One of the most interesting jobs in the healthcare field is an ultrasound technician. Also known as sonographers, these technicians are responsible for scanning a patient’s blood flow, internal tissues, and organs depending on the physician’s orders.
If you are considering this for a career, you are probably wondering how much does an ultrasound technician make? But before we get into that, we’ll take a look at the job duties, specializations, education, and certification. All of which can greatly impact a technician’s salary.
There are many duties that ultrasound technicians are responsible for on a daily basis. They document patients’ medical histories, calibrate the machine, properly position patients on the table, scan the appropriate part of the body, take measurements, make calculations, and evaluate preliminary results. All of the work they do during examinations greatly aids physicians when it comes time to making a diagnosis.
Each body structure such as the abdomen and heart require different scanning techniques, therefore, technicians can specialize in several areas including:
- Abdominal ultrasound
- Breast ultrasound
- Cardiac ultrasound
- Obstetrics and gynecology
- Ophthalmologic ultrasonography
- Vascular ultrasound
To work in this field, ultrasound technicians must hold an associate degree or higher. Programs are often found at community colleges, universities, and vocational schools. Courses include Biology, Health Ethics, Medical Terminology and Introduction to Sonography. Those who hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree become supervisors at a quicker pace than their colleagues with associate degrees.
While certification is not required, many employers prefer to hire ultrasound technicians who have passed the Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer certification exam administered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). Those who wish to pursue a specialization need to take additional certification exams which vary by specialty.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2012 and 2022, the number of ultrasound technician jobs is projected to rise 46 percent. Part of this is because ultrasounds are gaining more popularity since it is a low-risk, non-invasive way to diagnose patients, especially children and pregnant women.
Hospitals continue to provide most of the jobs (62 percent), however, growth is expected to rise in outpatient facilities this year due to the fact ultrasound equipment is becoming less expensive to purchase and more mobile.
States that have a high demand for ultrasound technicians are: New York, California, Florida, Texas, and Ohio. States such as Delaware, North Dakota, Alaska, and Wyoming are at the other end of the spectrum.
There are three main ways salary is determined:
Geographical location – The salary differs around the country. At $89,870, ultrasound technicians who work in California have the highest average salary in the United States. Next in line are Oregon, Alaska, Washington, and Colorado, with averages between $78,810 and $85,970. Alabama has the lowest average salary at $50,700.
Education and certification – While the type of degree technicians have impacts their salary, certification has an even greater one. Over 50 percent of those who hold a Registered Vascular Technician credential earn more than $65,000 annually. Ultrasound technicians who are Registered Diagnostic Sonographers and those with other similar credentials, earn close to that amount.
Industry setting – In 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that general medicine and surgical hospitals employed approximately 35,590 ultrasound technicians at an average salary of $68,860. Those who work in diagnostic and medical lab settings make an average of $66,240, while technicians who work in physicians’ offices take home $67,510. The highest paid are employed at outpatient centers earning an average of $72,930 annually.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. We will be glad to answer any questions you have regarding salary or any other aspect of an ultrasound technician’s job.