Growth Trends for Related Jobs
Enjoy Serving Others as You Support Your Family
If you're passionate about the medical field, love helping others and don't want to spend longer than a decade training to be a physician, a career as an ultrasound technologist could be right for you. You'll enjoy sharing a reliable income and benefits with your family, while you do something you love. Spend your days meeting with patients, working with physicians and conducting medical testing with special ultrasound equipment. Reliable child care or family support makes it possible to work evening and weekend shifts.
Ultrasound technologists use high-frequency sound waves to create pictures of what is happening inside the body. They spend a good amount of time communicating with patients, taking medical histories, answering questions and helping to ease their fears about procedures. Ultrasound equipment and patient areas need to be kept clean and maintained between patients, as well as at the beginning and end of each shift. Ultrasound technologists ensure images are of high quality, know the difference between normal and abnormal findings, and prepare results to share with diagnosing physicians. They often specialize in certain areas, such as obstetrics, breast health, cardiovascular health or abdominal sonography.
Ultrasound technicians must have a high school diploma or the equivalent and then complete a one-, two- or four-year training program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. Different areas of specialty may require varying lengths of time in school. Most programs include classroom and clinical practice portions to allow students to gain hands-on experience working with patients and doctors. Certification is available through the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers, the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists and Cardiovascular Credentialing International. Basic Life Support certification is required by many employers, who want their employees to be well-versed in CPR. Very few states require licensure, and those that do usually require professional certification before licensure.
The median salary for ultrasound technologists is $55,570, which means that half earn more than this, while the other half earns less. The top 10 percent earns more than $89,450, while the bottom 10 percent earns less than $28,650.
Most ultrasound technologists work in hospitals and physicians' offices. Those who work in hospitals are often required to work some unpredictable, evening and weekend shifts, so dependable child care is a must. Ultrasound technologists in physicians' offices usually have more reliable schedules that are compatible with family life. They often work on their feet, in dimly lit rooms and must be able to help lift patients that require assistance.
Years of Experience
Salary is most impacted by geography and experience. Those in urban areas may earn more than those in rural areas, but they also typically have an increased cost of living. One projection of increasing income over the course of a career looks like this:
- Entry-Level: $39,559‒$73,625
- Mid-Career: $50,002‒$83,181
- Experienced: $54,086‒$91,712
- Late Career: $58,360‒$100,120
Job Growth Trend
Job opportunities for ultrasound technologists are expected to increase by a whopping 23 percent over the next decade, much faster than other industries. Growth is largely attributable to the aging baby boomer generation whose need for medical attention is rapidly increasing. Become certified in one or more areas to be in demand and have the most prospects for securing a solid position.
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- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians, Including Vascular Technologists
- Job Descriptions: Medical Sonographer Job Description
- Salary.com: Ultrasound Technologist
- Learn.org: What Are the Education Requirements for Ultrasound Technicians?
- PayScale.com: Ultrasound Technologist Salary
Anne Kinsey is an entrepreneur and business pioneer, who has ranked in the top 1% of the direct sales industry, growing a large team and earning the title of Senior Team Manager during her time with Jamberry. She is the nonprofit founder and executive director of Love Powered Life, as well as a Certified Trauma Recovery Coach and freelance writer who has written for publications like Working Mother, the San Francisco Chronicle, Bizfluent, the Houston Chronicle and Our Everyday Life. Anne works from her home office in rural North Carolina, where she resides with her husband and three children.