Ultrasound technicians, also called diagnostic medical sonographers or sonographers, are highly trained allied health professionals who specialize in operating equipment that creates digital images of the body’s organs and tissues. These images help ultrasound techs track a fetus’ development, find tumors or other problems within the body, and inspect internal structures and functions, so doctors can make diagnoses. Sonographers are in high demand with an expected job growth of 17% between 2019 and 2029.
Ultrasound techs in staff positions earned an average salary of $74,320 in 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This salary breaks down to about $1,429 per week and $35.73 per hour in a 40-hour workweek. Travel ultrasound techs can expect to earn more.
According to NurseFly salary data, travel ultrasound techs earned an average gross weekly salary of $1,868 during this same period. Their weekly salary included taxed wages and untaxed stipends for housing, meals, and other incidentals. However, only travel health professionals who can claim a permanent tax home are allowed tax-free compensations, otherwise their entire travel salary is taxed.
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Ultrasound Tech FAQs
What are the best agencies for Ultrasound Tech jobs?
The agencies on NurseFly that currently have the most Ultrasound Tech jobs are Cross Country Allied (145), Fusion Medical Staffing (108), and MedPro Healthcare Allied Staffing (58).
How to become a Travel Ultrasound Tech
An associate degree in diagnostic medical sonography is the minimum educational requirement to become an ultrasound tech, however a bachelor’s degree is often preferred. Degrees must be earned through a sonography program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. Certification isn’t mandatory, but most employers require applicants to be a certified diagnostic medical sonographer. Graduates can obtain this certification from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. Some states have mandatory licensing laws, so check local requirements.
What skills make a good Ultrasound Tech?
Ultrasound techs are highly skilled at capturing the best possible ultrasound images and have advanced knowledge of how to operate high-tech machinery. They also have in-depth knowledge of human anatomy and physiology and have a deep understanding of pathophysiology. Besides these hard skills, several soft skills make an ultrasound tech more effective in their field. Active listening and verbal communication skills ensure ultrasound techs can effectively communicate with patients and other healthcare professionals. Good interpersonal skills are also essential to enhance the ability to empathize with patients. Reading comprehension ensures the ultrasound tech can follow written instructions supplied by doctors.
What does an Ultrasound Tech do?
Ultrasound techs operate specialized equipment that emits high frequency sound waves to create images of a patient’s internal organs, blood vessels and/or tissues. They work one-on-one with patients and play a critical role in detecting and monitoring various medical conditions, including high-risk pregnancies, heart defects, and cancer. Common tasks of an ultrasound tech include:
Preparing ultrasound equipment to conduct examinations
Preparing patients by answering questions about the procedure and putting them at ease
Recording the appropriate anatomy using the sonographic equipment
Reviewing images to check for quality and adequate coverage for diagnoses
Analyzing diagnostic images and presenting findings to doctors
Assisting radiologists with ultrasound-guided biopsies and other procedures
Maintaining diagnostic imaging equipment
Where do Ultrasound Techs work?
Sonographers may work in various locations, but most work in hospitals and diagnostic imaging centers. They may also work in outpatient clinics, medical and/or diagnostic labs, private doctors’ offices, and other healthcare facilities.