Diagnostic Sonographer / Ultrasound Technician Salary

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As a diagnostic sonographer or ultrasound technician, the salary you receive is directly dependent on a number of factors, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Location
  • Years of Experience
  • Education Level
  • Type of Employer
  • Specialty

In all areas of this field, job outlook is good, as the health field is rapidly expanding and qualified workers are needed in all areas, including sonography. If you want to make the most money, you need to take the above characteristics into consideration.

Location

As of May 2008, the median wage for all sonographers was about $61,980 annually, according to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can expect more if you live in some areas, however. As of 2009, the states where you could earn the most money as a sonographer, on average were as follows:

  • Massachusetts: $78,460
  • Oregon: $78,320
  • Colorado: $77,380
  • Washington: $76,980
  • Alaska: $75,500

In general, you can also earn more money if you live and work in a city, rather than in a more rural area, though it is important to note that cost of living is higher in cities as well. As of 2009 statistics, sonographers in the following metropolitan cities were paid the most:

  • Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA: $97,530
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA: $92,680
  • Worcester, MA-CT: $90,440
  • Boulder, CO: $83,790
  • Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA: $83,130

Year of Experience

No matter where you live, the longer you work as a sonographer, the more you’ll get paid. Even without going back to school for more advanced education, working in the field allows you to learn technical skills that help you perform your job better.

Keep in mind, that you’ll also often earn more if you stay with a single employer over the years. Companies like to reward employees as much as possible, and you’ll qualify for bigger bonuses every year you continue to work for the same facility. It makes more sense, in most cases, than jumping from company to company.

Education Level

If you want to be a sonographer, you can choose a two-year program or a four-year program. You’ll earn more if you go through the longer program, since you’ll have a deeper knowledge base in your field from the start. Currently, states do not require that you’re certified to work as a sonographer, but if you take this extra step and go through the certification process, not only will you qualify for more jobs, but employers will offer you higher salaries.

Type of Employer

While the most sonography jobs can be found in hospitals, doctor’s offices, and laboratories, the most lucrative positions can be found with employment services, management companies, specialty hospitals, colleges/universities, and outpatient care centers. In general, larger companies also pay more than smaller companies, but it depends on the specific company.

Specialty

In some sonography specialties, you can expect to make more money than in others. Usually, this depends both on demand and on degree of difficulty. For example, you can expect to make more money as a neurosonographers than you can as a an OB-GYN sonographer. Other specialties you can consider include breast sononography and abdominal sonography.

Top Online Ultrasound Tech Degree Programs

Having a degree in the healthcare field is a wise move for anyone looking to become a part of a growing medical field. Becoming an ultra sound tech generally requires some formal training, with the most popular form of education being a two-year degree in a field such as medical assisting, as there aren't really any degrees specific to ultrasound technicians. The following schools offer accredited online degree programs in related healthcare fields.

Kaplan University
AS in Medical Assisting
AS in Health Info Tech
Kaplan University - The medical assisting program from Kaplan University, while not an ultrasound technologist degree program, is a related healthcare service program and a flexible and affordable way for anyone to train to become a certified ultrasound technician. Graduates of this program are eligible to take the Certified Medical Assistant examination given by the American Association of Medical Assistants. Kaplan also offers a program in health information technology.
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Ultimate Medical Academy
AS in Medical Billing & Coding
AS in Health Sciences - Pharmacy Technician
AS in Health Sciences - Healthcare Technology & Systems
AS in Health Sciences - Medical Administrative Assistant
Ultimate Medical Academy - The Healthcare Technology and Systems degree from Ultimate Medical Academy is an associate's level degree program that is geared toward working professionals looking to begin their careers within the medical industry. Graduates of this program will be prepared for a variety of positions in hospitals, private practices, home health agencies, and more. UMA also offers a health science degree for becoming a Pharmacy Technician.
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Rasmussen College
AAS in Health IT
Rasmussen College - The healthcare information technology program allows students to learn medical coding skills when obtaining an A.A.S. degree from Rasmussen College. Note: This is not an ultrasound tech degree. Students learn to the techniques and skills required for maintaining patient files, medical records and disseminating data needed within their medical agency. Enrollees will also be required to receive management and supervisory training.
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