Ultrasound Technician Careers: 5 Career Options

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A career as an ultrasound technician is undoubtedly an exciting option. Ultrasound technicians are in high demand, and this is expected to rise even higher in the coming years. 

One of the great things about this career path is that there are multiple career options that you can choose from. Therefore, in this article, I highlight five career options for an ultrasound technician. Let’s get into it. 

1. Diagnostic Medical Sonography 

This is the most popular path for ultrasound technicians. A diagnostic medical sonographer works with doctors, nurses, etc., to monitor and diagnose patients’ health. This sonographer creates images of internal body tissues using the appropriate equipment. 

Furthermore, a diagnostic medical sonographer can specialize based on various parts of the human body. Some of the specialties that you can choose from include:

  • Cardiovascular technologists – specialize in the heart
  • Abdominal sonographer – specializes in creating images of internal tissues in the abdomen 
  • Musculoskeletal sonographer – specializes in the muscles and skeletal systems. 
  • Neurosonology sonography – specializes in the brain
  • Breast sonography – specializes in the breast
  • Obstetric sonography – specializes in the fetus during pregnancy. 

You can work as a diagnostic medical sonographer in hospitals, imaging centers, or outpatient centers. Also, as your career progresses, you may be called upon to lead a sonography department and perform other administrative duties. 

The average salary of a diagnostic medical sonographer is $78,000 per annum. 

2. Sonography Educator 

After completing your sonography education and working in clinical practice for a while, you may prefer to become an educator rather than a practicing sonographer. As an educator, you will be expected to possess other non-technical skills like communication and empathy. 

Furthermore, depending on the role, you will need a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree. You will also be expected to stay on top of the latest news in the field and engage in research and other scholarly activities like publishing papers.

A sonography educator can work in clinical hospitals, universities, or colleges, and the average salary of an educator is $65,670 per annum. 

3. Ultrasound Application Specialist 

This is another path you can take, especially if you love the technical aspects of sonography. An ultrasound application specialist educates sonographers and providers on correctly using new and old sonography equipment. 

When a sonography department gets a new set of equipment, the application specialist will be the one to train members of the department on how best to use the machines. 

As an ultrasound application specialist, there are a couple of places you can work in. Some examples include:

  • Directly with vendors of this equipment like Samsung, General Electric, etc.,
  • In the marketing and sales department of clinics and other medical organizations. 

The average salary of an ultrasound application specialist is $70 000 per annum. 

4. Research Sonographer 

Few take this path, but it is an important career path in sonography. Becoming a research sonographer means dedicating your life to carrying out and publishing research studies on various aspects of sonography, such as scanning techniques, advancement in equipment, and pathophysiology. However, you can only become a research sonographer seven years after engaging in clinical practice. 

Research sonographers get to work with scientists, which can be an exciting prospect. Furthermore, they are likely to get professional recognition for their contributions to the sonography field. 

The average salary of a research sonographer is $78,000 per annum. 

5. Entrepreneurship Option 

This path is for you if you are confident, self-motivated, and love the business world and all that comes with it. As an entrepreneurial sonographer, you could set yourself up as an independent sales representative working with a dealer and selling equipment to clinical and facilities that may need them. 

This path requires various skills, including communication, selling, and networking.  In fact, building a strong network within the sonography field is crucial if you want to thrive as an entrepreneur. Furthermore, you must be prepared to deal with the uncertainties that come with this role. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Ultrasound Technician Careers

What Is the Highest-Paid Ultrasound Technician Career?

While the salary ranges of the different roles differ according to state, employer, and skill level, diagnostic medical sonographers generally earn the highest. 

Among the diagnostic medical sonographers, the technicians that are generally paid the highest are electrophysiology technicians. These are technicians that help a cardiologist during a cardiac procedure.

We have an article that gives you a comprehensive list of some of the highest-paying sonography jobs. 

Who Makes More Money? MRI Tech or a Sonographer?

Both fields use technology to create images of the body’s internal parts to diagnose illness and evaluate health. However, while their job description and functions are similar, an ultrasound technician or sonographer earns slightly more. 

The average salary of a sonographer is about $78,000, while an MRI tech earns approximately $74,000. Of course, factors like qualifications, specialization, employer, etc., may cause an MRI tech to earn more than a sonographer. 

What Is the Hardest Part of Being an Ultrasound Technician?

Sonography is a very satisfying career, yet it is not without its challenges. Some of the major ones that you will face should you decide to start a career as an ultrasound tech are:

  • Long and irregular hours: The most common place for ultrasound technicians to work is at hospitals and clinics. This usually means long work hours while the clinic is open and weekend shifts to serve patients properly. There may also be emergencies that will require you to come in unplanned.
  • Physical demands: Sometimes, you will need to push or lift heavy equipment or position patients for imaging procedures. All of this will require physical exertion.
  • Difficult patients: You may have to work with anxious or scared patients who will task your emotions. They could lash out or need you to reassure them constantly, and you are always expected to be composed while showing compassion and empathy.