Due to our increase in population as well as our country’s elderly, the medical field is booming. If you are interested in joining the medical field as an ultrasound tech, you may already know that the healthcare field is one of the most stable of all job markets. What may surprise you is the projected growth of this field. Healthcare is expected to generate over 3 million more jobs, more than in any other industry, by the year 2016.
How could these numbers affect you? For those interested in becoming an ultrasound tech, the drastic growth in the healthcare field includes an estimated 19% growth for ultrasound technicians in the next seven years, making it one of the fastest growing occupations.
It is exciting to know that such an interesting and diverse field as Ultrasound Technology also pays one of the highest salaries in the medical industry. There are several factors that can influence this salary base, such as where you work, which part of the country you live in, your education as well as what certifications you possess.
You can become an ultrasound technician by completing an accredited certification program of around one year, a two year degree, an Associate’s Degree, or by completing a four year degree, known as a Bachelor’s degree. Bachelor’s degrees can increase your salary, as well as qualify you for a managerial or supervisory position within the ultrasound field. As with most professions, the more education you receive the higher salary you can expect to earn. Some ultrasound technicians may wish to continue their education, whether to increase their salary or to pursue a specialty or supervisory position.
It is important that, whatever your education choice, you only receive your education from an accredited school. This can be verified by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, the organization responsible for accrediting programs throughout the country. Their website is www.caahep.org.
Another factor that can greatly influence an ultrasound technician’s salary base is certification and registry. Once you have completed your education, you can become certified by taking the credentialing / certification exams. Those ultrasound technicians who have received certifications and are registered, such as BLS, SDMS and ARDMS are in higher demand than those that are not. To an employer, the certification and registry ‘tests’ the education you have received, which in fact is quite correct. Once received, such certification / registry shows prospective employers you are driven to do well, you are highly educated and possess skills that would make you a very worthy employee. This can translate into a higher salary offer and earnings. Currently, certification is not required although many employers are now requiring it. Recently in 2010 Oregon and New Mexico passed laws mandating an ultrasound technician be licensed. According to the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) some healthcare insurers do not pay for any ultrasound that has been performed by a non-certified ultrasound technician. This, in effect, forces employers to hire only certified ultrasound techs or risk loss of healthcare reimbursement.
A survey conducted in 2002 revealed the salary range of an ARDMS certified ultrasound technician was $24.00 per hour while those not certified made an average of $20.00 per hour. To better understand the monetary gain of BLS, SDMS and ARDMS certification:
Hourly $24.00 $20.00
Monthly $4160.00 $3466.67 a loss of $693.33 per month
Annually $49,920.00 $41,600.04 a loss of $8319.96 per year
Over an expected work history of even 10 years, this could translate into an estimated salary loss of over $83,000.00. For those interested in becoming an ultrasound technician, taking the credentialing / certification exams ensures greater job security, an increase in salary and great personal pride in joining a national registry of other highly qualified and educated ultrasound technicians.
Another factor that can affect your salary is your experience. For those ultrasound technicians fresh out of school, the expected salary is around $19.00 per hour. This translates into monthly earnings of $3,293.27, and an annual salary of around $39,520.00.
In just a few short years, expect your salary to greatly increase. As you continue working and your experience level grows, you could be earning as much as $26.00 per hour. This translates to monthly earning of over $4,000 and a yearly salary of $54,080.00. Along with annual salary increases, an ultrasound technician can enjoy other monetary perks such as increases and bonuses.
This field is expected to grow 18% per year
In examining an expected annual Ultrasound Tech’s salary, it is interesting to learn the conversion to hourly wage as well. This assists you in seeing how well Ultrasound Technicians are truly paid for their education and experience.
In May 2009, the salary for this field was $63,000 annually or $30.60 per hour. The upper 10% of ultrasound technicians earned up to $85,950 a year. This translates to $7,163.00 a month and an hourly wage of $41.32 an hour. The lower 10% still earned $43,990.00, an hourly wage of over $21.00 an hour.
The medical field continues to grow and Ultrasound Technology is growing along with it. The annual salary range is now between $52,000 and $84,000 a year. The monthly payment for this salary is now between $4,333.00 – $7,000.00. The hourly wage for this salary is between $25.00 – $40.38 an hour.
Where you live can affect the expected salary range as well. Certain parts of the country offer higher salaries for ultrasound technicians than others.
Areas of the country that pay the highest annual salary for Ultrasound Technicians:
Massachusetts offering $78,460
Oregon offering $78,320
Colorado offering $77,380
California offering $78,537.00
Florida offering $81,703
New York offering $117,446.00
Becoming an ultrasound technician is an exciting and rewarding career. While money is not the only reason to pursue a career, it is a necessary consideration. Along with being happy with your chosen profession, you must be able to support yourself. A career as an ultrasound technician offers you a great salary, a great working environment as well as a rewarding career that allows you to help others on a daily basis. The field of ultrasound technology, along with the entire medical profession, will continue to flourish. With the impressive earnings that ultrasound technicians are offered for their education and experience, you could comfortably support yourself while doing a job you love to do.