Diagnostic Medical Sonography Salary & Career Opportunities in NJ
If you’re reading this, you’re probably giving a lot of thought to becoming a diagnostic medical sonographer in New Jersey. There’s certainly a lot to think about, no matter if you’re starting fresh or you’re already a member of the allied healthcare community.
From salary expectations and job growth to certification requirements, we’ve compiled all the research you need for making an educated decision about your future career in the Garden State and beyond.
What Is Ultrasound?
We get a lot of questions about the differences between ultrasound and sonography, but they’re actually the same thing. Unlike x-rays (which use radiation), this procedure safely and painlessly uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of the movement and formation of organs, blood vessels, soft tissue, and more.
A great benefit of ultrasound images is that they show these elements in real-time, without the need for incisions or invasive surgery. Physicians call upon diagnostic medical sonographers (also known as ultrasound technologists and medical sonographers) to help assess and diagnose a variety of conditions that can range from cancer to stroke to pregnancy.
What Does a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Do Each Day?
Depending on where a sonographer works, the typical day can change drastically.Though an ultrasound tech’s main responsibilities include taking accurate, high-quality scans of a patient’s insides, their job can also include:
- Prepping and explaining procedures to patients
- Keeping ultrasound equipment in perfect working order
- Telling the difference between normal and abnormal images
- Capturing and presenting scans to the medical team
- Working alongside doctors and radiologists to decipher ultrasound images
- Lending a hand during biopsies (e.g. guiding needles)
What Salary Can a Ultrasound Tech Expect in New Jersey?
New Jersey residents – and those thinking about moving to the state – will be happy to learn that salaries and opportunities for diagnostic medical sonographers are booming here. What sort of career is waiting for qualified sonographers?
A full-time diagnostic medical sonographer in New Jersey earns an average $73,200, or more than $35.00 per hour. That’s nearly $30,000 more than the national average salary for all American workers.
The top 10% of New Jersey diagnostic medical sonographers can expect to command upwards of $99,000, and even the lowest 10% of earners earn a median average of $50,760.
Of course, salaries depend on the environment you choose to work in. For example, on average, physician office workers typically make around $71,000 each year, while those working in outpatient care center receive just under $85,000.
How is the Diagnostic Medical Sonography Job Market in New Jersey?
New Jersey provides around 2,600 diagnostic sonography jobs, which is a solid amount of careers for the size of its population.
Many of these opportunities are located in the New York City metropolitan area, though every general hospital in the state has a need for these allied health professionals. And there are numerous diagnostic imaging centers throughout the state.
Which States Have the Best Diagnostic Medical Sonography Opportunities?
Around the country, you’ll find about 70,000 employed ultrasound technologists – over 2,500 in New Jersey alone. Which states have the greatest number?
Understandably, states with the largest populations offer the most career opportunities. California comes out on top, with more than 6,000 sonographer careers currently occupied. Following close behind are Texas (5,270), Florida (5,130), and New York (4,790).
Hoping to find a job near New York City? You’re in luck: This area has got the highest employment level for DMS in the entire country. Out of those 5,000 careers, 3,320 of them are based in the New Jersey-New York metropolitan area, the highest concentration of DMS positions in the entire country.
Where Do Diagnostic Medical Sonographers Work?
Up to 60% of America’s diagnostic medical sonographers are employed by either state or local medical hospitals. There are a variety of other working environments, like private practices, diagnostic laboratories, and substance abuse or psychiatric clinics. If you join this growing field, you can even find yourself working in a fertility clinic or juvenile oncology center.
Wherever you decide to work, your expertise and skill sets are depended on to pinpoint the health issues that are troubling patients.
Ultrasound Technologist Salaries Around the US
On average, New Jersey sonographers might receive great wages, but how do other states compare? Where are the best-paying salaries throughout the country?
In addition to providing the highest amount of DMS positions in the country, California also provides the highest average DMS wages which near the $92,000 mark (or $44.00 per hour).
Following close behind is Hawaii at $90,250, Washington DC at just above $89,000, then Washington and Oregon (at $87,440 and $86,140, respectively). If you’re thinking about heading west, it’s clear that the Pacific states offer great remuneration.
Like most allied healthcare careers, southern and Appalachian states provide some of the lowest sonographer salaries in the US. While salaries for diagnostic medical sonographers in Alabama are the lowest in the country ($55,750), this is still far higher than the mean salary for all jobs ($43,170).
Louisiana income averages are just over $58,000, and West Virginia sonographer salaries fall just under $61,000. That said, the cost of living in these states is far lower than in the Northeast and along the West Coast.
Salaries in Neighboring States
Moving back up the Atlantic seaboard, certified diagnostic medical sonographers in New York average $74,480, which is on par with New Jersey. The lowest salary in the area is in Pennsylvania (at $67,440), followed by Delaware ($71,150). The award for best annual DMS income in the region goes to Connecticut, with a respectable $80,550.
The National Career Outlook for Ultrasound Techs
The United States job market for medical sonography is expected to grow by a whopping 23% between 2016 and 2026. This is more than the 19% rise in demand that the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts for all healthcare professions.
Much of this increased need comes down to aging baby boomers and the rise in chronic health conditions among them. They are also more likely to visit a physician than previous generations. What’s more, non-invasive, painless sonography is leaned on more heavily each year to diagnose a variety of illnesses and conditions.
How to Become a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
There are multiple methods to kickstart your career in the diagnostic medical sonography field, and future techs can choose between obtaining a DMS degree or certificate.
The length of time each course takes and associated fees understandably vary, but these differences mean that there’s a perfect fit for every student.
A popular method of becoming a diagnostic medical sonographer is via a certificate program, which is also usually the shortest route for learners. Most ultrasound tech hopefuls are trained from 2 to 3 years, where they learn how to produce internal images using sonography equipment.
Most programs focus on general abdominal and OB/GYN sonography, though some offer vascular sonography and echocardiography training as well.
Students are also required to complete a clinical internship. Paired with a professional mentor in a medical setting, they gain the hands-on skills they’ll need for their future career.
Diagnostic Medical Sonography Certification
When students successfully finish an accredited sonography program, they may be eligible to take a variety of sonography certification exams. The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) offers certification for several specialties including Abdomen (AB) and Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN).
Students who pass the Sonography Principles and Instrumentation (SPI) exam and either the Abdomen or OB/GYN exam, will earn the Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS) credential. Being certified through ARDMS will make you a much stronger job candidate.
The Sky’s the Limit for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers
As a sonographer, gaining specializations in new fields can help you move up the ladder. With credentials in one or more sonography specialties, you’ll be able to choose from a wider range of employers and salaries.
In addition to Abdomen (AB) and Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN), ultrasound techs can specialize in the following:
- Adult Echocardiography
- Vascular Technology
- Fetal Echocardiography
- Pediatric Echocardiography
- Breast Sonography
- Pediatric Sonography
Jumpstart Your Ultrasound Technologist Career Today
If you’re looking to make a difference in the New Jersey area, contact an AIMS Education representative to get the ball rolling. You’ll learn everything you need to know to become an allied health professional in this exciting field.