What You Can Make as a Sonographer

There are many factors that can play a role in a sonographer’s salary, including where they live and where they work.

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 $75,920, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

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% of sonographers earn $105,340, in contrast to the bottom 10%, who earn $53,790, according to the BLS.

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

National data

Median Salary: $75,920

Bottom 10%: $53,790

Top 10%: $105,340

Projected job growth: 19%

State data

State Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Alabama $58,230 $40,610 $78,070
Alaska $96,490 $72,420 $124,810
Arizona $87,030 $57,190 $107,200
Arkansas $62,560 $45,650 $87,410
California $104,390 $69,060 $159,260
Colorado $87,030 $67,510 $108,070
Connecticut $85,960 $60,700 $112,640
Delaware $73,730 $56,620 $97,370
District of Columbia $95,530 $73,230 $113,680
Florida $68,710 $48,000 $87,450
Georgia $61,810 $35,530 $84,460
Hawaii $102,900 $78,970 $127,800
Idaho $77,950 $60,110 $101,460
Illinois $78,700 $54,920 $103,560
Indiana $71,800 $54,040 $97,930
Iowa $70,960 $54,920 $95,160
Kansas $77,290 $57,570 $100,360
Kentucky $66,240 $52,010 $86,380
Louisiana $62,660 $44,440 $83,290
Maine $77,690 $56,770 $104,220
Maryland $78,760 $62,460 $100,940
Massachusetts $87,510 $65,630 $117,050
Michigan $65,860 $52,270 $82,010
Minnesota $82,220 $68,100 $103,520
Mississippi $62,690 $44,470 $81,500
Missouri $73,710 $55,370 $97,300
Montana $75,830 $56,920 $98,790
Nebraska $67,980 $54,310 $84,720
Nevada $79,510 $65,310 $101,820
New Hampshire $82,360 $59,790 $103,020
New Jersey $81,720 $61,520 $103,860
New Mexico $73,630 $57,470 $91,820
New York $80,260 $55,240 $103,620
North Carolina $70,400 $54,010 $92,690
North Dakota $72,490 $56,420 $91,670
Ohio $66,670 $53,590 $84,080
Oklahoma $71,810 $51,050 $94,780
Oregon $92,980 $70,830 $113,340
Pennsylvania $66,750 $50,050 $92,010
Rhode Island $93,620 $69,540 $119,460
South Carolina $69,040 $51,790 $86,570
South Dakota $64,790 $47,830 $81,960
Tennessee $65,720 $44,670 $86,960
Texas $72,570 $53,090 $95,090
Utah $79,410 $39,480 $103,610
Vermont $81,740 $60,870 $100,990
Virginia $77,810 $53,970 $102,650
Washington $93,390 $69,830 $119,860
West Virginia $61,040 $47,730 $80,690
Wisconsin $87,440 $68,380 $107,310
Wyoming $74,410 $36,610 $97,140

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2020 median salary; projected job growth through 2030. 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 three of the 15 top-paying metropolitan areas are in California, according to the BLS.

Metropolitan AreaAnnual Median Wage
Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, California$146,720
Vallejo-Fairfield, California$133,280
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California$131,030
Santa Rosa, California$125,800
Stockton-Lodi, California$119,170
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California$116,460
Salinas, California$111,480
Modesto, California$109,520
San Diego-Carlsbad, California$105,670
Urban Honolulu, Hawaii$105,330
Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, California$105,280
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, California$99,280
Anchorage, Alaska$98,730
Bremerton-Silverdale, Washington$97,350
Fresno, California$97,090

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$96,780
Hospitals$76,060
Physicians’ offices$75,270
Medical and diagnostic labs$71,650

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 14% between 2020 and 2030, 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.

CareerMedian Salary
Sonographer$75,920
Radiation Therapist$86,850
Radiologic and MRI Technologist$63,710
Respiratory Therapist$62,810
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