As of 2011, there were about 54,760 diagnostic medical sonographers in the United States, according to The United States Department of Labor. Employment in this field continues to rise each year, as more and more hospitals and other medical facilitates embrace this form of diagnostic imaging. Once used almost exclusively by OB-GYNs to monitor the fetus during pregnancy, sonography today is used in a number of areas of medicine. As the field grows, more colleges are beginning programs to help potential sonographers learn more about the field with an intense medical education. There are both two-year and four-year programs available, and although the cost of education can be high, the diagnostic medical sonography technician salary you can expect may make you forget all about what you’re paying in tuition and fees.
The average annual salary of a diagnostic medical sonography technician as of 2011 was $65,800, and on the rise, giving sonographers an average wage of over $30 per hour. The middle 50 percent of people in this career made on average $65.210 per year, and the top sonographers have salaries that approach six digits. Considering that this career field can start with just a two-year education, that’s a lot of money.
Of course, location plays a huge role in the amount of money you can expect to make. Salary can vary depending on if you choose to live in an urban area as opposed to a rural area, as well as the type of facility where you work. If you are flexible with the location where you end up, then you can take a look at areas where professionals in this field pull the highest salaries. The states with the highest average incomes in 2011 were:
You may have to go where the jobs are, however. As of 2011, the highest employment concentration was in California, with other high concentrations found in Florida, New York, Texas, and Pennsylvania. In all of these states, annual salary was between $58,260 and $81,750. If you want to make the most money possible in this career, check out opportunities in the metropolitan California area, where diagnostic medical sonography technicians averaged between $100,000 and $105,000.
The average salary you can expect also depends on where you work. By far, the largest employers of diagnostic medical sonography technicians were in general medical and surgical hospitals, but you can also find work through other sources. This all depends on what type of work you are interested in doing and where you can find available positions. Other facilities where sonographers can find work include:
Some of the top-paying industries for medical sonographers are:
You’ll also be rewarded with a higher salary for staying with a company for a long time, staying registered as a sonographer by taking annual classes, and becoming a specialist by focusing on one type of sonography. Continuing to further your education and pursue additional certifications can only help you progress in the field and command a higher salary. No matter what career decisions you make, though, this is one job you can expect to be high-paying well into the future. And the demand for qualified sonographers continues to grow, so job outlook is positive for this industry.
If you already have a job and don't have time for rigid class schedules, earning a degree online is the way to go. With the degree programs listed below, you can earn your health services degree in as little as one or two years. Although there aren't any specific sonography degrees online, a related health services degree is just what you need to jump start your career as an ultrasound tech.
Kaplan University — The Associate of Applied Science degree in medical assisting from Kaplan University is not a sonography program, but might make a good background for the field . It provides an entry-level education perfectly suited for those wishing to go into a career in diagnostic medical sonography. Students of this program will learn all the basic skills required of any medical assistant.
DeVry University — The associate's degree program in health information technology from DeVry University, while not an ultrasound technologist degree program, is a related healthcare service program which prepares its students to manage electronic health information systems and work with healthcare applications. HIT professionals work with nurses, physicians, diagnostic medical sonography techs, and more in myriad health organizations.
Herzing University — Herzing University has an associate's degree in medical assisting program, which is not the same thing as an ultrasound technologist program, but is very similar, that is focused on preparing students to become the next generation of healthcare leaders with knowledge of advanced medical technologies, such as health systems databases, songraphy equipment, and more.
Use our degree finder, and we'll help you find a degree program suitable for sonographers.