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Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Salary and Career Outlook

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Diagnostic medical sonographers use ultrasound technology to obtain images of body parts so that accurate diagnoses can be made non-invasive. To begin a career as a sonographer, candidates often need to complete a certificate or degree program and get certified.

The impressive salary is one of the biggest appeals of becoming a diagnostic medical sonographer or ultrasound technician. But exactly how much can an aspiring sonographer expect to earn? And what factors affect the exact value of this figure?

We provide detailed answers to these questions and more in the sections below.

How Much Does a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Earn?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, diagnostic medical sonographers earn an average salary of $80,680. This amounts to $38.79 in mean hourly wage.

Those who find themselves among the top ten percent in earning take home $101,650 every year, while the bottom ten percent earn $59,640 in the same time frame. The median annual salary is $77,740.

As we’ll see below, there are a few ways by which an ultrasound technician can improve their prospective salary and move up between ranges.

Starting Salary for a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

An ultrasound technician just starting can expect to earn about $59,000 in their first year on the job. This equates to $25.86 per hour. Of course, this is a highly generalized number that, again, can change thanks to a few factors, such as the kind of degree with which the job was obtained.

Students pursuing dual concentrations during their degree program may find it easier to secure employment and earn more in their first year.

An example of dual concentration is someone who has received cardiac and vascular sonography certification. Even though not all schools offer this opportunity, many do, and it is usually an option worth considering.

Factors Affecting Salary

The amount of money a sonographer earns annually differs based on where they stand regarding several factors. Thankfully, many of these factors are flexible and can be optimized.

Below are some of the most crucial.


The city and state where you choose to practice as a sonographer play a massive role in how much salary you’ll make. Generally, location matters because not all areas have the same number of medical facilities and access to health insurance.

Furthermore, the size and age of the population in respective cities and states differ. Accessibility to affordable housing can also play a massive role in how much you get for yourself at the end of the day.

As of the time this article was written, the highest paying states for ultrasound technicians are California, with a $109,350 average annual salary, Washington DC with $99,860, Hawaii with $99,390, and Washington and Oregon, with $95,990 and $95,420, respectively.

Facility Type

Sonographers work in different types of facilities, even when they have the same specialization. For instance, a sonographer may work in hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, medical labs, outpatient centers, and other healthcare facilities.

According to the BLS, those working in outpatient care centers tend to earn the highest annual salary, with an average of $109,670, followed by sonographers in managing companies and enterprises who make $99,640.

Ultrasound technicians in colleges and universities earn $84,330, while those who work in offices of health practitioners and specialty hospitals earn $91,260 and $85,980, respectively.


Usually, education plays a role in determining a sonographer’s salary range. Those with an associate’s degree in diagnostic medical sonography are the most common but earn less than those with bachelor’s degrees.

Of course, those with a master’s degree can earn even more as they are free to pursue managerial and leadership career opportunities where the earning potential is usually much higher.

Certification & Specialization

In general, employers hire certified sonographers instead of those who are not. Being certified in a specialized field of sonography is even more valuable.

Examples of specialized certification options available to ultrasound technicians are Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS), Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS), Registered Vascular Technologist (RVT), and Registered Musculoskeletal Sonographer (RMSKS) - all overseen by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS).

Work Shift

Lastly, a sonographer can earn more by optimizing their work shifts. Working outside the traditional Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 hours usually means higher pay.

For instance, while day workers can expect to earn an average of $37.40 per hour, those on the night shift can reach as high as $40.00 an hour.

Medical sonographers may also supplement their earnings by working multiple jobs. There may be trade-offs in this scenario, as part-time workers may not get as many benefits.

Diagnostic Medical Sonography Career Outlook

The career outlook for diagnostic medical sonographers is encouraging. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the field is projected to grow by 15% through 2031.

There are a few reasons for the ultra-positive projection, including the progression of the Baby Boomers generation, who are living longer and will require a great deal of care for illnesses and chronic conditions.

Additionally, ultrasound imaging technology continues to improve. The technology remains the first line of diagnosis for doctors and physicians thanks to its speed, safety, affordability, and non-invasive nature.

Sonography Demand by State

Demand for sonographers varies from one state to another all over the country. Naturally, states with large populations tend to have more significant needs.

California, for example, currently leads all states with 7,030 positions for sonographers. Next is New York with 5,970, Florida with 5,520, Texas with 5,380, and Illinois with 3,010.

On the lower end of the spectrum, Wyoming has the least demand for sonographers, with just 80 positions. Just ahead is Vermont with 110, the District of Columbia with 140, Hawaii with 160, and Alaska with 160.