One of the reasons that getting a degree in the diagnostic medical sonography, also known as diagnostic ultrasound, field is so popular is because it pays quite well. For a career path that you only need an Associate’s degree or even a diploma/certificate (i.e. from a one year program) to get into, being a diagnostic medical sonographer offers substantial salary potential. Let’s take a look at some actual statistical figures to see how much a diagnostic medical sonographer typically makes.
The website Salary.com gives some statistical figures for the current diagnostic medical sonography salary ranges. The median salary the site gives in the field is $64,844. Not too shabby. This is enough to live on quite comfortably. The median range runs from $59,259 to $70,898. Finally, they give the bottom 10% of the salary range as being under $54,174 and above $76,409.
It is clear from these figures that even the lowest salaries are still fairly substantial. Most people wouldn’t complain even about making $50,000 a year in a field that they enjoy and find interesting. And the chances are that you will make still better money than this either to start or as you progress in the field.
Factors That Affect Salary
The salary somebody makes as a medical sonographer can be influenced by a number of factors. The following are a few of these factors:
The more education you have in the field, the better, at least to some extent. With advances in technology and the evolution of the field, having educational credentials can definitely be an asset. The standard degree level of a diagnostic medical sonographer is an Associate’s degree. There are however shorter and longer term programs – diploma type educational courses as well as Bachelor’s degree programs in sonography. One would expect that the shorter programs would result in a diagnostic medical sonographer being offered less as regards salary, and this is probably true in many cases. However it probably depends to a large degree on the job in question. Likewise, a Bachelor’s degree may qualify an individual for higher paying jobs but it depends as well on the position being offered. Suffice it to say that an education of an Associate’s degree level or higher is probably the surest bet for being offered a diagnostic medical sonography salary in the higher ranges.
The other big factor is experience. The classic reason for being offered a higher salary in any field is because an individual is experienced, and sonography is no exception. So as you accrue experience working in the field, you can expect your salary to steadily rise. Therefore it’s a good idea to emphasize any and all experience you may have when you apply to a sonography job. Even if you are just starting out you can, for instance, you can put together a resume that highlights the experience you’ve had doing clinical work at a school or hospital where you have trained.
Certification in this career is handled by a national professional organization called the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). They administer an exam which when passed grants the test taker the Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS) title. Having a certification can, like education and experience, impress employers into offering you a higher salary. It is fairly easy to register for and pass these kinds of exams once you have completed your training, so it’s advisable to get this credential. It has employment benefits and generally establishes you as a reputable and competent practitioner.
Average salaries will vary from locality to locality. This variation depends on various economic factors that are active in a certain region. The figures given above are national ranges. To get a sense of the ranges in your particular state or locality, you can call simply call and ask employers what they pay or talk professionals already working in the field.
To get into this lucrative field you may only need to go to school for one to two years, so if it seems like it is for you get enrolled in a training program, do your best, and then get employed. The kind of diagnostic medical sonography salary you can expect will be enhanced by your educational and experience credentials. And unless your area is especially depressed economically, you can expect to find wages that are quite competitive as a diagnostic medical sonographer.