Ultrasound Technician Salary
A Sonographer plays an important role in healthcare assessment because the images they take help medical professionals better diagnose patients. Because of this, an Ultrasound Technician salary will continue to command a competitive rate. How much do Ultrasound Techs make? Today, the average salary for this medical career rests at $71,410, proving that sonography can yield very lucrative wages!
“Although this is a well-paying field, the biggest mistakes a prospective Sonographer can make is getting into this career in healthcare before doing their research, or only focusing on the salary. If you are not passionate about the craft of sonography, this career is not for you,” Shawntae Jefferson, a 32-year-old Sonographer practicing in Georgia, stressed. “If I could go back and change my career path, I would not because sonography is my passion and has truly taught me so much.”
While the lowest earning ten percent of Sonographers will earn less than $50,760 annually, the highest earning ten percent will make more than $99,840 each year. This equates to between $24 and $48 per hour. There are a number of factors that may impact the salary of an Ultrasound Tech, such as a professional’s level of experience, state of employment and education.
“The educational requirements to enter into this field are to graduate from and accredited sonography program with an associate’s degree or higher,” Jefferson noted. “I do believe that increased education yields a higher wage under most circumstances. I also believe employers appreciate and respect continuing education in the field.”
Additionally, there are certain workplace settings and facilities that tend to pay more than others. In this medical career, outpatient centers, the offices of Physicians, hospitals and medical and diagnostic laboratories tend to pay the most. Alternately, colleges, universities and colleges, professional schools, administrative services and employment services are known to be on the lesser paying side of the spectrum.
“Sonographer salaries overall are pretty fair, depending on whether you’re specialized or not,” Jefferson, explained. “Specialization is always good to consider.”
Wages by Region
The geographic region in which a Sonographer lives and practices will also influence their salary. While their skills and services are needed nationwide, there is a greater need for Sonographers in rural regions as opposed to larger metropolitan areas. However, the following metropolitan areas comprise some of the highest paying Sonographer salaries:
- New York, Jersey City, White Plains, NY-NJ Metropolitan Division
- Houston, The Woodland-, Sugar Land, Dallas, Plano, Irving TX
- Chicago, Naperville, Arlington Heights, IL
- Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, AZ
- Los Angeles, Long Beach ,Glendale, CA
- Nassau County, Suffolk County, NY
- Washington, Arlington, Alexandria, DC, VA, MD, WV Metropolitan Division
- Minneapolis, St. Paul, Bloomington, MN, WI
- Atlanta, Sandy Springs, Roswell, GA
“The earning potential where I live is fair based on the cost of living in the Atlanta Metro Area,” Jefferson shared. “In Georgia, sonography salaries tend to remain the same across the board. Other states may offer higher wages, but this tends to be caused by a lack of sonography schools and programs in that area.”
As for other states, California is recorded to pay their Sonographers the highest salaries. The annual mean wage in this state is $91,700. Following California, the next highest paying state is Hawaii, then the District of Columbia, Washington and Oregon. Some of the lowest paying states within this occupation include Alabama, Louisiana, South Dakota, West Virginia and Michigan.
Wages by Specialty and Experience
There are numerous specialties which an Ultrasound Tech can choose to pursue, however not all specialties pay their sonography employees the same. Most notably, Sonographers which specialize in cardiology, the abdomen or obstetrics/gynecology (OB/GYN) can expect to earn salaries that pay significantly above average wages.
Although specialties can greatly impact salary averages, experience plays a significant role in earnings as well. On average, an entry-level Sonographer can expect to earn roughly $50,000 with tips, bonuses and overtime pay included.
By the time they have reached 5 to 10 years of experience, they can expect to earn about $10,000 more. Then, with late-career experience, which includes more than 20 years of experience, Sonographers can expect to earn an average of around $80,000 per year.
Again, a Sonographer’s salary will ultimately depend on the level of education they have achieved, the number of years of experience they have worked, as well as the state which they live and the type of setting in which they work.
“After years in the field, I now earn more than I did when I initially entered the career,” Jefferson said. “In order for a sonographer to advance their salary I would say they should specialize in their field and gain as much knowledge as possible. From my experience the pediatric specialty often pays higher wages”
Ultrasound Tech Career Outlook
The career outlook for Ultrasound Technicians is excellent! Employment of Sonographers is expected to increase by 23 percent over the next decade. This growth is occurring at a much faster rate than the average for all occupations. Check out the National Sonographer Career Outlook today!
“I believe this career outlook is so strong because people will always need to know what’s going on inside of their bodies through imaging,” Jefferson noted. “Usually, once someone is hired within a facility for practice they tend to never leave. If you’re you’re a good employee, your employer will want to retain you.”
This growth can largely be attributed to an increasing senior population, requiring more diagnostic and imaging tests as they age. Additionally, there is a much greater emphasis placed on prevention and early detection of diseases, illnesses and other conditions. As sonograms can typically be used to depict the functionality and health of internal organs, these healthcare careers are very secure headed into the future.
The relatively low costs of ultrasound imaging technology allows more procedures to be performed outside of hospitals, and is another reason why the method is preferred. Providing an alternative to imaging techniques that involve radiation will also assist security in this field.
Moving forward, the states with the highest employment level in this occupation are California, Texas, Florida, New York and Illinois. If you’re looking for a position as a Sonographer, these might be excellent locations to consider!
What Does an Ultrasound Tech Do?
Ultimately, Sonographers image patient anatomy. The images which these professionals produce are essential to early detection and diagnosis of many conditions and illnesses. From cancer screenings to baby sonograms and other patient ailments, ultrasound technology will depict the condition of internal organs.
So, how does ultrasound work? Working with pre-born, newborn, child, adult, and elderly patients, Sonographer will use and maintain the equipment necessary to conduct ultrasound procedures. This includes applying gel to the area that is to be sonographer before the treatment, and working with a transducer to produce sound waves which then reflect off internal organs and tissues. The information from these sound waves are transmitted to a computer which then produces an imaging reflecting what the sound waves depict.
Other obligations of Ultrasound Technologists include communicating with the patient about what will happen or what is happening during the imaging process. They will also communicate the results of each image with the Physician or Surgeon directly in charge of the patient’s care.
Lastly, a Sonographer is responsible for sterilizing the ultrasound technology room before and after each patient is imaged. They will record, track and maintain all images and additional information obtained from a patient.
“Above all, I chose to become a Sonographer because I wanted to help kids and adults to live the healthiest lives they possibly can,” Jefferson expressed. “I also enjoyed learning about a healthcare procedure that was challenging and that makes a difference in the lives of patients every single day.”
Could a career in sonography be your perfect professional match? Learn more about a career in healthcare as a Sonographer today!
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2018-19 Occupational Outlook Handbook