Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

Mean Salary (US)


5-Year Job Growth


Source: JobsEQ®, a labor market data provider developed by economists and data scientists. Data as of 2020Q1 except wages which are as of 2019

Table of Contents

What is a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”), the U.S. Department of Labor’s principal fact-finding agency for the federal government in the field of labor, economics, and statistics that provides data on employment and wages, Diagnostic Medical Sonographers operate special imaging equipment to create images or conduct tests. The images and test results help physicians assess and diagnose medical conditions. Sonographers and technologists may work closely with physicians and surgeons before, during, and after procedures.


Diagnostic medical sonographers typically do the following:

  • Prepare patients for procedures by taking their medical history and answering any questions about the procedure
  • Prepare and maintain diagnostic imaging equipment
  • Operate equipment to obtain diagnostic images or to conduct tests
  • Review images or test results to check for quality and adequate coverage of the areas needed for diagnoses
  • Recognize the difference between normal and abnormal images, and identify other diagnostic information
  • Analyze diagnostic information to provide a summary of findings for physicians
  • Record findings and keep track of patients’ records

Diagnostic medical sonographers specialize in creating images of the body’s organs and tissues. The images are known as sonograms or ultrasounds. Sonograms are often the first imaging tests performed when disease is suspected.

Diagnostic sonography uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of the inside of the body. The sonographer uses an instrument called an ultrasound transducer to scan parts of the patient’s body that are being examined. The transducer emits pulses of sound that bounce back, causing echoes. The echoes are then sent to an ultrasound machine, which processes them and displays them as images used by physicians for diagnosis.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians, Including Vascular Technologists,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/diagnostic-medical-sonographers.htm

How much does a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer make on average?*

According to JobsEQ, a labor market data provider developed by economists and data scientists, Diagnostic Medical Sonographers made an annual average salary of $75,800 in 2019. 

In 2019, the top 25% of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers made an annual average salary of $89,100 and the bottom 25% earned an annual average salary of $61,800. Individuals who started out as an entry-level Diagnostic Medical Sonographer in 2019 made $55,500 per year on average.  

These numbers may vary based on geography and labor market.

Entry Level Mean Bottom 25% Top 25%

*Source: JobsEQ®. Wage data are as of 2019 and represent the average for all Covered Employment

Best-Paying States for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers**

According to the BLS, the states and districts that pay Diagnostic Medical Sonographers the highest mean salary are Hawaii ($94,350), Alaska ($93,740), California ($92,660), District of Columbia ($90,860), and Washington ($87,960).

**Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”). Data as of May 2019

Interested in becoming a Sonographer?

Visit Meritize Connect to Find Training Programs in Your Area

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Job Outlook***

According to JobsEQ, the Diagnostic Medical Sonographer field is projected to grow, beginning in 2021. 

As of Q1 2020, there were 74,828 reported jobs in the field, but that number is expected to grow over the next five years. JobsEQ estimates a 7.8 percent increase in Diagnostic Medical Sonographer jobs from 2020 to 2025, projecting 5,868 new job openings over this timeframe.

***Source: JobsEQ, Data as of 2020Q1, The shaded areas of the graph represent national recessions.

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Job Skills and Knowledge

According to O*NET Resource Center, people in this career often have these skills:

  • Active Listening– Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
  • Social Perceptiveness– Understanding people’s reactions.
  • Reading Comprehension– Reading work-related information.
  • Speaking– Talking to others.
  • Critical Thinking– Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
  • Monitoring– Keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements.

People in this career often know a lot about:

  • Customer and Personal Service– Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Medicine and Dentistry– Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.

Source: O*NET Resource Center

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