Ultrasound technicians use sophisticated equipment using high frequency sound waves to "see" organs, nerves, soft tissue, and fetuses in a non-invasive manner.
Starting salary range
Starting ultrasound technician (also known as diagnostic sonographers) salaries range from $15.30/hour (Alabama) to $23.32/hour (Oregon)*.
An ultrasound technician's median salary is $64,691 and maximum ultrasound technician salaries top out at over $77,000**. Larger institutions tend to pay more than smaller practices, according to Payscale's Median Salary by Company Size Charts.
Opportunities for advancement
As ultrasound technicians can advance by specializing in multiple areas including Ob/Gyn, abdominal, neuro, and breast sonography. They can also advance by earning multiple certifications including registered diagnostic medical sonographer and registered diagnostic cardiac sonographer.Some may advance to supervisory or managerial roles through experience or by earning a bachelor's degree to advance more quickly. A few ultrasound technicians advance by moving to medical equipment companies. Others advance by teaching in ultrasound technician programs. Ultrasound technicians with a few years of experience can consult or contract. Some will consult or contract full time, while others pick up additional shifts as supplemental income. Typically hourly consulting/contracting can be higher paying alternatives, though those options often don't include benefits.
Benefits and perks
Paid time off, health care, pension, education reimbursement, sick days, insurance, bonus, and taxes increase the total compensation package by an average 28.4%**, bringing the median total ultrasound technician compensation to $90,331.
Salary negotiation tips
Negotiating salary can be tricky. Large institutions (hospitals, government health agencies, or private companies), typically set up a salary range (or salary band), so the organization will have a little room to move on salaries (about 5-10%). Smaller organizations are less likely to have as much wiggle room on salary. Either way, don't expect an employer to give you a higher salary just because you ask. Instead, prepare a well documented justification and stay within the organization's salary range for the specific position so you'll have a good chance at getting the salary increase you're targeting.
Your greatest ability to negotiate salary is when you have options. Interview with a number of hospitals, private practices, federal/state/local government health agencies, universities, Veterans Administration, and private companies. In addition, do your homework – get salary information online with AOL Jobs Salary Center or from staffing and recruiting firms in your industry. Sometimes just having research on average salaries for your local market may provide rationale for a higher salary.
-- Find Ultrasound technician jobs
* According to www.payscale.com.
** According to www.salary.com