Before you settle on a career choice, there are multiple factors that you'll need to consider. Earning potential is one of them. You have to make enough money to support your unique lifestyle. If you're thinking about becoming a sonographer but still have some reservations, getting an idea of how much you'll be compensated for your efforts should definitely help you finalize your decision.
What does a sonographer do?
To understand why sonographers earn the salaries they earn, it's important to look into what their jobs entail. Sonographers, also known as ultrasound technologists and medical diagnostic sonographers, use various digital imaging technologies to get a better look inside the body so that doctors know what's going on beneath the skin. By emitting high frequency sound waves that bounce around off of internal surfaces, these ultrasound machines can map out digital images of soft organs, tissues, bones, and even blood flow. Ultrasonography is most commonly used to scan body parts for signs of disease and for pregnancies, but it can also be used to guide physicians during surgeries when they need to poke and prod inside the body. Ultrasonography is continually proving itself to be an effective method for detecting heart and blood vessel problems. As you can see, sonographers have very important jobs that can save lives, and you'd expect them to be well-paid for it.
So what do they earn?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, sonographers earn an average salary of $65,860 as of May 2012. The bottom ten percent earned just under $45,000 per year, and the top ten percent raked in over $91,000 annually. Salary.com reports similar numbers for ultrasound technologists with an annual average of $67,839 in earnings. The bottom ten percent make $56,754 or less, while the highest ten can bring in more than $80,690 a year. Remember that these numbers are just estimates and that location, employer, and experience greatly affect how much you can earn.
How do I become one?
Talking about sonographer salaries is useless if you don't know how to become one, so read on if you want to see those kind of numbers on your future paychecks. First, you need to complete a sonography degree program at an accredited school. Both associate's and bachelor's degrees are offered at many different schools, but the latter will get you the technologist title rather than the technician one and earn you a higher salary. You'll take classes in math, anatomy, medical terminology, and other sciences while specializing in the safe operation of ultrasound equipment. After being hired, you'll undergo additional on-the-job training lasting four to six weeks under the supervision of an experienced sonographer. Certification can be obtained after passing an exam, and it's highly recommended if you want to have greater earning potential.