A diagnostic medical ultrasound technician is another term for an ultrasound technician. Ultrasound technicians use sound wave technology to capture images of human anatomy. Sound wave imaging is a safer option for pregnant women, as well as an additional option for those with heart conditions or other ailments.
In this article, we will discuss an ultrasounds tech’s salary as well as the various factors that influence it.
How Much is an Ultrasounds Tech Salary?
Ultrasound technician pay is among the highest in any medical technician field. According to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2020 salary survey, the average annual salary for an ultrasound tech is $77,790. Those at the top earned up to $105,340, while those at the bottom earned up to $53,790. The figures for salary and employment are based on a national average and may vary by location.
Sonography is a popular career choice due to its high earning potential and favorable employment outlook. In fact, the field is consistently ranked among the top 20 best career options for Associate Degree holders.
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What Is The Starting Salary For An Ultrasound Tech?
The average starting salary for an ultrasound technician can be up to $53,790, or $25.86 per hour. Factors like if the candidate has an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in medical sonography, can influence how much an entry-level ultrasound technologist can earn.
Students who pursue dual concentrations as part of their degree program may be more marketable as well. Obtaining certification in both cardiac and vascular sonography, for example, may increase employment opportunities.
Does Experience Affect An Ultrasounds Tech Salary?
In general, the more experience you have as an ultrasound technician, the higher your salary. The salary you receive as a technician is determined by your location, the facility, and your certifications. In addition, the area in which you specialize determines how much you can earn.
Here are the highest-paying specialties for an ultrasound technician:
- Vascular sonography
- OB/GYN sonography
- Cardiac sonography
- Pediatric cardiac sonography
- Neuro sonography
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Does Location Affect an Ultrasounds Tech Salary?
Ultrasound technicians who work in diagnostic centers usually earn the most money. The type of business, the size of the municipality, and the standard of living all influence how much an ultrasound technician earns. The following are the highest-paying states for ultrasound technicians:
- $94,620 in Hawaii
- $88,972 in Alaska
- $77,064 in California
- $83,265 in Washington, D.C.
- $79,404 in the State of Washington
What Factors Affect Ultrasounds Tech Salary?
To begin, you must be certified or registered with the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). While most states do not require ultrasound technicians to be registered, nearly every employer does. If you attend a CAAHEP-accredited degree program, becoming certified by the (ARDMS) will most likely be part of the program during your senior year or shortly after graduation.
1. Level of education and amount of training
In general, the more education and experience an ultrasound technician has, the more money they can make. While an Associate Degree in DMS is typically required to become an ultrasound technician, a Bachelor’s or even a Master’s Degree in Ultrasound opens the door to a variety of career paths with higher earning potentials, such as consulting, management, or education.
2. Certifications and specialization
The salary of an ultrasound technician is also determined by the area of specialization. For example, if a person specializes in Obstetrics/Gynecology and obtains certification through the ARDMS (American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography), they may be paid more than if they practiced General Sonography.
3. Different work shifts
Ultrasound techs may be required to work a variety of shifts at numerous times throughout the day. The shifts play an important role in the ultrasounds tech salary. These shifts include:
- 1st (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
- 2nd (5 p.m. – 1 a.m.)
- 3rd (12 a.m. – 8 a.m.)
A healthcare professional will be compensated based on the shift they work, particularly if they work outside of the standard Monday through Friday 9:00 – 5:00 schedule. A day shift ultrasound tech, for example, may earn $37.40 an hour working typical business hours, whereas a night shift ultrasound tech may earn $39.00 or $40.00 an hour because they provide a medically necessary service during “off hours.”
Furthermore, once an on-call worker is called into work, they may be compensated at their base wage as well as receive some type of additional incentive for working during off-hours (e.g., $5.00 per hour).
Which Facilities Pay the Highest Ultrasounds Tech Salary?
An ultrasound technician can work in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, doctor’s offices, medical/diagnostic labs, outpatient centers, and other healthcare facilities. Where you work after graduation affects how much you can earn. However, the salary offer does not always provide you with all of the information you need to make an informed decision. You should also consider the employer’s benefits package, which includes not only healthcare but also Paid Time Off (PTO) and the possibility of student loan forgiveness.
The places that pay a high ultrasound tech salary are:
- Outpatient Care Centers: $102,070
- Management of Companies and Enterprises: $87,190
- Colleges and Universities: $84,710
- Offices of Health Practitioners: $84,530
- Employment Services: $84,300
How Can you Become an Ultrasound Tech?
Ultrasound technicians are educated on the proper use of equipment as well as patient care. They must obtain an education, complete clinical work, and pass a certifying exam. These factors are the foremost factors that determine an ultrasounds tech’s salary.
Entry-level ultrasound technician positions typically require at least an associate’s degree. Diagnostic medical ultrasound technicians typically hold an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from a recognized university. There are one-year certificate programs available for experienced medical professionals looking to change careers or gain additional skills. Students study physical and biological science, patient care, medical imaging, and other topics.
At the end of the program, students obtain certification from The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.
