Ultrasound Technician Salary
Diagnostic sonography uses sound waves to produce images of the inside of the body. This technology is used to assist with diagnosing medical problems like cancer and cysts. An ultrasound technician operates the diagnostic sonography equipment to produce the required images. It is a highly technical job that requires you to know how to use and properly maintain the equipment and how to interpret the images produced by the procedure so the patient’s condition can be correctly diagnosed. Technicians are required to maintain patient records and, depending on their job titles, may be responsible for purchasing equipment or managing a staff of ultrasound technicians.
So How Much Does an Ultrasound Tech Make?
The salary you can expect earn as an ultrasound technician varies depending on where you are employed, your location, certification status, and your level of education and experience. The average wage for ultrasound technicians was $61,980 in 2008. The middle 50% earned between $52,570 and $73,680 per year while the lower and upper 10% earned $43,600 and $83,950 respectively. You will make more money working in a physician’s office ($62,340) than you will at a general hospital ($61,870). People who live in big cities like New York City are paid about 25% more than the average.
The salary earned by people in this field comes from a combination of an hourly wage, overtime, and on-call pay. The average hourly rate is $29 per hour and you may be paid time and a half or double time for overtime work depending on your employer’s policies. When you are on call, you are paid a slightly higher rate with the average being $3.00 additional per hour. If you are not working and you are called in, you are paid significantly more with the average call-in rate at $42 per hour.
If you work as an ultrasound technician and you are not making the kind of money you want, there are a couple of things you can do to increase your salary. Getting training in one or more specialties is a good way to increase your pay rate. If you only have an associate’s degree, going back to school and earning a bachelor’s degree will open doors to higher paying positions, particularly in management and administration. Registering with a certifying body in the industry, like the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography, will also net you a higher wage.
Specialties Within the Ultrasound Tech Field
An ultrasound technician can choose to work in general sonography or specialize in one of four areas: obstetric and gynecology, breast, abdominal, or neurosonography.
Obsteric and gynecology sonography – Most people are familiar with the obstetric sonography side of this specialty. Ultrasound technicians use the technology to monitor the health and growth of fetuses. However, they also take images of the female reproductive system which can assist in diagnosing diseases like uterine cancer or problems such as etopic pregnancies.
Breast sonography – The most common use of breast sonography is to check for breast cancer. However, ultrasound technicians also use the technology to assist in biopsies, track tumor growths, and monitor blood supply to the breasts. The equipment used in this field was designed specifically to study breast tissue.
Neurosonography – Ultrasound technicians in this field use transducers to study problems with the brain and nervous system in people at all stages of life including infancy. They use the same type of equipment that technicians in obstetric and gynecology use, but the beam shapes and frequencies are different.
Abdominal sonography – If you need to have your internal organs examined, then you will likely work with an ultrasound technician in this field. Technicians use sonography to scan the kidneys, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen, male reproductive system, and bile ducts. Although these sonographers can also make scans of the chest, heart imaging is usually done by an echocardiographer.
Ultrasound technician is one of the fastest growing medical occupations. Employment opportunities in diagnostic sonography are expected to increase 18% by 2018. Approximately 61% of ultrasound technicians work in physician offices, outpatient care centers, and independent diagnostic laboratories. Job opportunities will increase the fastest in this area because of the increasing shift toward outpatient care. However, hospitals will continue to be the principal employers of ultrasound technicians.
Career advancement opportunities will also increase. You can remain in the field and advance to managerial, supervisory, or administrative positions or you can move into careers in education, research, technical advisory, and sales.
As an ultrasound technician, you will have the opportunity to positively impact a person’s life by helping to catch diseases before they become a problem. If you are searching for a high paying job that is also personally rewarding, check out this exciting and fast-growing career field.