hour

  • Melbourne: $106 per hour

  • Wollongong: $104 per hour

  • Newcastle: $104 per hour

  • Canberra: $103 per hour



14. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)



Is Sonography a Promising Career in Australia? 


Sonography is an excellent career choice in Australia. Sonographers with five years of experience earn an average of AU$ 55.07 per hour. This profession is in high demand, and most people are interested in pursuing it as a full-time job.



How Long Does It Take to Become a Sonographer?


The time required to become a qualified sonographer varies based on your chosen career path. Completing a relevant full-time bachelor's degree at an accredited university takes four years.


After you graduate, you can intern or train at a health facility for a year. Those with some medical training can complete a 1-year training in Sonography before working as a sonographer or ultrasonographer.



What is The Difference Between a Sonographer and a Radiographer?


Sonography and radiography are two critical components of medical diagnosis. These two imaging technologies help create images of internal body parts and tissues. Doctors gain valuable information about their patients from these images, which allows them to diagnose diseases and treat them appropriately.


While both Sonography and radiography use medical imaging, they use different technologies. There are only a few fundamental technical differences between Sonography and radiography. The following are the main differences between Sonography and radiology.



The Difference In Technology


The main difference between Sonography and radiology is the use of different technologies. Radiography uses many technologies, including radiation, such as MRIs and CT scans. At the same time, sonographers utilise sound waves to create images inside the body.



The Diagnostic Uses


The diagnostic processes of Sonography and radiology are also different. Radiology diagnoses various medical conditions, such as cancer, and treats injuries and diseases. However, Sonography focuses on specific body parts, including breasts and the heart.



The Safety Measures and Protection Protocols


Radiology requires much more protocols than Sonography as the radiation can be dangerous under some circumstances, for example, during pregnancy. However, Sonography does not require such safety measures and protection protocols.



The Different Study Paths and Salaries


Radiologists and sonographers earn different salaries. A radiologist might make more than a sonographer. The average salary of a sonographer in Australia is AU$89,755. However, the average salary of a radiologist in Australia is about AU$ 250,000.


Moreover, the subjects they study also differ as radiology and Sonography are two different but essential medical fields of medicine.



Where Can I Study Sonography in Australia?


The following are the schools in Australia that offer sonography degrees. However, the entrance requirements differ from institution to institution.


  • Charles Sturt University

  • Western Sydney University

  • Monash University

  • University of Canberra

  • CQ university

  • University of South Australia

  • Queensland University of Technology



How Much Does it Cost to Study Sonography in Australia?


The cost of medical degrees varies from university to university. An Australian sonography degree is not only cheaper compared to other countries, but the degree also holds value to it.


Most medical undergraduate programs in Australia have tuition fees ranging from "AU$ 57,760 to AU$ 71,488 per year." International students prefer Australia, which provides quality and affordable education.



How Many Years of Study to Become a Sonographer in Australia?


It takes between 5 and 6 years to become a Sonographer in Australia.


  1. You must complete a 3-4 year full-time undergraduate degree in a related field, such as nursing or medical radiation science.

  2. Complete a 2-year part-time Graduate Diploma in Medical Ultrasound or a Master of Medical Sonography.



Is There a Shortage of Sonographers in Australia?


According to the Parliament of Australia's report, the Australasian Society for Ultrasound in Medicine (ASUM) highlighted that there is presently a shortage of trained sonographers, which will continue for a couple of years to come.


Due to the lack of sonographers, certain facilities get a sonographer to perform Sonography once a week. It delays access to services for patients in rural areas.


Looking at the shortage of sonographers and the discomfort it is causing patients, the WA Country Health Service reiterated the call for additional sonographers in Australia.



What is The ATAR Score for Sonography?


The entry requirement for sonography courses is usually between 65 to 80 and varies between universities.




Is Sonography in High Demand in Australia?


A sonography career offers plenty of benefits, ranging from a brilliant starting salary to the opportunity to specialise. Sonographers also usually have flexible work schedules and enjoy various work settings.


According to Labour Market Insights, this is a small occupation, with only around 4,800 workers in 2023. Job opportunities for skilled sonographers are available nationwide, particularly in regional and rural areas with a shortage of medical professionals.


As performing procedures and examinations for patients requires you to work on-site, work-from-home opportunities are minimal.



What is The Highest-Paid Sonographer in Australia?


Sonographers with 10-19 years of experience earn the highest average salary of AU$ 65.16 per hour.


Gaining advanced degrees, specialised roles, managing experience, and working in high-paying cities can help increase your earning potential.



What is The Lowest Pay For a Sonographer? 


Entry-level Sonographers with below one year of experience usually earn the lowest average compensation of AU$48.62 per hour.



What Field of Ultrasound Pays The Most? 



  • OB/GYN Sonography ($50,000 to over $80,000 p.a.)

  • Abdominal Sonography ($55,000 to over $73,000 p.a.)

  • Cardiac Sonography ($80,000 to over $100,000 p.a.)

  • Neurosonography ($65,000 to over $91,000 p.a.)

  • Vascular Sonography ($37,000 to over $68,000 p.a.)

  • Breast Sonography ($62,000 to over $80,000 p.a.)

  • Ophthalmologic Sonography ($33,000; and more p.a.)

  • Musculoskeletal Sonography (average $60,000 p.a.)


Thus, Cardiac Sonographers earn the most, between $80,000 to over $100,000 p.a. on average.



How To Become a Sonographer in New South Wales (NSW)?


  • Complete a 3-year full-time or 6-year part-time Bachelor of Nursing at the University of Technology Sydney.


  • Follow it up with a related postgraduate qualification, i.e., a 2-year part-time Graduate Diploma in Medical Imaging Science - The University of Sydney. Apply for registration with ASRA to become an accredited medical sonographer.



How To Become a Sonographer in Queensland (QLD)?


  • Complete an undergraduate degree in Sonography, i.e., a 3-year Bachelor of Nursing - The University of Queensland. This course is ideal for those who want to know how to become a sonographer in Australia for international students.


  • Advance your learning by completing a 2-year part-time Graduate Diploma in Medical Ultrasound - QUT. Alternatively, you can complete a double degree, i.e., a 4-year Bachelor Of Medical Sonography/Graduate Diploma Of Medical Sonography – CQU University.


  • Apply to register with ASRA and work as an accredited medical sonographer.   



How To Become a Sonographer in Western Australia (WA)?


  • Undertake a sonographer course at the Perth campus by studying for an undergraduate degree in medical Sonography or medical radiation science, i.e., a 3.5-year Bachelor of Science (Nursing) or a 4-years full-time Bachelor of Science (Medical Radiation Science) at Curtin University.


  • Follow it up with a Graduate Diploma in Medical Sonography.


  • Obtain registration from the Medical Radiation Practice Board of Australia to get listed as an accredited sonographer with the Australian Sonographer Accreditation Registry.



15. Conclusion


Your career as a sonographer holds value and responsibility. The profession requires serious dedication and patience, but it is rewarding. As a sonographer, you must be professional and hardworking. Hard work is vital in every field of life and will take you to places.


However, you need to be responsible enough to take on this responsibility. As a sonographer, you are part of the medical diagnosis team and must ensure you do everything correctly.


Hopefully, this guide on becoming a sonographer in Australia has made it easier for you to understand better career choices, job prospects, study costs, career opportunities, and salary expectations.


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