Best Ultrasound Technician Schools + Career Information – 2020
A career as an ultrasound technician allows you to break into the healthcare field while jobs are expected to experience a high rate of growth over the next ten years. You can also begin earning an average yearly salary of over $50,000 within only a short time after completing your studies. Since a quality education is critical for helping you to succeed in this highly technical position, we offer you the 5 best ultrasound technician programs that you can choose from to launch your career.
What Education is Required to Become an Ultrasound Technician?
An associate’s degree is the most basic education requirement to become an ultrasound technician. However, many employers prefer to hire technicians with a bachelor’s degree. If you already have a previous college degree in any other field, then you can earn a certificate through a training program that proves that teaches you the required skills to work in this position.
The cost to pursue an associate’s degree begins at around $7,540. A bachelor’s degree costs about $32,060 on the lower end of the range. If you are eligible to earn a certificate, then the cost of your education is even less. Certificate programs begin at around $3,770.
| Type|| Cost|
| Associate Degree||$7,540 - $55,120|
|Bachelor's||$32,060 - $142,320|
|Certificate (For Students with an associate or bachelor’s degree)||$3,770 - $31,370|
It takes about two years for the average student to finish an associate’s degree to become an ultrasound technician. A bachelor’s degree takes around four years, although going during summer can make this faster. Certificate programs take about 10 to 18 months to finish.
| Type|| Length|
| Associate Degree||2 Years|
|Certificate (For Students with an associate or bachelor’s degree)||10 - 18 Months|
Can I Pursue This Program Online?
Ultrasound technician duties require you to learn how to use expensive sonography equipment that you are unlikely to have at home. You will also need to work directly with patients in mock training scenarios as well as real-life hands-on experiences. For this reason, your degree and certificate programs must be completed on campus. If you are working on an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, then you can work with your school to find out if some general education courses can be completed online.
Colleges and technical schools create admissions requirements to make sure that only qualified students enter their programs. These admissions requirements are for those who need to complete an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. If you already have a degree, then you will need to furnish the school with proof of your completed education such as a transcript along with any documentation of prior work experience in the healthcare field.
• Earn a high school diploma or GED
• Demonstrate proficiency on an entrance exam
• Have prior experience working in the medical field for some programs
The majority of undergraduate ultrasound technician programs begin with general education classroom courses such as anatomy and physiology that teach you basic information about the human body — knowing where certain organs are, and medical terminology helps you perform ultrasounds properly and create reports of the findings. You will also engage in technical training that involves learning how to use the equipment to perform ultrasounds. Since ultrasound technicians work in multiple healthcare fields such as cardiology and obstetrics, you may also find that the curriculum becomes more specialized as you advance in your education. For example, some ultrasound technical schools allow you to take additional coursework to learn how to read images and report abnormal findings such as ovarian or breast cancer.
What are the 10 Best Ultrasound Technician Programs Accredited by CAAHEP in the Nation for 2020
Why Attending a Program Accredited by CAAHEP Makes a Difference?
The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) reviews ultrasound technician programs to make sure that they meet the high standards that are required for teaching the required skills for medical imaging. You need to attend a program accredited by CAAHEP to be eligible to apply for your certification exams, and employers look for people who have graduated from an accredited program during the hiring process.
Certification and Licensure Requirements to Work as an Ultrasound Technician
In most states, a license is not required to work as an ultrasound technician. In places where you do need a license, you typically need your certification first. Therefore, your first step is to explore the different types of certification that are available in this field so that you can plan the best route to prove your competence. In most cases, you will select an area of specialization in which you can get certified. For instance, the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography
offers exams that cover several areas of specialization such as pediatric sonography and obstetrics and gynecology. To apply for your exam, you will need to complete several forms such as a confidentiality agreement and submit documentation of your completed education.
The American Registry of Radiologic Technicians offers credentialing exams
for both people who are just completing their education and those who have already earned one or more certifications. For those who have already earned a credential, pursuing a post-primary certification such as one in vascular sonography gives them an extra edge when it comes to finding employment. Some health care employers also require specific certifications that you can earn on top of ones that you have already received.
Where Do Ultrasound Technicians Work?
Hospitals; State, Local, and Private:
Ultrasound technicians work in hospitals where they help to perform tests to identify health conditions such as heart disease and cancer.
Offices of Physicians:
Physicians also employ ultrasound technicians to provide services to patients such as fetal sonography.
Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories:
Ultrasound technicians can learn how to read images and provide medical personnel with reports of their findings.
Outpatient Care Centers:
Outpatient care centers hire ultrasound technicians to provide imaging services that help with performing health procedures such as minor surgeries.
| Industry || Employment |
| Number|| Percent|
|Hospitals; State, Local, and Private ||42,678||60%|
|Offices of Physicians ||14,937||21%|
|Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories ||7,824||11%|
|Outpatient Care Centers ||2,845||4%|
Work Environment & Conditions
Your ultrasound technician training will teach you how to work within a healthcare environment where you must maintain high ethics and protect each patient’s confidentiality. At times, this position can be stressful since you may detect possible health issues in an image but be unable to say anything to the patient because the physician must make the diagnosis. You can also expect to work in dimly lit rooms using imaging machines. In some cases, you will sit beside the patient, but you may also need to stand on your feet for long periods of time to perform your duties. You may also be required to do some lifting and turning of patients who are disabled so that you can gain access to areas of their body that you need for imaging purposes.
What Starting Salary Can I Expect as an Ultrasound Technician?
