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Ultrasound Technician Schools in California

California employs more ultrasound technicians than any other state in the nation. It is also the highest paying state in terms of annual wages for ultrasound techs, with an average annual salary of over $86,550 per year as of May, 2013*.

Begin a career as an ultrasound tech or one of the many related careers by requesting information from schools listed below.  Research the programs they offer, and ask questions to make sure it’s a good fit for your career goals.
Los Angeles skyline

California Ultrasound Technician Career Outlook

With some of the largest medical centers in the nation, including the many campuses of the University of California, California has many unique employment opportunities for those educated and trained in medical imaging or a related career. In 2010, there were 634 diagnostic imaging centers in California, which was an increase of 7.8% over the prior year.

Physician’s offices had the highest employment numbers, employing over 36,000 ultrasound technicians. Overall job growth for diagnostic medical sonographers is expected to be 38%* through 2020.  Completion of a program from one of the ultrasound technician schools in California will help prepare you for a position in this growing, competitive  field.

Accredited Sonography Schools in California

There are many factors to consider when choosing a sonography program, from cost to location, duration of the program, and school reputation, but one of the most important factors is program accreditation. The following sonography programs in California have all been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP):

Charles R Drew University of Medicine & Science – Los Angeles, CA
Website: www.cdrewu.edu

Community Regional Medical Center – Fresno, CA
Website: www.communitymedical.org

Cypress College – Cypress, CA
Website: www.cypresscollege.edu

Foothill College – Los Altos Hills, CA
Website: www.foothill.edu

Kaiser Permanente School of Allied Health Sciences – Richmond, CA
Website: www.kpsahs.org

Loma Linda University – Loma Linda, CA
Website: www.llu.edu

Orange Coast College – Costa Mesa, CA
Website: www.orangecoastcollege.edu

Platt College Los Angeles, LLC – Alhambra, CA
Website: www.plattcollege.edu

Santa Barbara City College – Santa Barbara, CA
Website: www.sbcc.edu

University of California San Diego Medical Center – San Diego, CA
Website: www.ucsd.edu

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Estimated Job Growth by County in California** (2010-2020)

Sacramento Metro Area 37.9%
East Bay Area 13.9%
San Joaquin 37.5%
San Diego County 25.5%
Sutter and Yuba Counties 33.3%

Certification Requirements in California

California does not require licensure to be an ultrasound technician. However, most employers require professional certification by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). The only way to earn certification is by taking and passing their exam. There are many locations throughout California to take the exam, and you can find them on the ARDMS website at ardms.org, or by calling 1-877-258-9220.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, California employs more Diagnostic Medical Sonographers than any other state.

The easiest way to qualify to sit for the exam is to graduate from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Otherwise, you’ll need 12 months of full time clinical experience, which is not easy to get when you are not ARDMS certified. A bit of a catch-22, but a reality in today’s working environment. Request information from several ultrasound technician schools in California, and do the research to make sure that they meet the certification requirements you’re looking for.

Job/Salary Outlook

The mean annual wage in California for a diagnostic medical sonographer was $86,550.00, which is considerably higher than the national average of $65,900. In fact, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 9 of the top 10 highest paying metropolitan areas in the nation were all in California.

The following table shows the median annual salaries for ultrasound technicians by county in 2012.

Top Paying Counties+
San Benito/Santa Clara $107,309
Monterey County $102,089
Solano County $106,217
East Bay $101,159
Sonoma County $93,552
San Francisco Bay Area $102,506

Source: California Employment Development Department:  www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/OccGuides/ALLOESWage.aspx?Soccode=292032

California’s Economy

California has the largest economy in the US, the 7th largest economy in the world, and was the first state to ever reach a trillion dollar economy in gross state product. It boasts some of the largest and best medical facilities in the country. The University of California operates the nation’s largest health care training program with over 14,000 students annually enrolled, and U.S. News and World Report ranked the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center as the top hospital on the West Coast and the 5th best in the country.

As the nation’s largest state in terms of population, California offers many opportunities for those wishing to purse a career in medical sonography, medical assisting, medical billing and coding, or one the many other allied health professions. Ultrasound technician schools in California offer programs to get you started in one of these careers.

Improve Employment Opportunities by Learning a 2nd Language

According to the US Department of Education, limited English proficient (LEP) learners were the fastest growing population in the country. It is estimated that 50% of adults in Los Angeles cannot read or write English. The healthcare industry is concerned that Californians as a result may not be receiving optimal health care. Bilingual or multilingual health care professionals are in increasing demand, and are therefore seeing higher employment opportunities.

Ultrasound Technician Schools in San Diego

If you’re interested in attending ultrasound technician school in San Diego, you’ll find many accredited institutions from which to obtain your education. San Diego also has high employment opportunities in the medical imaging field. In 2010, there were 57 diagnostic medical imaging centers in San Diego County, employing 995 ultrasound technicians or medical sonographers. This is a 23% increase over the previous year. The average annual wage in 2012 was $85,634+, which is higher than the state average of $84,220 for that same year. In your spare time, you’ll have many world-class attractions to choose from, from the San Diego Zoo to the largest cultural complex west of the Mississippi, Balboa Park. There are an unlimited number of activities to pursue outdoors or in, all in the beautiful surroundings that San Diego County has to offer.

Statistics provided by the following:
*Salary and Job Growth Data: http://www.careerinfonet.org; http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292032.htm
**State of California’s Employment Development Department (EDD): http://www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/OccGuides/AllOccPrj.aspx?Soccode=292032
+EDD: http://www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/OccGuides/detail.aspx?Soccode=292032&Geography=0601000000

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