The health care field has always provided opportunities to make a substantial amount of money. Yet, the catch was often that one needed to also make a significant investment in education. Obtaining this education often meant investing a substantial amount of time and money. However, there are health care professions that offer a sizeable income without such a hefty investment of time and money.
For example, one can obtain a two-year associates degree to become an ultrasound technician. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, ultrasound technicians are one of the highest paying positions in the health care industry that requires only an associate degree. Further, these positions are in high demand.
The common educational requirement for entry into the ultrasound technician profession is an associates degree. An associates degree is generally conferred by community colleges or technical colleges normally after two years of attendance. Generally, the curriculum for becoming an ultrasound technician consist of classes in sonography, physics, patient care, and anatomy together with clinical rotations.
Associates Degree vs. Bachelor’s Degree
A 2010 American Society of Radiologic Technologists survey reported that the majority of ultrasound technicians hold an associates degree or certificate; 72.1 percent to be exact. Only 27.9 percent hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. Among those who responded to the survey, the average yearly income for associates degree holders was $67,732. By contrast, those with a bachelor’s degree or higher were only slightly higher; reporting an annual salary of $69,000.
Licensing and Certifications
The majority of the states will require an ultrasound technician to be licensed or certified by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) or the applicable licensing professional organization. Extra time needs to be set aside in order to apply for and take the exams to become licensed or certified. License or certification is needed before pursuing a job.
Average Salary of an Ultrasound Technician in the United States
There are three main factors that influence the salary of an ultrasound technician. The first is the level of education and amount of training. As shown above, ultrasound technicians that have a bachelor’s degree or higher make more money than those technicians with an associates degree or certificates. However, the difference in salaries is slight. The second factor is geographic location. Salaries can vary from state to state as well as from rural regions to urban centers. See the table below that reflects the tech salaries in the top paying states. Lastly, the place of employment has a large impact on a technician’s salary. For example, the salaries of ultrasound technicians vary from hospitals, private physicians’ offices and imaging facilities.
STATE MEDIAN SALARY
Career One Stop, 2012 Data
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, expected demand for ultrasound technicians is expected to grow 44 percent by 2020. The employment growth for ultrasound technicians is one of the highest for any occupation. If one’s interest is in the health care field, but making a substantial investment in education is not an option, then becoming an ultrasound technician may be a compelling career choice. Due to the combination of high earnings potential, strong job demand and relatively low educational requirements, you can’t go wrong with becoming an ultrasound technician.