An ultrasound technician salary begins at around $26.80 an hour. On a monthly basis, this works out to $4,650. As an annual salary, you can expect to make about $55,750 starting out. These figures can be slightly higher if you live in an area with a high need for trained ultrasound technicians or if you have multiple certifications that make you a high-quality candidate for a position.
| Type|| Salary|
| Hourly||$26.80 |
| Monthly||$4,650 |
| Annual||$55,750 |
| (Source: In-House Research)|
How Much Will My Salary Grow with Experience?
Your opportunity to increase your income grows every year. With five years of experience, you can expect to go from making about $60,060 to $72,510 a year. Your experience is also rewarded once you hit your 20 year anniversary as an ultrasound technician, with a salary that is over six figures. You can also increase how fast your salary grows by continuing your education so that you continue to advance in your field.
| Level of Experience|| Hourly|| Monthly|| Annual|
| 1-4 years||$28.87||$5,010 ||$60,060 |
| 5-9 years||$34.86 ||$6,040 ||$72,510 |
| 10-19 years||$41.44 ||$7,180 ||$86,190 |
| 20 years or more||$48.31 ||$8,370 ||$100,480 |
| (Source: BLS)|
How Many Job Openings are there for Ultrasound Technician Graduates?
| New|| Replacement|| Annual Job Openings (New + Replacement)|
| (Source: careeronestop)|
10 Year Employment Outlook
People who are just entering this career can look forward to a strong future with a high rate of growth. Right now, the need for ultrasound technicians is expected to grow by 23.18 percent over the next ten years. The growing population of seniors has increased the rate of growth and ultrasound technicians are needed to perform imaging services that help to identify vascular diseases in this group. There are also more healthcare facilities opening that need people to perform ultrasound imaging services. You can increase the number of positions that are available to you by seeking multiple certifications in areas that you know are needed in your location. For instance, areas with a large population of young families will need ultrasound technicians who are certified in obstetrics.
| Employment || Employment Growth, 2016-26 |
| 2016|| 2026|| Number|| Percent|
State Wise Employment, Job Openings & Salary Breakdown
| State|| Employment|| Annual Job Openings (New + Replacement)|| Annual Average Salary|
| Alabama|| 1,200|| 90|| $56,450|
| Alaska|| 80|| 10|| $93,740|
| Arizona|| 1,920|| 210|| $83,320|
| Arkansas|| 580|| 40|| $63,140|
| California|| 6,770|| 490|| $92,660|
| Colorado|| 1,160|| 100|| $83,430|
| Connecticut|| 860|| 70|| $82,370|
| Delaware|| 190|| 10|| $72,230|
| District of Columbia|| 190|| 10|| $90,860|
| Florida|| 5,360|| 500|| $65,830|
| Georgia|| 2,210|| 140|| $61,960|
| Hawaii|| 160|| 10|| $94,350|
| Idaho|| 250|| 30|| $80,330|
| Illinois|| 2,930|| 170|| $76,700|
| Indiana|| 1,140|| 80|| $68,970|
| Iowa|| 820|| 50|| $68,960|
| Kansas|| 590|| 40|| $72,020|
| Kentucky|| 740|| 60|| $65,790|
| Louisiana|| 1,210|| 70|| $60,360|
| Maine|| 250|| 20|| $78,220|
| Maryland|| 1,570|| 80|| $75,270|
| Massachusetts|| 2,040|| 150|| $83,780|
| Michigan|| 2,670|| 190|| $61,130|
| Minnesota|| 1,310|| 120|| $80,390|
| Mississippi|| 630|| 50|| $61,200|
| Missouri|| 1,220|| 100|| $73,920|
| Montana|| 160|| 20|| $76,700|
| Nebraska|| 510|| 40|| $64,200|
| Nevada|| 520|| 50|| $76,220|
| New Hampshire|| 260|| 20|| $79,680|
| New Jersey|| 2,840|| 220|| $77,110|
| New Mexico|| 510|| 40|| $63,840|
| New York|| 5,210|| 440|| $74,960|
| North Carolina|| 2,080|| 150|| $66,850|
| North Dakota|| 220|| 10|| $70,950|
| Ohio|| 2,700|| 170|| $65,840|
| Oklahoma|| 780|| 80|| $68,900|
| Oregon|| 980|| 60|| $86,380|
| Pennsylvania|| 2,670|| 190|| $66,470|
| Rhode Island|| 230|| 20|| $84,990|
| South Carolina|| 730|| 60|| $65,870|
| South Dakota|| 310|| 30|| $60,500|
| Tennessee|| 1,540|| 160|| $64,080|
| Texas|| 4,870|| 490|| $71,580|
| Utah|| 560|| 60|| $75,070|
| Vermont|| 90|| 10|| $78,210|
| Virginia|| 1,680|| 130|| $74,390|
| Washington|| 1,490|| 130|| $87,960|
| West Virginia|| 510|| 40|| $61,740|
| Wisconsin|| 1,540|| 100|| $83,670|
| Wyoming|| 70|| 10|| $66,090|
|(Source: BLS & careeronestop)|
Important Organizations & Associations
This organization offers several different types of certifications that you can earn to demonstrate your knowledge and competency to potential employers.
Members of this organization receive online opportunities to get continuing medical education (CME) credits that you need to maintain your certification.
Technicians who work in the field of echocardiography can receive membership benefits such as access to online learning opportunities as members of this organization.
Ultrasound technicians can earn credentials for the first-time through this organization, or you can earn additional certifications to increase your professional standing.
Members of ACR gain access to educational publications that provide up-to-date information about changes in the field. You can also receive access to job listings and other helpful information for obtaining employment after you finish your education and get certified to work as an ultrasound technician.