5 SMART Sonography Career Goals

by | Sep 14, 2023

How can sonographer's grow in their career

Annual review time. 

Cue the nerve-wracking music.

I don’t know about you, but I start to sweat a little when I hear those two words. And it usually has to do with the dreaded self-evaluation and goal-setting.  

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for personal and professional growth. But sometimes, developing meaningful sonography career goals can be challenging, especially in fields like sonography, where the day-to-day tasks can be pretty set in stone.

But fear not, my fellow sonographers! I have five ideas for goals that you can use to impress your boss. And the best part? I’ll even show you how to turn those goals into SMART goals! So not only can you set goals, but you can also prove that you met goals and score major points in your performance review. 

What is a SMART goal?

Using SMART Goals is a straightforward yet effective way to concentrate on your goals, track your advancement, and successfully attain your objectives with clarity and intention.

So what exactly is a Smart Goal? The acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic (Relevant), and Time-Bound.

Let’s break it down:

Specific: Your goal should be clear and well-defined. Instead of setting a vague objective like “get more patient surveys,” make it explicit, such as “increase patient survey participation by 10% each month.”

Sonography career goals should be SMART goals. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.Measurable: You need a way to track your progress and determine whether you’re making headway. Establish quantifiable criteria that will allow you to determine if you’re on track or not. For example, “complete normal fetal surveys in less than 40 minutes” is a measurable goal that you can track and measure.

Achievable: While it’s important to challenge yourself, you also want to set realistic and attainable goals. If your goal is too far-fetched, you’ll quickly become demotivated. Take into account your skills, resources, and time available.

Relevant (Realistic): The goal should align with your overall vision, purpose, and values. Staying motivated and focused will be hard if it doesn’t matter to you. You need to be realistic about the goal too. Building an ultrasound machine is achievable, but is it really realistic?

Time-bound: Establish a deadline for your goal. This creates a sense of urgency and helps to keep you accountable. For example, “write a journal article in six months” is a time-bound goal.

Using the Smart Goals framework, you can break down your objectives into manageable steps and identify what you need to do to achieve them. Let’s look at five goals you can use on your next self-evaluation.

1.  Attend a Sonography Conference

This one is pretty easy. You can splurge on a destination conference or keep it simple by attending a free one-hour webinar.  Conferences offer the latest insights on sonography technology and patient care, presented by industry experts in informative workshops. It’s also a chance to connect with other professionals, share experiences, and exchange ideas in a supportive and friendly environment. Plus, there are often fun social events outside the educational sessions. Don’t forget, too, that most of these conferences are for CMEs. (And I don’t know who needs to see this, but consider this your reminder to check your trienium. Nothing worse than having to get 30 CMEs the last week of the year!)

Bonus! Your employer might have education money set aside. Consider this part of your compensation package and take advantage of the perk. 

Make SMART sonography career goals:

  • I will attend 1 CME event every 3 months. 
  • I will attend a national conference in September this year. 


2. Learn Sonography Terms & Phrases in a New Language

Make learning some conversational phrases in another language a SMART sonography career goal.Bonjour! Hola! Konnichiwa! Learning short phrases in another language can actually be super helpful in healthcare! It builds trust with the patient and demonstrates a desire to make them feel comfortable. Remember: always use a professional interpreter to convey medical information.

When working with patients who need interpreters, it’s important to establish some level of communication with them. You can start by using common sonography phrases like “take a breath in and hold” or “roll towards me.” You can even start with small phrases like “thank you” and “goodbye.”

Once you have some phrases in mind, you can use an online translator to learn the translations. Some translators can even pronounce the phrases for you. It’s even better to talk to a fluent speaker to ensure you have the correct pronunciation, spelling, and tone/respectfulness. 

Make SMART sonography career goals:

  • I will program Spanish fetal labels into the OB auto-label package by March. 
  • I will translate 5 sonography phrases into Somali, verify them with the Somali interpreter, and send them to co-workers in six months.
  • I will make a set of flashcards with different ways to say hello to keep in the tech area this month. 

3. Take Another Registry Exam

If you’re feeling a little lost or need some motivation in your career, learning a new skill could be just the thing to help get you going again. Did you know that challenging your mind and learning new things can actually lead to greater job satisfaction? It’s true!

One great way to expand your knowledge and expertise in sonography is by taking another registry exam. Not only can this increase your earning potential, but it can also open up new career opportunities. Plus, it shows your boss that you’re committed to lifelong learning, which is definitely something to be proud of as a sonographer. Try out a registry review if you’re feeling nervous about getting back into the swing of studying.

Make SMART sonography career goals:

  • I will take the RVS exam in November. 
  • I will research certificate programs in echocardiography in May and select one to start by July. 


4. Submit an Article to the JDMS

The Journal of Diagnostic Medical Sonography is a great resource for sonographers to learn about new research, case studies, and literature reviews.  It’s a must-read for anyone looking to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices in medical sonography.

Have you thought about becoming an author? You might consider reflecting on some of the interesting or unique cases you have participated in or identifying any emerging patterns in your patient population. Alternatively, you could begin by researching your employer’s policies and procedures for using patient data in research in a compliant and ethical manner. 

Either way, do not be intimidated by this! It might spark a new love for education or research. The JDMS and the internet have tons of tips for getting started. 

Make SMART sonography career goals: 

  • I will write a research proposal this year. 
  • I will draft a case study article by June. 
  • I will identify a resident to work with on a research project in the next 8 weeks. 

5. Plan an Employee Engagement Activity

We’re all kind of sick of pizza parties, but there are so many other ways to bring a smile to your co-workers’ faces. And if you’re thinking about how it’s not your job to ensure everyone is happy – I agree, but remember, we’re trying to come up with some goals for the workplace. This one might look especially good if you want to show yourself as a team player. 

Consider checking if there is a budget available and then start brainstorming other ideas. Food is always a good option, such as having a themed potluck or a bake-off. Alternatively, organizing a night out for bar trivia or creating a fun activity board can also be great. With creativity, the possibilities are endless, such as creating a Meme Board, asking about what people are reading or watching, or discussing what their favorite transducer says about them. By planning fun and interactive events, employees can connect with each other on a deeper level and build stronger relationships

Make SMART sonography career goals:

  • I will plan an outside-of-work event in the spring and summer. 
  • I will create a message board for the department to post inspirational quotes and update it every 6 weeks. 


Bonus: 5 More Ideas to Center Your Sonography Career Goals On

  1. Volunteering – Look for organizations related to sonography and offer to help. You can also check out medical mission trips or the SDMS volunteer page
  2. Mentoring – Consider taking a student under your wing. It doesn’t have to be a long-term commitment, but it can be rewarding to be a part of their education. Plus, it can give your scan arm a much-needed break! 
  3. Focusing on Ergonomics – This is crucial for your health and well-being. Identify areas where you can improve your ergonomic setup and research assistive devices. 
  4. Using Patient Care Techniques – Research different patient care and communication techniques. A couple of my favorites are AIDET and Care Out Loud. Share what you learn with your colleagues. 
  5. Improving Inter-professional Relationships – Create brief educational materials for other professionals. For instance, you could make a visual aid for Venous Symptoms vs. Arterial Symptoms and see if leadership will share it. 

So there you have it – 10 seeds to plant in your goal-setting garden. Remember to nurture them with SMART criteria to sprout your goals into manageable and measurable steps. Don’t be afraid to take on new challenges, impress your boss, and bloom with that A+ performance review! Share some of your goals with us below!