The ultrasound technician works in the fascinating field of ultrasonography. This is the practice of producing diagnostic images of structures within a patient’s body using ultrasound. Ultrasound has a wide variety of medical applications. These include viewing an unborn fetus, viewing the structure and health of the body’s organs, and ascertaining the health of blood vessels. Ultrasound can detect the blockage of blood flow to organs and allows one to see movements of the digestive system, heart, lungs, and fetus.
Job And Career Outlook
Because of ultrasound’s extreme usefulness in the medical field, the job prospects of the ultrasound technician will be highly favorable for many years to come. According to the bureau of labor statistics, the job growth rate of diagnostic medical sonographers up to 2022 is projected to be 47%. This is much higher than the 11% average job growth rate for all occupations.
While ultrasound’s usefulness plays a role in the growth of this field, there are other factors driving this demand as well:
- The baby-boom generation will have a greater need for medical diagnostics as they develop health problems associated with advancing age. Two common age related problems are cancer and cardiovascular disease. The tumor and blood vessel imaging capabilities of ultrasound technology are proven diagnostic tools for these afflictions.
- Federal health insurance legislation will increase the number of people seeking medical care. This increases the demand for ultrasound technicians as well as other occupations in the health care field.
- There is and will continue to be, a shift toward outpatient care. This is driven by health insurance providers who seek more cost-effective health care solutions. Thanks to advances in ultrasound technology, it is a prime candidate for use in outpatient care. Ultrasound is noninvasive and requires less expensive equipment than invasive techniques. It also exposes the patient to less risk.
Employers Of Ultrasound Technicians
Hospitals have traditionally been the largest employer of ultrasound technicians and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. They have many specialized departments several of which use ultrasound technology. Don’t limit your job search to hospitals because many new openings will be found at places with the highest growth rate. These include outpatient care (or ambulatory health care services), physician offices, and laboratories.
The states that hire the most ultrasound technicians don’t necessarily pay the highest salaries. However, the highest paying ultrasound technician jobs go to those with the most experience and highest education levels. If you are starting a career, naturally your main focus upon finishing your training will be getting that first job. As previously mentioned, your job prospects are much higher than those of most occupations. However, a smart strategy is to include as a part of your job search, the states that do the most hiring. These states include Connecticut, New Jersey, Florida, Tennessee, and Alabama. The states with the highest growth rates are Texas, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado.
The Salaries Of Ultrasound Technicians
The ultrasound technician’s salary will depend on a number of factors such as their geographic location, education, experience, job search and interview skills, and the type of employer. The states with the highest salaries are Massachusetts, Connecticut, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska which pay in the mid 70k range. The average overall salary in the U.S. in 2014 was $68,900.
Another geographic factor besides your state, is whether you live in an urban or rural area. The salaries in urban areas are higher than those in rural locations. However, urban areas also have a higher cost of living. Yet another variable is your choice of employer. Hospitals for example, pay more than doctor’s offices. Still another factor is your choice of specialty.
Becoming a part of this high demand field starts with completing an accredited ultrasound technician program. To learn more about finding the right one for you, please contact us.