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Ultrasound Sonographer Salary and Career Information

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an ultrasound sonographer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

If you're interested in a career in the healthcare industry and love working with technology, then you should consider becoming an ultrasound sonographer. Ultrasound sonographers can make over $65,000 a year.

Essential Information

Ultrasound sonographers are degreed professionals trained in using specialized medical imaging equipment that allows them to view the human body internally. Ultrasound sonographers work within primary care centers, clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions. Individuals need an associate's degree at minimum to work as a medical sonographer. Depending on the state, no licensing or certification may be necessary, though having those credentials may provide better job opportunities.

Required Education Associate's or bachelor's degree in diagnostic medical sonography
Licensure and Certification Few states require licensure; certification may not be mandatory, but is often preferred
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 26% for diagnostic medical sonographers
Median Salary (2015)* $68,970 for diagnostic medical sonographers

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Ultrasound Sonographer Salary Information

For 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that diagnostic medical sonographers had a median annual salary of $68,970; many earned wages in the range of $57,100 to $81,540 (www.bls.gov). During that year, the five workplace types employing the most diagnostic medical sonographers were general and specialty hospitals, medical and diagnostic labs, physicians' offices and outpatient centers. The average salaries for ultrasound practitioners in these jobs ranged from $68,460 to $83,600.

State and metropolitan areas vary in average salaries paid to diagnostic medical sonographers. California, D.C., Oregon, Washington, and Massachusetts paid the most, with average salaries ranging from $95,880 to $81,370 a year. As for metropolitan areas, diagnostic medical sonographers in the Vallejo-Fairfield, CA area brought home the most income, with an annual mean wage upwards of $120,990.

Ultrasound Sonographer Career Information

Ultrasound sonographers use specialized equipment to view internal parts of the human body to help doctors make medical diagnoses. The images produced by the ultrasound are viewed on a computer screen and are then analyzed by the sonographer. These professionals may specialize in an area of ultrasound sonography, such as obstetrics-gynecology, echocardiography or ophthalmology. The BLS projected that jobs for diagnostic medical sonographers will increase at a much faster than average rate - 26% - from 2014-2024.

Education Requirements

Becoming an ultrasound sonographer requires completion of a 2- or 4-year medical diagnostic sonography degree program. Bachelor's degree programs commonly provide more extensive coursework in diagnostic medical sonography that covers a range of areas, including vascular and obstetrical-gynecological sonography. Hands-on, clinical experience is a requirement in both the 2- and 4-year programs, and 4-year programs offer clinical practice rotations in the specialty areas. Aspiring ultrasound sonographers can explore diagnostic medical sonography programs, which are listed by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

Ultrasound sonographers use medical technology to take images that are used in treatment and diagnosis. The completion of an associate's degree program is generally all that's needed to enter this career field, which is expected to grow over the coming years and offers salaries above the national average.

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