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How Much Do Ultrasound Techs Make

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.

Job Description

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.

Education Requirements

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.

Industry

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.