2. Clinical research
Clinical hours are required in the majority of sonography programs. A student is typically required to complete 960 hours of training or the equivalent of six months of full-time employment. They are an important part of education because they allow students to gain experience and apply what they have learned in the classroom. Clinical are internships and externships with clinical affiliates.
Clinical affiliates are organizations that have agreed to assist students in gaining real-world experience in their field of study. Staff selects the specific locations, but students may suggest a preferred office if it is registered as an affiliate. Clinical training in a variety of areas, such as vascular, pediatric, and musculoskeletal sonography, is typically completed by students.
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3. Certification exam
Although certification is not required for ultrasound technicians, many employers prefer and even require it. Before taking the exam, candidates for certification must meet the minimum education and clinical training requirements.
There are three certifying organizations:
- The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography
- Cardiovascular Certification from The International American Registry of Radiologic Technologists
4. Certifications and specialties
Obtaining a specialty or certification broadens your skillset and raises your earning potential. Certifications can last from one to ten years, with continuing education and fees required. The duration of the certification is determined by the certifying body.
Here is a list of specialization areas for ultrasound techs:
- Breast sonography
- Vascular sonography
- Registered Vascular Specialist
- Abdomen sonography
- Fetal echocardiography
- Pediatric echocardiography
- Obstetrics and gynecology
- Advanced Cardiac Ultrasound tech
- Registered Cardiac Ultrasound tech
- Registered Congenital Cardiac Ultrasound tech
- Adult echocardiography
- Musculoskeletal sonography
- Registered Phlebology Ultrasound tech
Job Outlook Of An Ultrasound Tech
The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasted a 14% increase in demand for diagnostic medical ultrasound technicians between 2018 and 2030. As the population ages, techniques for diagnosing heart disease and other ailments become more important. Vascular sonography, as well as sonography in general, is an essential tool for these diagnoses.
The growth rate for ultrasound technicians is higher than the national average, indicating positive job stability. This means that in the coming years, an ultrasounds tech’s salary is bound to grow by leaps as they are coming more in demand.
What Does an Ultrasound Technician Do?
Diagnostic medical ultrasound techs are responsible for using medical equipment to take images of inside the human body. This is similar to other imaging techniques but uses sound waves instead of radiation. These images are used to diagnose diseases or to track the development of a fetus during pregnancy.
An ultrasound technician’s primary responsibilities include the following:
- Prepare the exam room and equipment for patients by sterilizing and cleaning them.
- Answer the patient’s procedure-related questions.
- Help radiologists with ultrasound biopsies and procedures.
- Keep accurate patient records.
- Obtain images of the appropriate anatomy for healthcare professionals using appropriate equipment.
- Analyze and interpret procedure outcomes
- Produce reports based on your findings.
- Keep patient confidentiality in mind.
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What Skills Do You Need to be Paid a High Ultrasounds Tech Salary?
In addition to technical expertise, successful ultrasound technicians employ key skills to communicate effectively with patients and to lead with confidence. Here are some important skills to learn as an ultrasound technician:
1. Listening actively
Technicians must be able to listen to what patients and other healthcare professionals are saying and apply their knowledge appropriately.
2. Consideration for others
Ultrasound techs are responsible for identifying and diagnosing what they see on an imaging screen. Critical thinking is necessary for understanding the given information and knowing what steps to take after.
3. Continual learning
A continual learner is always interested in finding new information as it pertains to the field. This is necessary for maintaining certification and employing best practices in the field.
4. Interpersonal and communication abilities
A technician with strong interpersonal and communication skills gets along well with others and can easily exchange information with patients and other medical professionals.
Ultrasound technicians who are self-assured understand their job responsibilities and the procedures required to complete their duties. This comes with a solid understanding of educational concepts as well as prior experience.
6. Patience and empathy are required
With patience and empathy, an ultrasound technician is able to listen to a patient’s grievances and use skills to arrive at a proper diagnosis.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the highest-paying Ultrasound Technician?
Some of the higher-paying specialties include neuro (brain) sonography, which pays $112,000, pediatric cardiac sonography, which pays $80,000, and cardiac sonography, which pays $79,000.
Where can you find the highest-paid ultrasound technicians?
North Dakota is the best state for Ultrasound Technologists, while California and North Dakota are ranked highest in terms of median salary. North Dakota has a median salary of $99,632 and California has the highest median salary among all 50 states for Ultrasound Technologists.
Which is more lucrative, radiography or sonography?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for a radiology technician is $63,710, with a 9 percent growth projected through 2030. Ultrasound technicians, on the other hand, earn a median salary of $70,380, or about 9% more.
How many exams should an ultrasound technician perform per day?
On an average day, most ultrasound technicians perform 9–11 examinations that can last anywhere from 20–45 minutes.
There are numerous opportunities in medical technology, and your potential for advancement is directly related to your skill and training. When compared to other medical technician specializations, ultrasounds tech salaries are among the highest. The salary of an ultrasound technician is affected by a number of factors, including location, qualification, work experience, certification, and education. Typically, the higher the salary, the more credentials and work experience one has.