Pay guide – sonographer salary and hourly rates

If you’re curious about what your sonographer salary may be once you qualify, we have all areas covered in this guide. A sonographer is a highly trained medical professional that uses and understands ultrasound images to screen, diagnose and monitor conditions of patients. They look at a range of patients in healthcare facilities using advanced ultrasonic equipment. Some patients screened by sonographers may be perfectly healthy, while others could be critically ill.

In this article, we will look at the sonographer salary you can expect, the qualifications needed to become a sonographer and how Pulse can help you progress your career in sonography.

Sonographer salary in the UK

Average pay of a sonographer

The average salary for a sonographer working for NHS England is between £43,742 and £57,349, falling into band 7 or band 8a on the NHS England pay scale. However, a sonographer’s salary can vary greatly depending on where you work in the UK, what type of organisation – the NHS or private sector – and the type of contract you have, such as a locum or substantive contract.

There are different types of roles available in the sonographer specialism. They are:

  • Gynaecologic sonographer
  • Vascular sonographer
  • General abdominal sonographer
  • Obstetric sonographer
  • Muscoskeletal sonographer

NHS sonographer banding

A sonographer technician’s salary will usually sit in either band 7 or band 8a depending on qualifications and experience. A band 7 sonographer salary is offered to those who are newly qualified.

Years of experienceBand 7

Sonographers can expect to move up to band 8a once they have gained the relevant experience and have advanced their clinical skills.

Years of experienceBand 8a
< 5£50,952

NHS pay scales for sonographers are based on a 37.5-hour work week. The figures shown above are for NHS England and may differ from NHS banding in the other nations of the UK.

Make sure to check the working hours and shift pattern of the role you’re applying for, as some positions are part-time while others may require you to work weekend shifts.

Please note that there is a higher cost area supplement (HCAS) for NHS positions in and around London. View the HCAS pay rate tables for more salary details.

Locum sonographer hourly pay

Locum sonographer hourly pay rates range from £42 per hour to £65 per hour. Locum work offers higher rates of pay and greater flexibility than permanent positions. However, the ability to change jobs more easily and the higher pay come at the cost of job security and a predictable income, so you should consider these factors before changing roles.

Locum hourly pay rates are either set by the NHS staff bank, individual trusts or private providers. The demand for sonographers is currently very high for hospitals, so it’s worth considering locum work.

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What is the lowest salary for a sonographer?

A sonographer’s starting salary typically begins at £43,742 per year. This is what a sonographer can expect when starting an entry level position in band 7.

What is the highest salary for a sonographer?

Experienced sonographers employed by the NHS England on a substantive basis can expect to earn up to £57,349 at the top of the pay scale. Sonographers working on a locum contract can earn an even higher salary with hourly rates of up to £65 per hour.

Qualifications needed to become a sonographer

To become a sonographer, you will need to complete a relevant undergraduate course in medical science, radiography, obstetrics or midwifery, or a higher education course such as an apprenticeship in a similar subject.

While it’s not a legal requirement, most employers expect candidates to have a postgraduate certificate or diploma in medical or clinical ultrasound accredited by the Consortium for the Accreditation of Sonographic Education (CASE). Some universities offer an integrated master’s degree combining undergraduate and postgraduate-level study with CASE accreditation.

Working as a sonographer with Pulse

Whether you’re looking for locum or substantive posts, our team can help you find your next sonographer role. Pulse has extensive amounts of experience working alongside sonographers and our sector insight into the healthcare sector allows us to offer exclusive roles.

Register your interest to speak to a member of our team or browse our current sonographer job listings to apply today.

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