Sonogram Technician Salary
The average annual salary for a sonogram technician is determined by several variables like geographical location, work experience, having an advanced certification in a specialty field, and work environment. The top 10% bracket of sonogram technicians make an average annual salary of over $88,490 while the lowest 10% bracket can earn an average annual salary of less than $44,900. The middle 50% can earn an average annual salary of $61,000-$74,000.
The place of employment or work environment can also have an effect on the average annual salary such as:
- $74,540 paid by professional universities or schools
- $72,470 paid by outpatient care centers
- $66,050 paid by physician’s offices
- $65,870 paid by hospitals
- $63,920 paid by medical and diagnostic labs
Based on years of experience the average annual sonographer salary can be:
- $24,432-$60,552 with less than 1 years experience
- $30,620-$65,003 with 1-4 years of experience
- $41,015-$75,267 with 5-9 years of experience
- $44,041-$90,527 with 10-19 years of experience
- $47,281-$105,704 with more than 20 years of experience
The best paying states for a sonogram technician to work include:
- $104,130 in California
- $80,190 in Oregon
- $79.540 in Colorado
- $79,060 in Connecticut
- $78,460 in Massachusetts
Most places where a sonogram technician might work will offer some type of benefit packages which can include paid vacation and sick days, vision and dental care, life insurance, health insurance that may cover the entire family, 401K, pension, social security, profit sharing, annual bonuses, and disability pay if they are hurt on the job, differential pay for working nights and weekends, stipend for their cell phone payment if they are on-call, reimbursement for continuing education classes to keep their certification, uniforms, and more.
Salary of a Sonographer in 2015
The salary of one of these professionals in 2015 is influenced by a number of factors. Starting with the type of employer and continuing with the education training the income has its higher and lower points. In the US, the yearly salary in 2015 can reach $64,386 per year with the higher earnings in this job that can reach about $88,498 per year and even higher. The lowest point that can be added to the income of a Sonographer can reach about $44,913 and even lower.
The income, even though, can be pretty competitive and will vary according to each state and location area, is quoted to be as one of the highest among the allied health specialists. People will continuously need the help of a Sonographer, so his role is as vital as any other health care professional.
Sonogram Technician Salary in 2016
In the U.S., for the year of 2016, the incomes of sonogram technicians are ranked as being some of the highest earnings of all medical technicians in these fields. This is mainly due to the technical aspect of the job. One of the main factors that affect and impact is the educational background, with more education is gained more experience this leading to higher incomes. Other factors are the area of specialization that one individual chooses, such as cardiac ultrasound or vascular ultrasound.
The incomes of these professionals are also influenced based on the demographic factor-the geographical location and the type of employment. The earnings are influenced based on each state and region. Differences can also appear between the rural versus urban areas, the competition for jobs is much more pronounced in the second one than in the first one. A vast majority of sonogram technicians are women rather than men.
The median income for these specialists is estimated to be at around $49,230 per year, with a starting point of $29,427 per year and up to $66,014 per year and even higher. The granted bonuses in this field can reach up to $2,048, this leading in the end at a total payment that starts from $30,280 and up to $73,558.
When it comes to the years of experience in the field, one professional with up to five years of working experience can expect to take home around $49,010 per year, while one with up to 10 years in the field can expect to gain around $58,010 per year. An experienced sonogram technician with up to 20 years in the field can expect to earn around $68,010 per year while a veteran in this field with plenty of experience gained will take home around $70,010 per year. As you can see this factor has a moderate effect on the income but is still one that contributes to the salary economic fluctuations.
Sonogram tech salary in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom
- Australia—the average annual salary for a sonogram technician would be AU$60,848-AU$133,920 with an average annual bonus of AU$19,392
- Canada—the average annual salary for a sonogram technician would be C$42,663-C$88,259 with an average annual bonus of C$4,966
- UK—the average annual salary for a sonogram technician would be based on their age bracket. If they were in their 20’s it would be 28,820 pounds, in their 30’s it would be 37,658 pounds, and in their 40’s and 50’s it would be 44,575 pounds.
Sonogram Technician Career
What is a sonogram technician?
The word sonography is the “science of using sound waves to create digital images of the inside of the body”. A sonographer is medical personnel who use ultrasonography equipment for diagnosing illnesses and examinations. There are many who work in or are associated with the healthcare industry that refers to sonographer/sonogram technicians as the “unsung heroes of the medical fraternity.” To be a sonographer/sonogram technician you do need to be somewhat tech-savvy in order to use sophisticated technology. You also need to be personable in order to the patient at ease during the test. They are also known as diagnostic medical sonographer or ultrasound technicians.
