OB/GYN sonographers use ultrasound technology to create images of the female reproductive system and to monitor the development of babies during pregnancy. Salaries in this field of sonography may vary. Factors such as certification, location and the type of workplace can affect how much sonographers are paid.
Average Salaries in Sonography
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies OB/GYN sonographers as diagnostic medical sonographers. The estimated mean salary for 2012 in this profession was $66,360 per year, or $31.90 per hour. The median average was $65,860 per year. The lowest salary in this range was $44,990; the highest $91,070. The estimated median average hourly wage was $31.66, with a lowest rate of $21.63 and a highest of $43.78. The Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (SDMS) ran a survey of its members in 2013. Its results showed an average median annual income of $78,520.
Sonography Certification Increases Salaries
Although certification is not always essential, OB/GYN sonographers who have these credentials may earn more than those who do not. The SDMS survey showed that a sonographer without certification earned an average compensation package of $64,376 per year. A sonographer with an OB/GYN relevant RDMS certification from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography earned an average of $77,000. Sonographers in other specialties may earn more. For example, a sonographer trained and certified in echocardiography earned an average of $85,644.
Regional Salary Variations
According to the BLS, California had the highest mean annual salary for sonographers at $84,220. The state with the lowest average salary was Alabama, which has an average salary of $47,540. Due to higher cost of living standards, salaries are typically higher in metropolitan areas. The highest annual metropolitan salary of $107,150 was in the San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara area of California. The highest nonmetropolitan salary of $92,200 was also in California, in the northern mountains region. Results from the SDMS also found that California and Alabama were the highest and lowest salary areas. This data listed the highest salary in California as $106,080 and the lowest in Alabama as $64,880.
Sector Salary Differences
OB/GYN sonographer salaries may also vary depending on the workplace. BLS data shows that sonographers working in education in colleges, universities and schools earn the highest average annual salary of $74,940. The majority of sonographers work in hospitals, health care facilities and in private practice. The average salaries in general hospitals, physician's offices and outpatient centers are $66,390, $66,900 and $72,200, respectively. Sonographers working in some specialty hospitals may earn more as the average is $71,090.
Sonography Job Outlook
The BLS estimates that the market for sonographers will grow by 44 percent from 2010 to 2020. This much higher than the expected national growth rate for all jobs of 14 percent. BLS also projects that sonographers who become qualified in more than one specialty practice will have better job prospects.