What is an Ultrasound Technician

Ultrasound technicians (also known as Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, Sonographer,  and Ultrasound Technologist) are part of the diagnostic side of medicine, using sonography (ultrasound equipment) to perform diagnostic imaging of a patient. Sonography is the non-invasive use of sound waves to produce images of the internal body, including limbs and fetuses. For more information on ultrasound technician, visit our ultrasound technician job description page.

Where do Ultrasound Technicians Work

The majority of ultrasound technicians work in hospitals, however physicians’ offices and outpatient diagnostic clinics are also areas of employment. As most ultrasound procedures require low lighting, technicians tend to work in dim environments while performing the ultrasound.

Work Schedule

Working days for ultrasound technicians are generally during normal business hours, as most procedures are scheduled in advance. However, there are occasional needs for emergency situations, and technicians on call can be called in on evenings, weekend, or holidays, if need be.

How Much do Ultrasound Technicians Make

The average ultrasound technician makes a yearly salary of $67,170. This figure is calculated by adding all the salaries within the occupation and dividing that value by the total number of workers in the field. Individuals who fall in the lowest 10% of all ultrasound technicians can expect to make less than $45,840 per year whereas those that fall in the top 10% can expect $92,070 or more annually. The mean ultrasound technician hourly salary is $32.29.

Ultrasound Technician Salary Per Hour and Yearly: Quick Summary

2013 Mean Salary$67,170 per year
$32.29 per hour
Top 10% Salary$92,070 per year
$44.26 per hour
Bottom 10% Salary$45,840 per year
$22.04 per hour
Number of Jobs, 201358,250

Ultrasound Technician Job Outlook and Prospects

With greater portability in ultrasound equipment and the increasing desire for its use, the employment prospects are quite promising. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an employment growth of 46 percent over a 10 year period starting from 2012 to 2022. Within this time period, the BLS expects 27,000 new jobs for ultrasound technicians, with increased demand and growing specialty certification.

Factors that affect an Ultrasound Technician’s Salary

Generally speaking, education, experience, and geographic location are the main factors influencing an ultrasound technician’s salary. An annual salary can range from just over $44,000 to over $92,000, with the average being approximately $67,170. Those who work in outpatient centers or in a doctor’s office will generally earn a slightly higher salary than those working in a hospital or other settings. The impact of the setting is, in fact, one of the principle influences on their salary.

While a technician may prefer working with ultrasound, training in other imaging systems is an excellent way to improve one’s earnings. Specialization is also a method of advancement, with numerous potential areas of focus.

Education and Specialization 

Ultrasound technicians require a bachelor’s degree in order to be licensed; alternatively, they can pursue a post-graduate certificate. There are other training programs available through a number of hospitals and community colleges, as well as vocational schools and the Armed Forces. The means by which one receives their education appears to be less important than the focus of that education.

There is growing demand for various specializations, meaning a chance for a higher ultrasound technician salary. Breast ultrasounds are in demand for oncology purposes; obstetrics and gynecology have long been using ultrasound for pregnancy; vascular and cardiac specialties, abdominal ultrasound, and neurosonography are growing fields. A specialization in one of these fields will be beneficial for a salary, with pediatric cardiac sonography topping the list. However a specialization in several fields will be much more likely to guarantee a higher rate of pay.

Experience and Position 

As with any career, experience is the predominant factor that determines ultrasound technician salaries. Entry-level technicians will tend to earn around $45,000, though they do move up in pay scales quickly with continued education and certification. As well, many technicians adopt administrative, sales, or other roles to improve their salary.

Some ultrasound technicians also work on the educative side, training new technicians, or working in a supervisory role.


There are varying salaries in the industry, depending primarily on the setting. Those ultrasound technicians in a medical or diagnostic laboratory will tend to earn an average of $63,900, just below the national average. Those working in an outpatient care center, however, will earn around $72,400, around $8,000 more than the average. However, sonographers on the educative side, working in universities and professional schools, usually earn the highest salaries, at $74,500.


The geographical location leads to a wide variation in a technician’s salary, as it does with many health care positions. The top paying states include California, Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, with California topping the list at $84,220, on average. This is approximately $3,000 more than Oregon, the next-highest paying state. What’s more, the metropolitan areas reflect similar trends, with the majority of the top ten being in California. San Jose has the highest annual mean salary, at $107,150. The next four highest metro areas are also in California, while #6 in the top ten list is Norwich-New London, Connecticut. Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Washington holds the #10 place, with an average salary of $86,430, and is the only other non-Californian metropolitan area.