Job description of a sonographer technician
The equipment that they use has high frequency sound ways that penetrate the patient’s body and bounce back. Once it has bounced back the sound waves are relayed to a computer screen where they are interpreted by the sonographer tech. Once they are interpreted they are displayed in the form of a video or image for the physician to see. The physician will use these images for a variety of reasons such as to check on the woman’s pregnancy to make sure that the baby is growing as it should or to see why a patient is having pains in a certain area of their body. The sound waves are transmitted to the patient with the help of a wand that is called a transducer.
Some of the duties that a sonogram technician does can include:
- Operate ultrasound equipment
- Being responsible for the care and maintenance of the ultrasound equipment
- Being able and strong enough to move the equipment around to get a clearer image or video to help facilitate a diagnosis.
- Talking to the patient and giving them information about the diagnostic test.
- Letting the patient know what you are going to do and why such as instructing them how to assume certain positions so you can get an video or image easily that will give the physician an accurate diagnosis
- Putting a gel over the area of the body that is to be scanned to help the sound waves show the image clearer.
- Capturing images of the patient’s internal organs, tissues, other body masses, and fluids for the physician to examine.
- Doing ultrasounds on pregnant women to determine if she is carrying more than one baby, to see if there are any deformities, to see how far along she is if she is not sure when her last menstrual period was.
- Analyzing the ultrasound films and generating a report that gives their opinion that could help with the diagnosis of any possible diseases or abnormalities.
- Recording medical histories along with maintain health records that pertain to their investigations
- Helping physicians with examinations and sometimes giving their inputs in regards to any future examinations
- Interpreting the data that is computer generated and giving it to the supervising physician
- Performing administrative tasks like taking inventory of the supplies that are needed to do their job correctly and ordering supplies and medical equipment
Although they are mostly associated with pregnancy they can also specialize in certain areas of the body like the breasts, musculoskeletal system, abdomen, or neurological system. Sonographer technicians will occasionally have to move patients and will find themselves on their feet many hours during the day. They may have to make many trips back and forth to the waiting room to get their patients for the ultrasound so a sonographer/sonogram technician needs to be in good physical and do not mind being on their feet most of their shift. They also need to make sure that they can lift patients or help them up on the table to have the ultrasound done.
They must also have strong verbal and written communication skills because they will not only be dealing with patients but also other members of the medical staff and clerical personnel. Because they will be dealing with many patients during their shift they need to be organized to keep records straight and able to multi-task if necessary. A sonogram technician does need to have knowledge of medical terminology and concepts.
How to become a sonogram technician?
To become a sonogram technician you will need to complete your training in order to earn an associate or bachelor’s degree. Getting your associate degree only takes 2 years to complete so this is the program most will choose. Getting your bachelor’s degree will take 4 years to complete. The associate degree you should get is an Associate of Applied Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography. Throughout the country the sonogram technician programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.
The program will prepare the student to produce the images that are used to diagnosis illnesses, injuries, and various other medical conditions. They will also learn how to operate the ultrasound equipment and then interpreting the images that result from the ultrasound. You will also have to study physiology and anatomy, ultrasound physics, patient care, pathophysiology, sonography instrumentation, and medical terminology. In addition in this program you will learn about specialty imaging such as ones done on pregnant women, the abdomen, and the heart. The student will complete many clinical practices to get their hands-on practice plus they will also learn in a laboratory. During the clinical the students will conduct and observe sonograms that are done on real patients and can take place in hospitals, private medical offices, and clinics. During these clinical they will work with physicians or experienced sonogram technicians.
In addition to the associate and bachelor’s degree there are also some certificate and diploma programs just for those who are already with in the field of imaging.
- Diploma program—will usually take 3 semesters to complete. To get into the diploma program you must be a graduate of a 2-year health science program and may be required to have completed a set number of hours observing in a medical sonography facility along with showing competence in algebra and biology. At the end of 3 semesters when they graduate and receive their diploma or showing they know the process of sonography examinations which are take an image, process, and evaluate.
- Certification program—the prerequisites to get into this program are the same as with a diploma program but these students must also have clinical experience in medical diagnostic imaging or clinical experience in patient care. The curriculum is practical skills and theory and will learn all about medical sonography. The curriculum will include clinical education with didactic studies which means different areas of sonography and ultrasound specialties at different medical sites. This program will take 12 months to complete.
