Medical Sonographer Salary Guide

patients checking in at medical office

Sonographers use ultrasound technology to help detect disease in the body, guide surgeons, and monitor pregnancies. This in-demand role pays a median annual salary of $77,740, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

In this Article

Overview

Sonographers can earn a solid income, especially when compared to other healthcare careers that are possible with an associate degree. As with all jobs, though, income varies across a spectrum. The top 10 percent of sonographers earn $101,650, in contrast to the bottom 10 percent, who earn $59,640, according to the BLS’s 2021 data.

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

National data

Median Salary: $77,740

Projected job growth: 14.7%

10th Percentile: $59,640

25th Percentile: $62,560

75th Percentile: $95,360

90th Percentile: $101,650

Projected job growth: 14.7%

State data

State Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Alaska $98,140 $47,850 $127,670
Alabama $60,550 $45,860 $77,030
Arkansas $61,840 $56,090 $78,340
Arizona $80,330 $61,300 $101,590
California $101,230 $74,460 $157,950
Colorado $91,760 $75,040 $100,870
Connecticut $82,880 $63,940 $120,240
District of Columbia $101,650 $77,740 $126,330
Delaware $77,450 $60,800 $99,780
Florida $75,040 $57,820 $83,310
Georgia $75,040 $47,970 $94,550
Hawaii $99,410 $77,450 $125,950
Iowa $76,590 $60,350 $95,360
Idaho $78,480 $61,310 $99,380
Illinois $79,810 $60,820 $100,740
Indiana $74,340 $56,150 $95,220
Kansas $77,280 $59,640 $98,030
Kentucky $75,000 $48,720 $84,940
Louisiana $61,790 $47,440 $79,560
Massachusetts $95,220 $64,900 $120,250
Maryland $79,810 $62,980 $99,820
Maine $77,630 $61,200 $98,780
Michigan $62,620 $57,510 $79,360
Minnesota $79,810 $73,390 $101,650
Missouri $75,040 $59,640 $95,360
Mississippi $61,530 $47,690 $78,670
Montana $78,670 $61,790 $100,200
North Carolina $75,000 $58,150 $95,110
North Dakota $74,870 $59,910 $96,000
Nebraska $76,710 $59,900 $81,630
New Hampshire $80,640 $61,340 $100,770
New Jersey $79,810 $61,510 $101,650
New Mexico $78,340 $60,500 $98,030
Nevada $78,610 $62,390 $98,150
New York $79,810 $62,390 $101,650
Ohio $75,000 $59,640 $94,690
Oklahoma $76,730 $48,400 $94,690
Oregon $98,030 $76,730 $122,610
Pennsylvania $73,850 $55,530 $96,140
Rhode Island $95,360 $63,760 $120,240
South Carolina $74,930 $50,300 $88,430
South Dakota $61,790 $37,550 $78,670
Tennessee $65,840 $48,920 $94,690
Texas $77,030 $50,510 $98,730
Utah $78,670 $59,640 $100,870
Virginia $77,450 $59,640 $100,870
Vermont $79,360 $60,550 $98,030
Washington $98,470 $77,030 $125,130
Wisconsin $94,690 $75,000 $101,650
West Virginia $62,160 $48,590 $79,360
Wyoming $78,670 $62,700 $98,140

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2021 median salary; projected job growth through 2031. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.

As a general rule, sonographers in big cities earn the most and those in rural areas earn the least. In urban centers, hospitals and health systems serve large populations of patients and may be willing to pay more to employ enough sonographers.

All but one of the 10 top-paying metropolitan areas are in California, according to the BLS.

Metro Area Median Annual Salary
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA $161,880
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA $151,590
Santa Rosa, CA $130,100
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA $129,440
Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA $129,330
Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA $128,850
Stockton-Lodi, CA $124,010
Salinas, CA $120,160
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA $102,360
Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA $101,830

More Factors that Affect Salary

Geography is not the only factor that can play a role in a sonographer’s salary. In fact, some factors may be within your control, so you can work to bump up your earning potential.

Education

Education can influence sonographer salaries in several ways:

  • Sonographers with higher levels of education tend to earn more. Many sonographers opt for an associate degree, but a bachelor’s may qualify you for higher pay.
  • A master’s degree can help you move into managerial roles and potentially push your salary even higher.

Experience

The longer you work in the field, the more your earning potential increases.

“When sonographers first start in the field, they get paid less because they have less experience,” says Kate Scrivens, a sonographer in Central Oregon. “Unseasoned sonographers have a lot of on-the-job learning to do and pay reflects that.”

Certification and Credentials

After you complete a sonography program, you can go on to earn certifications, which demonstrate mastery in your field in general or in a specialty. You can earn certifications by passing a board exam administered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS).

After you complete a sonography program, you can go on to earn certifications, which demonstrate mastery in your field in general or in a specialty.

“The more boards you pass, the more job prospects you have,” Scrivens says. “Getting as many credentials and variety of experience as you can help with earning potential.”

Workplace

Your salary can vary based on where you work. While 60% of sonographers work in hospitals, others work in physicians’ offices, medical and diagnostic laboratories, and outpatient care centers.

According to the BLS, here’s how salaries break down by workplace:

Outpatient care centers$109,670
Hospitals$80,200
Physicians’ offices$80,030
Other health practitioner offices$91,260

Specialty

Sonography positions that require highly specialized skills are likely to pay more, Scrivens says. Some specialties, such as OB/GYN, cardiac, and vascular sonography, are more in demand and generally pay more.

When you master multiple specialties, you are qualified for jobs that require a range of expertise, and this can boost your salary.

Job Outlook

Job growth for ultrasound technicians is projected at 15 percent through 2031, according to the BLS.

Baby boomers are driving much of the growth. They are not only getting older but also living longer—and requiring more care for illnesses and chronic conditions such as heart disease.

Ultrasound imaging is the “first line of diagnosis” for many conditions, Scrivens says. “The imaging is immediate, it costs less than other scans, and it’s not dangerous for patients,” she says, making it the go-to imaging technique for many cases, such as blood clots, breast health, and more.

Demand for Sonographers

Demand for sonographers isn’t equally distributed across the U.S. Pockets of high demand tend to be in states with large populations.

States with Highest Demand

StateEmployment
California7,030
New York5,970
Florida5,520
Texas5,380
Illinois3,010

In contrast, states with lower-than-average populations need fewer sonographers.

States with Lowest Demand

StateEmployment
Alaska160
Hawaii160
District of Columbia140
Vermont110
Wyoming80

Sonographer Salaries Versus Related Healthcare Roles

A sonographer’s salary is one reason why many people are interested in this profession. It is far from the only healthcare job that is rewarding both financially and personally, though.

Here are similar occupations with similar education requirements.

Career Median Annual Salary
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers $77,740
Radiation Therapists $82,790
Respiratory Therapists $61,830
Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists $77,360
catherine gregory

Written and reported by:
Catherine Ryan Gregory
Contributing Writer

kate scrivens

With professional insight from:
Kate Scrivens
Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, Central Oregon Radiology