Ultrasound technicians, also known as sonographers or diagnostic medical sonographers, play a necessary role in contemporary medicine.  While they might be more regularly thought of as controlling the health and advancement of a fetus or recognizing the femininity of the developing baby, they are in fact a highly specialized and trained allied well-being experienced.

Ultrasound technologists work strictly with physicians.  They use specialized furnishings that emits high-frequency sound waves that rebound back images of tendons, organs, and tissues.  They are trained to help identify and diagnose a disease or use ultrasound waves in the treatment of injuries such as in physical therapy.

Ultrasound Technician

Ultrasound technicians, also known as diagnostic medical sonographers, are responsible for operating equipment that produce and record images or conduct tests. These images are then used by physicians to make a diagnosis. Most people are familiar with the role of an ultrasound technician as it relates to pregnancy, but sonograms are also used to examine breast tissue, brain, and spinal cord and muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints, and organs in the abdominal cavity.

Ultrasound technicians
Ultrasound technicians

Like other allied health careers, specialization is a possibility with sonography. Cardiac sonographers produce imaging of a patient’s heart, heart chambers, valves, and vessels. The avascular sonographer is similar to a cardiac sonographer, but they focus primarily on blood vessels and blood flow. An ultrasound technician’s job requires more than just producing an image. You’ll interact with patients by preparing them for the procedure. You’ll also need a keen eye; ultrasound technicians must be able to recognize normal and abnormal images.  Analyzing diagnostic information and providing it to the physician is a regular job task.

Ultrasound technicians work primarily in hospitals, physician’s offices and laboratories, but before you can get there, you’ll need to earn an ultrasound technician education.

Ultrasound Technician Salary

Ultrasound technician salaries rank among the highest when compared to other medical technician specializations. The salary for ultrasound techs may depend on several variables, including location, qualification, work experience, certification, and education. Typically, the more credentials and work experience, the higher the salary. The state of employment also plays a major factor due to the cost of living and demand variables.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the 2013 national annual median salary of diagnostic medical sonographers was $66,400, while the median hourly wage was $31.93. Salary is also dependent upon the level of education, with most ultrasound technicians completing a degree or certificate program from an accredited institution.

Ultrasound technician
Ultrasound technician

Ultrasound Technician Salary by State

Find your state below and learn more about the median annual salary and hourly wage earned by ultrasound technicians in your area.

State/Median Hourly Wage/Median Annual Salary
Alabama $23.92 $49,800
Alaska $39.63 $82,400
Arizona $37.87 $78,800
Arkansas $26.92 $56,000
California $41.35 $86,000
Colorado $36.50 $75,900
Connecticut $37.47 $77,900
Delaware $32.35 $67,300
Florida $28.98 $60,300
Georgia $28.66 $59,600
Hawaii $37.58 $78,200
Idaho $29.85 $62,100
Illinois $33.14 $68,900
Indiana $30.47 $63,400
Iowa $27.96 $58,200
Kansas $30.83 $64,100
Kentucky $27.58 $57,400
Louisiana $27.51 $57,200
Maine $34.73 $72,200
Maryland $35.07 $72,900
Massachusetts $38.71 $80,500
Michigan $28.04 $58,300
Minnesota $35.34 $73,500
Mississippi $27.50 $57,200
Missouri $32.06 $66,700
Montana $33.41 $69,500
Nebraska $29.37 $61,100
Nevada $34.48 $71,700
New Hampshire $36.11 $75,100
New Jersey $32.85 $68,300
New Mexico $32.74 $68,100
New York $32.20 $67,000
North Carolina $30.49 $63,400
North Dakota $30.13 $62,700
Ohio $28.88 $60,100
Oklahoma $30.86 $64,200
Oregon $40.76 $84,800
Pennsylvania $27.85 $57,900
Rhode Island $38.46 $80,000
South Carolina $27.33 $56,800
South Dakota $25.74 $53,500
Tennessee $28.82 $59,900
Texas $31.53 $65,600
Utah $32.58 $67,800
Vermont $33.94 $70,600
Virginia $33.80 $70,300
Washington $39.03 $81,200
Washington, DC $33.25 $69,200
West Virginia $26.00 $54,100
Wisconsin $38.12 $79,300
Wyoming $32.25 $67,100

