General diagnostic medical sonographers earn significantly more than cardiac sonographers, otherwise known as echocardiographers or cardiovascular technologists and technicians. Within the general category of sonographers are abdominal sonographers, breast sonographers, musculoskeletal sonographers, neurosonographers and obstetric and gynecologic sonographers. On the other hand, cardiovascular technologists and technicians specialize in the heart, arteries and lungs.
Cardiovascular technologists and technicians earned a mean annual wage of $53,050, or a mean hourly wage of $25.51, according to May 2012 wage estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). They earned a median -- or midpoint -- annual salary of $52,070 or $25.04 hourly. The top 10 percent of earners made $80,790 annually or $38.84 an hour. The bottom 10 percent made $27,830 annually or $13.38 hourly.
General diagnostic sonographers earned a mean annual wage of $66,360 or a mean hourly wage of $31.90, as indicated by BLS May 2012 wage data. This was $13,310 more than cardiovascular sonographers earned. The median annual salary of diagnostic sonographers was $65,860 annually or $31.66 hourly. The top 10 percent of diagnostic sonographers earned $91,070, while the bottom 10 percent made $44,990.
Cardiovascular sonographers earned the highest annual salary of $69,030, working in the offices of nonphysician health practitioners. They earned the second-highest wage of $57,910 working in specialty hospitals, and the third-highest salary working in offices of physicians, which paid $57,320. In terms of location, Alaska paid the highest salary, which was $80,310. Washington was the second-highest paying state, with $66,920, while New Jersey was third with an annual salary of $66,640.
Colleges, universities and professional schools paid the highest salary, which was $74,940, to general diagnostic sonographers who worked as post-secondary instructors. Outpatient care centers paid the second-highest salary of $72,200, followed by firms that manage companies and enterprises, which paid $71,580. California led all states in salaries with $84,220. Oregon came in second with $81,010, and was followed by Washington, which paid an annual salary of $79,980. (Ref 4)
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Diagnostic Medical Sonographers
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages: Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages: 29-2032 Diagnostic Medical Sonographers
- Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images