Why We Love It
$70,880Potential Avg. Salary
26.4%Job Growth Rate
Growing DemandJob Outlook
Dependable Daily WorkloadCareer Attribute
Ultrasound technicians operate ultrasound equipment in order to take images and video of a person’s internal systems. Some work for obstetricians, capturing images of unborn children. Others work for hospitals and specialists and aid in the diagnosis of certain organ, tissue, or vascular issues.
What is an Ultrasound Technician?
The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in ultrasound technician roles:
- Operate ultrasound imaging equipment to be used in doctor review and diagnosis
- Prep patients and equipment for ultrasound procedures
- Review captured imagery to ensure all necessary images were captured and to identify possible abnormalities
- Assist physicians in the interpretation of captured ultrasound imagery
A Day in the Life
Ultrasound technicians, also known as sonographers, utilize ultrasound technology to capture images of unborn children, organs, tissues, and veins. They work in doctor’s offices and hospitals and assist with patient diagnosis by providing physicians with images of a patient’s internal systems. Ultrasound technicians must ensure that the images they capture are usable and comprehensive in order for proper diagnosis to occur, and they also assist physicians in interpreting the images taken.
Some ultrasound technicians work in OBGYN offices and capture images of expectant mothers and their fetuses. While this process can be very exciting for the expecting parents—they’re getting the first glimpse of their babies and potentially finding out their genders—the ultrasound technician is hard at work looking for potential signs of trouble. The ultrasound process is important in ensuring healthy fetus development, so the ultrasound technician is looking for any signs of potential issues.
Outside of the OBGYN’s office, most ultrasound technicians work for hospitals and specialists, and use ultrasound technology to aid in diagnosis of organ, tissue, and vascular problems. They capture images of problem areas and look for signs of trauma or disease, and they work with the attending physician to review and interpret ultrasound images. Additionally, ultrasound technicians may assist doctors with the administration of medication and treatments by running an ultrasound while treatment is performed.
Typical Work Schedule
Ultrasound technicians who work for specialists and obstetricians in their offices typically work normal business hours and have major holidays and weekends off. Those that work in hospitals may need to work evening, overnight, or weekend shifts to ensure a technician is always available for emergencies.
Projected Job Growth
Ultrasounds are being more commonly employed as a replacement for invasive diagnostic procedures, creating an increased demand for individuals in ultrasound technician roles.
Ultrasound Technician Specializations
Ultrasound technician specializations are focused on the types of ultrasounds the technician performs. For example, OBGYN technicians specialize in capturing images of pelvic organs and unborn children. Abdominal technicians capture images of major organs in the abdominal region like the stomach, kidneys, liver, and pancreas. Vascular and musculoskeletal technicians take images of veins, muscles, tissues, and ligaments to help diagnose issues or administer treatments to specific areas.
The highest percentage of ultrasound technicians work for hospitals—both public and private—but many also work for obstetricians and other specialized doctors.
How To Become an Ultrasound Technician
If you have a lot of experience in the field of healthcare before enrolling in an educational program, you may be able to become an ultrasound technician by pursuing a certificate in sonography. Certificate programs in sonography provide focused learning on topics related to the field of ultrasound technology and require fewer credit hours that degree programs. If you do not have prior healthcare experience, the better option for becoming an ultrasound technician may be to pursue an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in sonography.
Regardless of which certificate or degree program you choose to pursue, it’s important to find a program that’s accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. Few employers will hire ultrasound technicians with certificates or degrees from institutions that are not accredited, so skipping the step of verifying school accreditation could impact your ability to find work after graduation.
Either during or after college, ultrasound technicians are required to engage in many hours of clinical training to learn how to perform their work in the clinical environment. After earning a certificate or degree and engaging in clinical training, many aspiring ultrasound technicians also chose to take an exam that allows them to become Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographers. Some states may also require ultrasound technicians to become licensed to perform ultrasounds in the state.
Ultrasound Technician Salary Data
We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.
National Anual Salary
National Hourly Wage
How do Ultrasound Technician salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Ultrasound Technician's can make an average annual salary of $70,880, or $34 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $57,100 or $27 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.
Salary Rankings And Facts
#192 Nationally for All Careers
Above Average Salary Nationally
Programs and Degrees
Here are the most common degrees for becoming an Ultrasound Technician. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.
Highest Education Among Ultrasound Technicians
- 1.8% Doctorate
- 1.9% Masters
- 22% Bachelors
- 44.3% Associates
- 21.8% College
- 7.4% High School
- 0.7% Less than High School
Job Growth Projections and Forecast
2014 Total Jobs60,700
2024 Est. Jobs76,700
Job Growth Rate26.4%
Est. New Jobs16,000
How does Ultrasound Technician job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 16,000 jobs for a total of 76,700 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 26.4% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.
Growth Rankings And Facts
#24 Nationally for All Careers
Above Avg. Growth Nationally
What Companies Employ The Most Ultrasound Technicians
|Industry||Current Jobs||New Jobs Needed||% Increase|
|General medical and surgical hospitals; private||31,100||5,500||6%|
|Offices of physicians||14,900||5,200||5%|
|Medical and diagnostic laboratories||6,100||2,800||3%|