California Occupational Guides

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Summary Guide for

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers in California

May also be called: Registered Diagnostic Sonographers; Sonographers; Ultrasound Technicians; Ultrasound Technologists

Specialties within this occupation include: Abdominal Sonographers; Breast Sonographers; Gynecologic Sonographers; Neurosonographers; Obstetric Sonographers; Ophthalmic Sonographers

What Would I Do?

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers use special equipment to direct high frequency sound waves into areas of a patient’s body. The equipment collects reflected echoes and forms an image that may be videotaped, transmitted, or photographed for interpretation and diagnosis by a physician.

Sonographers typically work in clean health care facilities. They usually work with diagnostic imaging machines in darkened rooms but also may perform procedures at patients’ bedsides. Most full-time Sonographers work about 40 hours a week.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Sonographer may appeal to those who enjoy activities that involve working with ideas and that require an extensive amount of thinking. This occupation involves searching for facts and figuring out problems.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

The median wage in 2021 for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers in California is $106,508 annually, or $51.21 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

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Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2021 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
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Benefits generally include medical, dental, life, and vision insurance as well as vacation, sick leave, and retirement plans. In addition, some employers pay for job-related training courses.

What is the Job Outlook?

Job growth is expected as sonography is an increasingly attractive alternative to X rays. While hospitals will remain the principal employer of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers, job growth will be more rapid in offices of physicians and in medical and diagnostic laboratories.

How Do I Qualify?

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers may train in hospitals, vocational-technical institutions, colleges and universities, and the military. Colleges and universities offer formal training in both two-year associate or four-year bachelor degree programs.

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. Applicants can also find employment opportunities through placement offices at their college or university. Newspaper classified ads, professional associations, and the Internet provide additional sources for job listings.  Online job opening systems include JobCentral at and CalJOBSSM at

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Learn More About Diagnostic Medical Sonographers