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Ultrasound Technician Salary

How Much do Sonographers Make in 2023?

Ultrasound technician salaries rank among some of the highest of all medical technician fields. The mean annual pay for a sonographer is $80,680, according to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) May 2021 salary survey. Those at the high end of the spectrum earned over $100,000 whereas those just beginning their career earned up to $59,640. Salary and employment figures are based on a national average and may vary by location.

High earning potential combined with great employment outlook makes sonography a popular choice. In fact, the field consistently ranks in the top 25 for best career choices available to Associate Degree holders.

What is the Starting Salary for an Ultrasound Tech?

The average starting salary for a sonographer can be up to about $59,000, or $25.86 an hour, though that can differ depending on the employer and job market. Many different factors can influence the amount an entry-level ultrasound technologist can earn, including whether the tech has obtained an Associate or a Bachelor’s degree in medical sonography.

Students that pursue dual concentrations during their degree program may also be more marketable.  For example, receiving certification in both cardiac and vascular sonography may increase employment opportunities.  Not all schools offer a degree or certificate in more than one concentration, but many do and it’s something to consider and discuss with the program director.

What Areas of the Country Pay Sonographers the Most?

Along with education and amount of experience within the field, where you work can be an important factor in determining how much money a sonographer will earn.  Income typically corresponds to the cost of living in a specific area.

Salary related factors influenced by location:

  • The number of medical facilities in an area
  • Access to affordable housing
  • Size and age of the population
  • Access to health insurance

Highest paying states

State 2021 Mean Salary
National Mean $80,680
California $109,350
Washington DC $99,860
Hawaii $99,390
Washington $95,990
Oregon $95,420
See our full list of states

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Highest Paying Cities

CIty 2021 Mean Salary
San Jose – Santa Clara, CA $138,110
Vallejo, CA $137,140
San Francisco-Oakland, CA $131,080
Sacramento-Roseville, CA $125,830
Santa Rosa, CA $125,210

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Which Facilities Pay Their Sonographers the Most?

An ultrasound tech may work in a variety of locations, including hospitals, doctor’s offices, medical/diagnostic labs, outpatient centers and other healthcare facilities. Where you work upon graduation has an impact on how much you might earn.  But the salary offer doesn’t necessarily give you all the information you need to make an informed decision.  You should also consider the benefit package the employer has, which includes not just healthcare, but Paid Time Off (PTO), and even the possibility of student loan forgiveness.

Below you will see the mean annual salaries by type of employer:

Outpatient Care Centers: $109,670
Management of Companies and Enterprises: $99,640
Colleges and Universities: $84,330
Offices of Health Practitioners: $91,260
Specialty Hospitals: $85,980

What Other Factors Affect Ultrasound Tech Salary?

What can you do to maximize your earnings potential? 

First and foremost, you need to be certified or registered with the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS).  While most states don’t require a sonographer be registered, almost every employer will.  If you attend a degree program that is accredited by the CAAHEP, then becoming certified by the (ARDMS) will likely be part of the program during your senior year, or shortly after graduation.

Level of education and amount of training

In general, the more education and experience a sonographer has, the higher their income can be. While an Associate Degree in DMS is generally the minimum amount of education required to become a sonographer, a Bachelor’s or even a Master Degree in Ultrasound opens up the doors for a variety of career paths where the earnings potential may be higher, such as consulting, management or education.

Specialization and certifications

Ultrasound technician pay also depends on the area of specialization. For example, if a person specializes in Obstetrics/Gynecology, and becomes certified through the ARDMS (American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography), they may receive higher pay than if they practiced General Sonography.

When getting started, it’s not necessary to declare a specialization to begin a degree program, but there will be a lot of options to choose from when the time comes.  Some programs are even able to offer dual concentrations to their students, which can make you a more marketable job candidate.

Different work shifts

Sonographers may be required to work a variety of shifts at numerous times throughout the day.  These shifts include:

  • 1st (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
  • 2sd (5 p.m. – 1 a.m.)
  • 3rd (12 a.m. – 8 a.m.)
  • On-call

A healthcare professional will be compensated depending on the shift they work, especially when they work outside of the traditional Monday through Friday 9:00 – 5:00 schedule. For example, a day shift sonographer may earn a base wage of $37.40 an hour working typical business hours, whereas a night shift sonographer may earn a base wage of $39.00 or $40.00 an hour because they provide a medically necessary service during “off hours”.

In addition, once an on-call worker is called in to work, they may be compensated at their base wage and receive some type of additional incentive for being utilized during off hours (e.g., $5.00 an hour).

Ultrasound Interviews Dr. Traci Fox“Don’t do it because you heard it pays well, don’t do it because somebody told you that there’s a lot of jobs in it…It has to be something where you’ve done the research, you know what the field involves and you say “Yeah I can see me doing that. If you want to get into the profession, know about it. If somebody asks you, “What does a Sonographer do?” have an answer.” – Traci Fox, EdD, RT(R), RDMS, RVT

How Does a Sonographer’s Salary Compare to Similar Professions?

Below you can see how the salary for an ultrasound tech compares to other allied health professionals. The table reveals that in comparison to related jobs, ultrasound technicians are paid a higher income on average.

The data is provided by the BLS Division of Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics.  The most recent information provided is from the May, 2021 BLS update.

Profession Lowest 10% Median Highest 10%
Ultrasound Technician/Diagnostic Medical Sonographer $59,640 $77,740 $101,650
Radiologic Technologists $46,850 $61,370 $94,880
Cardiovascular Tech $29,910 $60,570 $98,070
Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists $59,110 $77,360 $100,870
Nuclear Medicine Technologist $60,550 $78,760 $105,530
Surgical Technologists $36,930 $48,530 $75,940

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2021 Data.

U.S. BLS – 29-2032 Diagnostic Medical Sonographers
U.S. BLS – 29-2035 Radiologic and MRI Technologists
U.S. BLS – 29-2031 Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians
U.S. BLS – 31-9092 Medical Assistants
Salary and employment figures are based on a national average and may vary by location.