Ultrasound Tech Salary and Career Opportunities in New Jersey
If you’re interested in becoming an ultrasound technologist in New Jersey, then the first step is to research your options. There’s a lot to consider when you are starting your professional life or changing your career, so we’ve done the research for you.
In this article, you’ll find all the information you need to make an informed decision about your future from salary expectations and job growth to certification requirements. Plus, you’ll see how the Garden State measures up nationwide.
What Is Ultrasound?
First of all, it’s worth noting that ultrasound and sonography are the same thing. For example, if you complete a diagnostic medical sonography training program, you might be referred to as a medical sonographer or an ultrasound technologist.
Ultrasound (or sonography) is a painless medical procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to take images of the inside of the body. These waves capture and produce images of organs, tissues, vessels, and blood flow without any incisions.
An ultrasound scan is often the first procedure that physicians order when a problem or disease is suspected. Sonography helps physicians diagnose a variety of conditions, evaluate symptoms of pain, swelling, or infection, and asses damage after illnesses. It is also used to guide procedures such as needle biopsies and breast cancer biopsies.
What Does an Ultrasound Technologist Do?
The role of a medical sonographer is a varied one. Their main responsibility is to take images of the internal structures of the body using high-tech ultrasound equipment. Other aspects of the job can include:
- Preparing patients and explaining the procedure
- Maintaining ultrasound equipment
- Ensuring images and scans are of high quality
- Recognizing a healthy image and detecting abnormalities
- Recording and presenting findings to the medical team
- Working closely with doctors and radiologists to interpret the images
For a more in-depth look at what an ultrasound tech does, check out our ultrasound tech occupational guide.
Ultrasound Technologist Career Prospects in New Jersey
If you live in New Jersey – or considering a move to the Garden State – what sort of career opportunities await you?
We’ve gathered the facts and figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and other trusted sources to give you a detailed overview of what awaits you as a qualified medical sonographer.
What Salary Can I Expect in New Jersey?
Did you know that the national average salary for all jobs is just over $44,000 per year? According to the BLS, the national average ultrasound tech salary is $73,200 for full-time employees. That’s a huge difference. What’s more, the New Jersey average for fully qualified ultrasound techs is more than $75,000.
Does New Jersey Have a Solid Job Market for Ultrasound Techs?
New Jersey ranks 5th for states with the highest concentration of diagnostic sonography jobs. What’s more, the NY-NJ metropolitan area actually has the highest area of employment for ultrasound techs countrywide.
Which States Offer the Best Ultrasound Tech Opportunities?
We know that New Jersey is above average for both the national average wage and the average medical sonography wage, but what other options exist throughout the country?
There are just under 70,000 employed ultrasounds techs throughout the US, and New Jersey employs about 2,600 of them. However, the top five states with the highest level of employment for ultrasound techs are:
- New York
New Jersey’s neighboring state of New York comes in 4th with about 5,000 employed sonographers. Other neighboring states offer solid employment prospects, like Pennsylvania, which has about 2,550 positions.
The majority of the nation’s ultrasound techs are employed in state or local hospitals (60%), but other facilities – like physician offices (21%), medical and diagnostic labs (11%), and outpatient care centers (4%) – offer solid employment opportunities, too.
Ultrasound Tech Salaries Across the US
New Jersey is also one of the higher-paying states, with an above-average sonographer salary. But how much does a registered diagnostic medical sonographer make in other states?
Salaries for Neighboring States
In New York, you can find an average pay of $74,480, which is actually lower than New Jersey’s. Pennsylvania and Delaware also come in at $67,440 and $71,150, respectively.
Connecticut provides higher averages though, with ultrasound techs raking in a substantial $80,550 each year. The highest-paying state in the Northeast region is Massachusetts with an average of $82,450.
If you’re willing to travel across the country, you’ll find the highest wages on the West Coast. California is the highest in the entire country, with an eyebrow-raising $91,700. Washington is also a great bet for sonographers looking to make more than $87,000 per year.
States With Lowest Average Salaries
The South tends to offer below-average sonography salaries. Alabama is the lowest in the country at $55,750, followed by Louisiana at $58,040. Even the state of Florida – which has the third highest level of ultrasound tech employment – is on the low end with an average salary of $64,730.
Steps to Become a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
There isn’t one right way to start your sonography career. There are, in fact, three main options for you to consider: an associate degree, bachelor’s degree, or certificate program.
There are a few differences between degrees and certificate programs, such as length of study time and the cost. It really comes down to whichever one is the best option for you.
One of the more popular pathways to an ultrasound tech career is through a certificate program. We’ll focus mostly on this option since it’s usually the shortest route.
Depending on the school, your training will last about 2 to 3 years and include a clinical internship, where you’ll gain valuable practical experience in a professional medical setting.
Choosing the right option can be a little overwhelming, but there are comprehensive guides to becoming an ultrasound tech to assist you through the entire process.
Ultrasound Technology Certification
Once you’ve graduated from an accredited diagnostic medical sonography program, you’ll be eligible to take a variety of sonography certification exams.
Students who graduate from a CAAHEP accredited program are eligible to take certification exams offered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS).
You’ll have the opportunity to take the Sonography Principles & Instrumentation (SPI) exam, as well as the Abdomen (AB) and Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN) specialty examinations.
If you pass the SPI exam and one of the specialty exams, you will earn the Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS) credential. Most major hospitals and imaging centers only hire certified sonographers, so getting certified by ARDMS is essential.
The National Career Outlook for Ultrasound Techs
Thanks to the aging baby-boomer generation, the need for diagnosing medical conditions is ever increasing. According to the BLS, the field of medical sonography is set to grow by about 23% by 2026.
What about Career Advancement?
One of the best things about training as an ultrasound tech is the number of fields you can specialize in. Gaining certification and credentials in more than one sonography specialty will open up a wide range of career opportunities.
Some of the areas that sonographers can specialize in include:
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Adult Echocardiography
Ready to Start Your Ultrasound Technologist Career?
If you’re looking for a challenging and rewarding career in the New Jersey area, then why not consider our Diagnostic Medical Sonographer training program?
You’ll find all the information you need to take the first step toward an exciting career in allied healthcare.