Diagnostic medical sonographer
- Expected growth (2010-2020): 44 percent
- Average annual salary: $64,380
- Minimum education: Associate degree
Diagnostic medical sonographers use high-tech sound-wave equipment in procedures such as ultrasound, sonogram or echocardiogram to look inside the body.
"Sonography is increasingly being used in the place of X-rays and other procedures because of its lower health risk to the patient. And it's less costly," Shatkin says.
Contributing to the 44 percent growth of this field are the aging baby boomer population and the increased use of this equipment outside of the hospital setting, such as in doctors' offices and diagnostic laboratories, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The path toward a sonographer career includes an associate or bachelor's degree. There are also one-year certificate programs available for those already in the health care field, such as nurses. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says employers prefer a degree or certificate from an accredited institute or hospital program.
Also, those sonographers with more than one specialty have better job prospects, the bureau reports.