Ultrasound technician With Patients
Ultrasound technician With Patients

Ultrasound Technician Salary by Industry

Industries with the highest salaries for ultrasound technicians generally were those that were hospital-based practices or similar facilities. Ultrasound technicians working in outpatient care centers earned the highest annual mean wage compared to all other industries. According to the BLS as of May 2013, the top five highest-paying industries with their annual mean wage include:

  • Outpatient care centers: $73,640
  • Specialty hospitals: $73,640
  • Management of companies and enterprises: $72,910
  • Management, scientific, and technical consulting services: $71,340
  • Colleges, universities, and professional schools: $70,630

Factors that affect the Salary

Several factors that may contribute to ultrasound technicians obtaining a higher salary may include education, certification, and location. Typically, the more specialized and higher level of education and training obtained by the technician, the higher the salary. If the sonographer specializes in cardiac sonography and obtains certification, the sonographer may be qualified to obtain a higher salary than someone who merely practices general sonography. Those who have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in diagnostic medical sonography may be eligible to seek higher-level positions in management.

Depending upon where technicians live, they may qualify for higher pay, especially when factors such as cost of living, demand, and lifestyle play into the overall cost. In addition, those technicians who have experience in the field may demand a higher level of play, and those who have at least 20 years of experience may demand double or triple the salary of technicians just starting out.

Ultrasound Technician Duties & Responsibilities

The ultrasound technician job requires candidates to be able to perform duties that include the following:

  • Prepare the exam room and ultrasound equipment to conduct examinations Assist radiologists as needed with ultrasound-guided biopsies and vascular ultrasound procedures
  • Recognize and record the appropriate anatomy and pathology using sonographic equipment
  • Care properly for sonography equipment and report equipment failure
  • Write reports based upon the scan results and completion
  • Alert appropriate medical staff of any abnormalities that need immediate attention
  • Use the ability to solve problems and make decisions
  • Work independently or with minimal supervision and as part of a team
  • Manage multiple priorities and projects, and display flexibility in a fast-paced work environment
  • Display a good work ethic and friendly and cheerful disposition
  • Maintain the strictest levels of confidentiality
  • Pursue professional development for the continual improvement of patient care

How Many Years Does It Take To Become An Ultrasound Technician?

Becoming An Ultrasound Tech Is A Great Career Choice For Many Reasons, Including Education: Most Sonographers Hold An Associate’s Degree, Which Typically Takes 2 Years To Complete.

How Much Do Ultrasound Technicians Make An Hour?

Ultrasound Techs Earned An Average $65,800 Annually, Or $31.63 Per Hour, As Of May 2011, According To The Bureau Of Labor Statistics. The Lowest-paid 10 Percent Received $44,950 Per Year Or $21.61 Per Hour. The Highest-paid 10 Percent Made $90,640 Yearly, Or $43.58 Hourly.

What Do You Need To Become An Ultrasound Technicians?

Ardms: To Earn An Ardms Credential, You Must Complete Your Educational Requirement (Typically Either A Two-year Associate’s Degree Or A Four-year Bachelor’s Degree In A Sonography-related Program From An Accredited School) And Have 12 Months Of Full-time Clinical Ultrasound Experience.

Is It Hard To Become An Ultrasound Technician?

Difficult But Worth The Effort
It Takes Two Years To Complete, But The Degree From A Caahep Accredited Program Qualifies The Sonography Student To Take The Ardms Exams. It Is Necessary To Take Required Courses Like Physiology, Anatomy, Physics, Sonography Instrumentation, And Medical Terminology.

Can You Take Online Classes To Become An Ultrasound Technician?

Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs For Ultrasound Technicians Can Be Conducted Entirely Online, Or In A Combination Of Live Instruction And Web-based Classes. Some Schools Require Completion Of Clinical Labs, While Others Offer Only Non-clinical Programs. Most Programs Will Take Four Years To Complete.