To get any degree, diploma, or certificate the student may be required to have a criminal background check, drug screening and cardiopulmonary resuscitation certification (CPR).
Although to practice as a sonographer technician you do not need a license or to be certified but you can choose voluntary certification through a professional organization like the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). After pass the examination the student will have earned the credential of Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS). If the student has focused on a specialty area of sonography they can also be certified in that area too. One example is being certified for vascular and breast the American Registry of Radiologic Technologist would be the professional organization that would administer that exam to become certified. In order to maintain their certification they will have to complete continuing education classes.
Work environment and schedule
Most sonogram technicians work with obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) physicians. Approximately 60% of sonogram technicians work in a hospital while the other 40% work in diagnostic facilities, outpatient clinics, or physician offices. In most of their work environments they are working in a large suite with dim lighting. As most of the ultrasounds are scheduled sonogram technicians will work an 8-4 or 9-5 shift Monday through Friday. Some that work in hospitals, especially the emergency room, may find themselves working day, evening, or night shift or even be on-call. They may even work weekends.
Pros and cons of being a Sonographer
This career choice, like any other, has its rewarding, and it’s a very dynamic profession. Sometimes you can find the job having a unique approach and the fact that is not a job without everyday challenges. Before you start on this path, check out the pros and cons that accompany this job. Working as a sonographer you’ll deal a lot with specialized equipment that will help you view the internal body anatomy of a patient.
Your job in this field is elaborated and with the amount of duties that you have to accomplish there will be no room to be bored. With this kind of work accuracy and attention are some key elements that will help you in this career.
The pros in this job start as well with the salary of one of these professionals. A sonographer can make relatively well compared with other fields. The median income of a sonographer can reach $61,984 per year while the middle average yearly salary was established between $52,573 and $73,686 per year.
The job overview is truly good with the number of demanding increasing and the number in the aging population being doubled; people will always be in need for these professionals. The level of education that has to be completed by one of these professionals can be based on each state requirements. On average those who work as sonographers possess already in an entry-level an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in medical diagnostic sonography.
To be able to complete your job without any problem, you’ll have to be passionate about science, and classes that will include anatomy, physiology, and other subjects. The con of this job is that you’ll have to be physically fit since you’ll have to push and pull a lot, even bend. Another drawback will be the fact that you’ll spend most of your day on your feet. You’ll also have to work overtime, weekend, and even evenings especially if you are working in a facility such as a hospital.
You should take all the safety measures that are required and be aware of the possible risks that can appear when you expose yourself to blood and bodily fluids of the patients.
Sonogram Technician job growth
For the next five to ten years, the employment job growth for sonogram technicians is projected at 46% rate of increase, according to the BLS or else known as the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This rate of increase has a higher than the average percentage than all the occupations. This is mainly due to the number of demand and the nature of the job itself, sonography being seen and considered as irreplaceable by any other imaging technique.
There are plenty of job opportunities and positions available nationwide. The great news is that the medical field is still continuing to put great emphasis on diagnostic techniques that are less invasive, this leading to an increased demand for sonogram technicians. These specialists can find work in a variety of work setting such as diagnostic imaging facilities, hospitals, physician’s offices and other medical areas. There are plenty of work opportunities with plenty of cases that need the help of these professionals. Sonogram technicians play a vital role in the medical field especially when it comes to the imaging techniques, which are treasured in setting the right course of a patient treatment or diagnostic.
Conclusion on sonogram technician salary
After looking at the training of 2-4 years to get either your associate or bachelor’s degree including the clinical practices and courses you would think that the sonogram technician starting salary would be higher than an average annual salary of just under $25,000. If you enjoy this type of work, love to work using computers, love to find out what is wrong with a person so their physician can find out what is wrong then this would be the ideal medical field for you to pursue in spite of the low average annual salary. You do have to filter in the benefit package which could add several thousands of dollars to that starting base salary.
Although the starting average annual salary is low and one that you could make working in a factory or as manager of a fast food restaurant which neither one of these jobs require any education to get one of these jobs by the time you have worked 1 year you can add approximately $6,000 to the starting base salary.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is predicting that the employment rate for a sonogram technician is going to increase by 18% from 2008-2018. This growth rate is faster than average for all other occupations in the medical field. One reason is due to everyone now realizing that using imaging, or ultrasound, machinery is relatively safe so more people are using this technology to find out what illnesses they may have that is causing them to feel so bad.
- First Published Date: 13 December, 2014
- Last Updated Date: 3 November, 2016