As a Sonographer you will use imaging equipment that will direct sound waves into a patient’s body in order to diagnose different types of medical conditions or to aid a physician in determining the age and growth rate of a fetus. The sonographer can work in different types of medical facilities such as labs, clinics, hospitals or private practices. The sonography salary will vary depending on the type of medical facility in which they work, their certification level and which state they live in. for this career field the sonographer can choose from certificate programs, which can take one to two years to complete or they can obtain a degree in sonography.
The Hourly and Average Annual Salary
The average hourly sonogram technician salary is 25$ with the lower ten percent in this field earning 18$ and the higher ten percent in this field earning 35$. The annual sonogram technician salary is 60,000$ with the lower ten percent in this field earning 40,000$ and the higher ten percent making 80,000$.
The lower sonography salary is directed towards those individuals that live in rural areas and those sonographers that have completed a certificate program. The higher paying salary for this field is directed towards the health care professional that has obtained an associate’s or bachelor’s degree and lives in an area that has a higher population.
Oregon and Washington offer an annual sonogram technician salary of 70,000$ to 72,000$ while Connecticut and Alaska feature an annual salary of 72,000$ to 74,000$. The cities that can offer a higher salary are located primarily in California and offer the top ten percent annual income. These cities are Santa Cruz, Watsonville, Santa Rosa, Santa Clara and San Jose.
How to Increase your Annual Salary
A certificate program in this field is designed to prepare the student for an entry level position working as a sonographer. For those employed in this field wanting to advance in their career and make a higher income, they’ll need to obtain an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.
The associate of applied science in diagnostic medical sonography degree is a two year program that requires the applicant to have their high school diploma or equivalent. For this type of program the student will need to take a standardized test and have a minimum score of 900 in order to be accepted. In this program the student will also need to have taken prior courses in both algebra and anatomy to qualify for entry.
Some of the courses offered for the Associate’s degree will include medical terminology, medical law and ethics, physiology, psychology, advanced anatomy, patient record keeping and pathology. Having an associate’s degree will qualify the sonographer for supervisory roles such as the chief ultrasound technician which will feature a potential annual salary of 72,000$ to 78,000$ a year.
The Bachelor of Science in diagnostic medical sonography is a four to five year program that will give students the option of choosing to obtain their degree in general sonography or specialize in such areas as breast sonography, obstetrics, abdominal sonography, cardiovascular sonography or abdominal sonography.
To qualify for the bachelor’s program the student will need to have their high school diploma, go through a background check, have a physical exam, have their CPR certification and meet the schools standardized test requirements. The coursework that is included in this degree program is as follows: cardiac sonograms for children and fetuses, radiographic science, medical terminology, patient documentation, patient management and specialty exams.
This type of degree will also qualify the sonographer for a supervisory role in a hospital or other type of large medical facility and can offer an annual salary that ranges from 82,000$ to 86,000$.
Sonography Specialty Area Certifications
Having additional certifications in a specialty area will also increase the salary for this field. The vascular sonography salary has a range from 50,000$ TO 54,000$ and requires the sonographer to have an associate’s degree and additional certification through ARDMS, also known as the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography.
This type of specialty involves the sonographer assisting a physician in diagnosing conditions with the use of an ultrasound, detecting vascular conditions such as conditions of arteries, veins, abdominal aorta and carotid artery.
OB/GYN sonography will involve the evaluation of the fetus, including measurements in order to determine if the fetus is growing properly according to the length of gestation. In this specialty area the sonographer will also look for signs of cancer and infection. This field will require the sonographer to have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree and has an annual salary of 54,000$ to 56,000$.
Abdominal sonography involves the evaluation of the abdomen and internal organs such as the gall bladder, kidneys, spleen, pancreas, and liver. This type of sonography specialty area will require additional certification through ARDMS, the minimum education of an associate’s degree and features a salary of 50,000$ to 55,000$ a year.
Breast sonography is used to evaluate any abnormalities found in the breast during a diagnostic screening and allows the sonographer to efficiently determine if a mass found in the breast is a solid mass or cyst. This type of career field will require an associate’s or bachelor’s degree with additional certification through the ARDMS. The salary earnings for this specialty area will range from 50,000$ to 56,000$ depending on whether the sonographer works in an imaging center or hospital.
As a sonographer you will need to earn continuing education credits each year in order to qualify for license renewal. This will also include earning continuing education for the additional certifications. The amount of required CE hours will vary from state to state.