Ultrasound Technician Salary: From Entry Level to Top Earner

Ultrasound Technician Salary: From Entry Level to Top Earner

When you want to combine your love for technology with your desire to help people, consider a career in medical technology. At Florida National University (FNU), we offer a range of programs from certificate to master’s degrees in areas like Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Technology, Clinical Echocardiography, and Dental Laboratory Technician.

There are many opportunities in medical technology, and your advancement potential is directly related to your skill and training. Take a look at the possible career paths for medical sonographer (ultrasound) technicians.

Ultrasound technician salaries rank among the highest when compared to other medical technician specializations. The salary for ultrasound techs may depend on several variables, including location, qualification, work experience, certification, and education. Typically, the more credentials and work experience, the higher the salary. The state of employment also plays a major factor due to the cost of living and demand variables.

NOTE: The following salary information does not guarantee that a professional will earn this reported dollar amount. These salary earnings are reported from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as an estimation. The actual salary of an Ultrasound Technician will vary depending on the institution, location, and the qualifications of each applicant.

It All Starts With an Associate’s Degree

This is one job where you can earn a lucrative salary with an Associate of Science degree. Monster.com rated ultrasound technology as the second highest paying medical field that you can enter without a four-year degree. According to the most recently available data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), ultrasound techs can expect to earn $48,660 per year at entry-level, and the job outlook is expected to grow by 17% over the next eight years.

What Factors Into Salary and Career Advancement?

Several factors come into play when figuring salary and advancement potential. One is the geological location. The national median income is $69,650, and the average can reach as high as $93,350 if you start your career in California. Even in Alabama, which has the lowest average pay for ultrasound technicians in the country, you can average more than $54,000 per year.

There are four factors that can affect your earning potential, so let’s break it down a little more.

1. Geographic Location or Region

Location doesn’t just relate to what state or region of the country you’re in, but your demographic area as well. For example, even within California, which has the highest overall average, the salary can vary from one part of the state to another. In the San Francisco area, the average salary is $121,00 per year, while salaries in Santa Clara have a median income of $109,000. Traveling east, you’ll find salaries ranging from $43,890 in Burlington, NC, to $65,990 in Pensacola, FL.

The second-highest median income in the country can be found in Washington, DC, which pays $87,570 per year. This is closely followed by Washington State with median incomes of $86,970. In general, the closer you are to an urban or metropolitan area, the higher the pay rate.

2. Experience, Education, and Professional Credentials

One way to increase your already favorable earning potential is to advance your education, areas of specialization, and range of experience. Of course, most hands-on experience can only come with time, but there are other ways to climb the ladder faster. Studies in the field show that the majority of sonographers increased their pay grade within five years by:

  • Continuing their education to obtain a bachelor’s or master’s degree
  • Transitioning into teaching or administration
  • Obtaining certifications in a specific discipline, such as an American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) certification
  • Joining professional associations like the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (SDMS)

Above all, those who received more advanced degrees earned more than those who only obtained an additional certification. The top 10% of earners used a combination of two or more methods to further their career.

3. Specialty and Practice Areas

The type of sonography you perform also affects your pay. Entry-level radiologists can expect to start at around $38,660 per year. On the other end of the pay scale, the top 10% of diagnostic medical sonographers exceeded $99,000 per year. Some other specializations and their annual median income are:

  • Cardiovascular tech, $55,570
  • Surgical tech, $45,160
  • Obstetric and gynecological sonographer, $65,000

4. Type of Practice or Medical Setting

Where you practice can also affect your pay rate and career advancement. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the bulk of ultrasound technicians, nearly 40,000, work in a hospital setting. The average pay among hospital techs was $73,400. Coming in second for employment numbers but first in pay were the technicians who worked in outpatient settings with an average income of $82,940. Technicians who work in private medical practices or clinics earn about $69,450. Hourly pay for those who don’t have full-time, salaried positions ranges from $33.39 to $39.87.

Ultrasound Technician Salary by Industry

Industries with the highest salaries for ultrasound technicians generally were those that were hospital-based practices or similar facilities. Ultrasound technicians working in outpatient care centers earned the highest annual mean wage compared to all other industries. 

  • Outpatient care centers: $73,640
  • Specialty hospitals: $73,640
  • Management of companies and enterprises: $72,910
  • Management, scientific, and technical consulting services: $71,340
  • Colleges, universities, and professional schools: $70,630

Factors that Affect Salary

Several factors that may contribute to ultrasound technicians obtaining a higher salary may include education, certification, and location. Typically, the more specialized and higher level of education and training obtained by the technician, the higher the salary. If the sonographer specializes in cardiac sonography and obtains certification, the sonographer may be qualified to obtain a higher salary than someone who merely practices general sonography. 

Those who have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in diagnostic medical sonography may be eligible to seek higher-level positions in management. Depending upon where technicians live, they may qualify for higher pay, especially when factors such as cost of living, demand, and lifestyle play into the overall cost. In addition, those technicians who have experience in the field may demand a higher level of pay, and those who have at least 20 years of experience may demand double or triple the salary of technicians just starting out.

Employment Outlook

According to the BLS, the job growth for diagnostic medical sonographers is expected to increase by 46% from 2012-2022, which is much higher than the national average of all occupations. This increase is due to the continued evolution of imaging technology as well as the need for less expensive equipment. More healthcare providers are using these noninvasive measures over invasive ones, and sonographers are needed to operate the machinery. With the baby-boom population aging, these individuals will need to have healthcare practitioners diagnose their medical conditions, and ultrasound technicians will be needed to check for blood clots and tumors. Another benefit for sonographers is the increase in the number of patients who have access to healthcare, due to federal regulations. 

The BLS also states that Florida ranks in the top five states for the highest level of employment and the highest concentration of jobs for diagnostic medical sonographers. The job outlook for diagnostic medical sonographers in Florida is positive, with the overall job growth slated for a 39% increase through 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Florida National University is Your Gateway to Medical Technology Careers

How much does an Ultrasound Technologist make in Florida? The average Ultrasound Technologist salary in Florida is $72,283 (in Miami it is $74,071) as of October 30, 2019, but the range typically falls between $65,676 and $79,549. Florida National University offers a comprehensive two-year Associates of Science degree program in Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Technology (DMST). Although some parts of this program can be completed online, the majority of the courses are taken at one of our two campuses in South Florida, located in Hialeah and Miami. Because we’re regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, undergraduate, and graduate degrees, you’ll have access to state and federal financial aid programs as well as grants and scholarships.

The total program consists of a minimum of 87 credit hours and is designed to be completed within 26 months if you enroll full time. Program requirements also include 800 hours of clinical practice and completion of BLS, OSHA, HIV, and HIPAA seminars. By the time you’re finished with the program, you’ll be prepared to sit for the national certification exam.

If this sounds like the kind of career opportunity you’ve been looking for, contact FNU to learn more about our admissions requirements today. We’ve been helping students like you open the doors to the future since 1982.