In today’s challenging job market, it pays to do one’s homework. When a future medical sonography professional makes strategic decisions about their geographic location and specific education choices, the results can pay significant dividends. When considering or working towards a career in diagnostic medical sonography, the following information may help a student or sonography professional make savvy choices that could drastically increase their earning power, chances for development, and job satisfaction in the future.
States By Employment Rate
The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) includes myriad metrics by which the strength of the sonography field can be gauged. Several states across the country stand out in numbers of employed sonographers. The following are the top five states rated by the number of medical sonographers currently employed: California, Florida, New York, Texas, and Pennsylvania. These states range in numbers of actively practicing sonographers as of May 2016, from California’s 5,640 to 2,530 in Pennsylvania. 5,120 diagnostic medical sonographers are employed in Florida.
Choosing to pursue jobs in states that have high rates of sonographer employment may benefit a job seeker in two ways. First, high numbers of people employed in a profession indicate favorable conditions as far as benefits, salaries, opportunities, and communities that already recognize the importance of having sonographers available. Positions in areas with smaller markets may not yield the same benefits and salary opportunities as a position in a market with more need. Second, higher concentrations of like-minded professionals can mean more available opportunities for professional development, conferences, associations, events, and promotions. When looking for employment within the field of medical sonography, keep these states in mind.
States by Mean Salary
While some parallels may be drawn between states that employ large numbers of diagnostic medical sonographers and their mean salaries, mean wages don’t always correlate. Therefore, one should also take into consideration the states that boast the highest mean salaries in the field. California once again takes the first position with a mean wage of $93,350 reported in May 2016, followed by the District of Columbia (note that mean wage calculated from a much smaller total number of employed medical sonographers), Oregon, Washington, and Massachusetts. Other high mean salary states include Nevada, Arizona, Maine, New Hampshire, as well as Minnesota and Colorado.
Note: As locales are considered, be sure to note the area’s cost of living to more accurately gauge the prospective net income. Even though some states may have higher mean salaries than others, a higher cost of living may render those increases moot. Be sure to research thoroughly.
Where in the State?
While state-level figures may indicate the health and robustness of the sonography field by state, delving further into district-level figures could help a job-seeking sonographer gain a more thorough understanding of the best locations to search for employment. The top ten highest-paying metropolitan areas reported in 2016 to the BLS are all located in California and are spread throughout the state. These locations range from Los Angeles all the way to the Oregon border, the highest being located in the San Francisco Bay area. However, many other areas of the country boast strong sonography hubs and economies and one must consider an area’s cost of living to obtain a more accurate depiction of true yearly earnings. Metropolitan areas with the highest numbers of employed sonographers include New York/Jersey City areas, the Houston greater metropolitan area, and Boston and its surrounding areas. Other U.S. cities with the highest number of employed sonographers include Chicago, Washington D.C., Minneapolis, Phoenix, and Atlanta. Areas with the highest concentrations of available sonography jobs in their respective markets include Rapid City, SD; Rochester, MN; Walla Walla, WA; Homosassa Springs, FL; Hattiesburg, MS; Sioux Falls, SD; Vallejo-Fairfield, CA; and Wausau, WI.
Top Specializations in Sonography
Within the sonography field, multiple specialties and certifications exist that may increase a diagnostic medical sonographer’s earning power and allow them to focus on areas they find most engaging. Pursuing additional education and certification in specialty areas may increase salary and employment opportunities. In addition, certifications offered by reputable associations including the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS), the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT), and the Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) can provide further opportunity for professional growth. Many avenues to pursue significant career advances are available within the field of diagnostic medical sonography.
Those considering a sonography career can be confident that their line of work will include ample opportunities to advance and grow over the course of their career. When considering the opportunities that exist in diagnostic medical sonography, learning about the nuances of the field and the geographical hubs that offer increased opportunities can prove strategic and beneficial.
The goal of the online Bachelor of Science degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (BSDMS) at Adventist University Health Sciences is to prepare sonographers who show a high level of competence and professionalism for future leadership roles, continuing and advanced education, and technology innovations. A sound decision to invest in your future today can lead to an even higher level of career satisfaction tomorrow.