Ultrasound technician salaries rank among some of the highest of all medical technician fields.

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The mean annual salary a sonographer makes is $77,790 per year, according to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) May 2020 salary survey. Those at the high end of the spectrum earned $105,340 whereas those towards the bottom earned up to $53,790. 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, U.S. News ranked Diagnostic Medical Sonography (DMS) #5 in the best healthcare support jobs, and Monster.com named it as the second best paying job available for an associates degree holder.

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What is the Starting Salary for an Ultrasound Tech?

The average starting salary for a sonographer can be up to $53,790. Many different factors influence the amount an ultrasound technologist can earn. Typically, sonographers earn more than similar healthcare professions, and additionally have the potential to increase their salary.

Factors That Affect Ultrasound Tech Salary

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 is the minimum amount of education required to become a sonographer, a Bachelor or even a Master Degree in Ultrasound opens up the doors for higher paying positions, 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 are more likely to receive higher ultrasound tech 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.

Facility of employment 

An ultrasound tech may work in a variety of locations, including hospitals, doctor’s offices, medical/diagnostic labs, outpatient centers and other healthcare facilities. Healthcare professionals will be compensated differently depending on the location they work in. For example, ultrasound technologists working in outpatient care centers earned a mean annual pay of $102,070, which is more than those in other facilities earned, according to the BLS in 2020 (conditions in your area may vary).

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).

Geographic location (rural vs. urban; state)

Along with education and amount of experience within the field, location 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 areaAccess to affordable housingSize and age of the populationAccess to health insurance
“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

Here are the top paying state for ultrasound technologists, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)*.

Highest Paying States for Ultrasound Techs

State2020 Median Salary
National Median$75,920
District of Columbia$94,260
Rhode Island$92,460
See our full list of states

Bureau of Labor Statistics

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

Below you can see how the salary for an ultrasound tech compares to similar professions. 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.

ProfessionLowest 10%MedianHighest 10%
Ultrasound Technician/Diagnostic Medical Sonographer$53,790$75,920$105,340
Radiologic Technologists$42,180$61,900$92,660
Cardiovascular Tech$30,140$59,100$96,790
Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists$52,880$74,690$104,210
Medical Assistants$26,930$38,850$50,580
Surgical Technologists$32,870$47,300$69,170

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2020 Data.

Does the Gender Pay Gap still exist? In our series of articles on Women in Medical Imaging, we explore the issue of the gender pay gap, and whether or not it is as prevalent in healthcare as it is in other industries.
Already a Sonographer? Here’s How to Increase Your Salary

Typically, the higher and more specialized level of education a person has, the higher their ultrasound technician salary will be. A sonographer will be able to work their way up to higher paid positions with more education under their belt.

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Resources:U.S. BLS – 29-2032 Diagnostic Medical SonographersU.S. BLS – 29-2035 Radiologic and MRI TechnologistsU.S. BLS – 29-2031 Cardiovascular Technologists and TechniciansU.S. BLS – 31-9092 Medical AssistantsMonster.comCNBC.comSalary and employment figures are based on a national average and may vary by location.