A tough economy prompts many people to look for alternative careers, and what better choice can you make than to enter a fulfilling job which pays you a competitive amount like an ultrasound technician salary. While many career paths in the medical industry are seen as stable and satisfying secure roles, they also have downsides such as stress and hard work. So while the money can be good, it is certainly earned.
Training and Workload
Diagnostic medical sonography is a highly skilled and technical job that requires a wide range of skills from utilizing and maintaining an ultrasound machine, to interpreting the images produced and coordinating with physicians while maintaining accurate patient records. Due to this the training required is also fairly detailed and even though it is focused on the trainee gaining real life work experience, it still takes 18 months to 2 years to complete certification (a full degree can take 4 years).
The job itself can also be taxing; sonographers need to lift 50 pounds routinely along with pushing, pulling, bending and they work standing about 80% of the time. A sonographer also needs to be able to help patients on and off examination tables and communicate effectively with both patients and other health care professionals.
Besides the actual imaging duties, it is not unusual for sonographers to assist in electronic and clerical scheduling, image archiving and record keeping. Some sonographers may also take on a managerial or supervisory role around their place of work.
Job Demand and Security
The good news is that the job itself is highly valued, and has seen a massive increase in demand in recent times. A preference by physicians to have access to sonograms to aid their diagnoses, combined with innovative technological advancements in the area such as 3D and 4D ultrasound scans have turned this area into one of the fastest growing in the United States. Expected to grow by 44% by 2020, with anything over 20% growth deemed highly favorable, and with 53,700 positions already operating in the United States the outlook for sonographers could not be brighter.
What exactly is an Ultrasound Technician Salary?
Due to the training and specialized work, the salary for an ultrasound technician is very competitive. Although it does vary according to where in the country you are located, a starting wage can be anywhere from $16 to $23 an hour. After a few years of experience you can confidently expect this to rise to around $26 to $29 an hour. For those of you who prefer more annual figures, although once again these vary widely, the majority earn between $52,570 and $73,680 with an average coming out as roughly $65,000 per year.
This wage can also have benefits depending on your current situation at work. When on call you are paid at a higher rate of between $3-4 more per hour. In addition to this if you happen to be called in on short notice you are paid significantly more at a rate of around $43 an hour.
Your salary can also be influenced by your current work environment, although many sonographers work in hospitals there is growth in other sectors such as physician offices or diagnostic laboratories. Undertaking a career in one of these areas can increase your salary by several thousand dollars annually.
These figures are however for the position of a general diagnostic medical sonographer, one way to increase your income further than the ones listed, is to undergo training to enter a specialty such as becoming a registered diagnostic cardiac sonographer.
The payment rates of these advanced educated sonographers is greatly increased as the better educated and trained a sonographer is, the more prestigious a company can advertise as providing only the very best care to their clients and patients.
The salary can also come with various perks such as health insurance and paid vacation time, which increase the longer you stay with a company. For similar reasons to those listed above, the health sector is renowned for trying to keep their staff for as long a period of time as possible, this allows great opportunity for you to undergo the more advanced training needed and grow your natural salary over time, while also helping people in a great innovative sector of medicine.
If you truly wish to maximize your income then location you work in can prove to be very important. An ultrasound technician located in Anchorage, Alaska for a number of years can make almost $90,000 a year, which compared to an ultrasound technician salary in Portsmouth, New Hampshire will only make a salary of $78,000 for a similar amount of time. While $12.000 a year is obviously a significant increase, it is worth considering the factors as to why this increase exists in the first place, whether it is due to increased living expenses or a less desirable location, before determining which is best for you personally.
More to life than money…
When considering entering any career, the money involved is a major consideration. It is this that will determine potentially the rest of your life, where you live, the car you drive, even what you eat. However as many people will tell you, there is more to life than money. It’s worth bearing in mind that you will spend more of your waking life at work, than doing anything else. As such it is vital that you choose a job that you can potentially enjoy and find rewarding, rather than based on monetary income alone.
If you do decide to follow this path, then you can obtain a great ultrasound technician salary and achieve a bright future in a field that allows you to help people and potentially even help bring new life into the world. It will allow you to feel rewarded, while also allowing for self-growth and personal future advancement via training and promotion, with a large variety of potential areas to specialize in. You will be largely in control of your own income via the work that you put in and the route you choose, while being part of an industry that will still flourish even during tough economic times.
Please like us on Facebook, Google +1, Twitter, Digg, Stumble etc if you found this article and featured videos useful. It provides a great incentive for us to keep this website going as we get to see real results from the people we help. Thank you.