With the healthcare field expanding at an unprecedented pace across the country, opportunities are numerous for individuals who would like to become an ultrasound technician in California. Ultrasound technicians are professionals who make use of diagnostic imaging equipment to carry out examinations on patients at physicians offices, outpatient clinics and hospitals. This job is sought-after by people who are just beginning their medical field careers, as it requires comparatively less education and training and is often a means for moving into advanced medical field positions.

Becoming an ultrasound technician in California

Below you will see a breakdown of the four steps necessary to become an ultrasound technician in California.

Step 1: Complete high school or get your G.E.D.

Regardless of the job you choose to pursue, earning a high school diploma should always be regarded as the initial step. Working in the healthcare field is no different. While it is possible to get certain starting jobs without at least a G.E.D., you’ll at some point find that your opportunities for advancement are minimal.

If looking for an ultrasound technician certification program, you can expect to also find that most educators require students to have a diploma or G.E.D. prior to registration. Take the time to complete this first basic step, and you will prevent a huge number of road blocks during your career.

Step 2: Sign-up for an approved ultrasound tech school in CA

As mentioned, ultrasound technician training in California is managed by a couple of organizations: the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRC-DMS). Only those students who complete their education at a program approved by one of these organizations will be able to test for certification in the state.

Step 3: Finish the training and all mandatory study hours

Obviously, graduating from your ultrasound tech program is an important step. In order to move ahead with the certification process, every program requires that potential ultrasound technicians finish a set number of practice hours in a clinical setting.

You cannot be eligible to take a certification test until you have completed all of the required hours.

Step 4: Acquire your RDMS certification

In the State of California, you are legally required to pass one of the nationally-administered tests for ultrasound technician certification. These assessments consist of sections on each significant area of knowledge you would have been exposed to in your program.

Each of the major national certification examinations administered in California are detailed below.

Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS) from ARDMS – The well-known, highly-regarded national credential is awarded by the ARDMS and is respected by virtually {all organizations}.

Registered Cardiac Sonographer (RCS) from CCI – The RCS certificate is accepted by employers almost everywhere in the country, and signifies that its owner owns a broad collection of ultrasound and sonography competencies.

Sonography Certification (S) from ARRT – The (S) from ARRT certification is a nationally-respected credential that certifies its recipient for a wide range of roles in ultrasound and sonography.

Ultrasound tech salary and jobs in California

Demand for ultrasound technicians is at record levels in not just California, but throughout the whole U.S. Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 23% growth in new jobs for ultrasound techs nationally up through 2026, the agency is expecting to see a 29% in California. The bulk of new opportunities are likely to be produced in physicians offices and hospitals. Some government facilities additionally employ nursing aides, orderlies and assistants.

As previously mentioned, many of these opportunities might make great starting points for careers in the medical field.

To compare wage statistics for California by location and county, please check out the table below.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$23.39$33.49$47.64
San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA Metropolitan DivisionHourly$34.64$58.38$76.11
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA MSAHourly$19.96$55.12$76.41
Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, CA Metropolitan DivisionHourly$30.48$54.10$75.77
Sacramento--Arden-Arcade--Roseville, CA MSAHourly$27.04$52.95$63.15
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA MSAHourly$34.20$52.70$70.99
Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA MSAHourly$22.87$48.89$62.61
Salinas, CA MSAHourly$34.44$48.30$60.14
Northern Mountains Region (BOS)Hourly$23.26$47.22$62.46
North Coast Region (BOS)Hourly$35.69$47.04$62.84
Stockton, CA MSAHourly$33.02$45.35$59.40
Modesto, CA MSAHourly$18.18$44.90$68.04
San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA MSAHourly$28.15$44.45$58.84
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA MSAHourly$22.00$41.26$62.08
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA Metropolitan DivisionHourly$22.07$40.41$57.14
Fresno, CA MSAHourly$26.47$39.91$57.88
Redding, CA MSAHourly$30.87$38.46$62.34
Visalia-Porterville, CA MSAHourly$13.74$37.42$56.87
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA MSAHourly$25.09$37.20$55.83
Chico, CA MSAHourly$20.72$36.18$52.03
Bakersfield-Delano, CA MSAHourly$21.79$35.71$56.61