Guide to locuming as a Sonographer in the UK

By Alex King . 28/06/2024 · 7 Minute read

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Working as a sonographer in the UK can be a fulfilling and well-paying career option. It provides flexibility, different work settings, and chances to advance professionally. This guide will help you become a sonographer. It explains how to work with an agency and specialise to earn more.

Essential Steps to Becoming a Sonographer in the UK

1. Educational Requirements

In the UK, to become a sonographer, you need a degree in diagnostic radiography, medical ultrasound, or a related healthcare field. The degree is a requirement for this profession. It can be in diagnostic radiography, medical ultrasound, or a related healthcare field.

Most universities offer undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in these areas. Check if the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) accredits your course.

Some reputable programmes include:

2. Professional Registration

Whilst registration with the HCPC as a sonographer isn't mandatory in the UK, some NHS hospitals and private clinics prefer it. You cannot obtain HCPC registration if you aren't already a qualified radiographer; you can find more information on registration requirements on the HCPC website. To register as a sonographer, you can also obtain an RCT or BMUS registration.

3. Gain Clinical Experience

Before considering locum work, it is beneficial to gain some experience in a permanent role. This experience will help you build your skills, confidence, and professional network. You can find typical entry-level positions in NHS hospitals and private clinics.

4. Continuous Professional Development (CPD)

Sonography is an evolving field. Join CPD activities like workshops, conferences, and courses to keep up with new technologies and techniques. Organisations like the Society and College of Radiographers offer various CPD opportunities.

Specialising in Sonography to Earn More

1. Identify High-Demand Areas

Focusing on popular areas like obstetric, vascular, or musculoskeletal sonography can increase your income. Look into which specialties are in demand in your area.

2. Advanced Certifications

Experienced sonographers should consider obtaining advanced certifications or qualifications in their chosen specialism. These additional credentials can make them more attractive to employers and allow them to command higher pay rates. The British Medical Ultrasound Society (BMUS) offers specialised training and certification.

3. Continuous Learning

Stay committed to your professional development. Regularly update your skills and knowledge through specialised courses or training programmes. This commitment enhances your expertise and increases your value as a locum sonographer.

4. Consultancy Roles

With significant experience and specialised knowledge, you can explore consultancy roles. These positions often offer higher pay and the opportunity to influence best practices within healthcare settings.

Types of Sonographer Roles

There are various roles available within the sonography specialism, including:

  • Gynaecologic sonographer
  • Vascular sonographer
  • General abdominal sonographer
  • Obstetric sonographer
  • Musculoskeletal sonographer

Sonographer Salary in the UK

Average Salary of a Sonographer

The average salary for a sonographer working for NHS England ranges between £43,742 and £57,349, typically falling into band 7 or band 8a on the NHS pay scale. A sonographer’s salary can vary significantly depending on their location in the UK, the type of organisation — whether the NHS or a private sector entity — and the nature of the contract, such as a locum or substantive position.

NHS Sonographer Banding

A sonographer’s salary is usually placed in either band 7 or band 8a, depending on their qualifications and experience. Newly qualified sonographers typically start in band 7.

Band 7 Sonographer Salary:

  • Less than two years: £43,742
  • 2-5 years: £45,996
  • Over five years: £50,056

Band 8a Sonographer Salary:

  • Less than five years: £50,952
  • Over five years: £57,349

The NHS pay scales for sonographers are based on a 37.5-hour work week. These figures are specific to NHS England and might differ in other parts of the UK. Be sure to check the working hours and shift patterns of the role you are applying for, as some positions are part-time, while others may require weekend shifts. Additionally, there is a higher cost area supplement (HCAS) for NHS positions in and around London. For more detailed salary information, refer to the HCAS pay rate tables.

Locum Sonographer Hourly Pay

Locum sonographer hourly pay rates range from £42 to £65. Locum work offers higher rates and greater flexibility compared to permanent positions, but it comes with trade-offs in terms of job security and predictable income. Locum hourly pay rates are set either by the NHS staff bank, individual trusts, or private providers. Given the high demand for sonographers, considering locum work could be advantageous.

Working with an Agency as a Sonographer

Finding the Right Agency

Finding a reputable specialist healthcare recruitment agency is one of the biggest challenges for locum sonographers. Look for agencies that:

  • Have good reviews and testimonials.
  • Offer competitive pay rates.
  • Provide strong support and resources.
  • Have a wide range of job opportunities.
  • Are willing to understand and meet your specific needs and preferences.

Your World is renowned for providing excellent support to Sonographers, competitive pay rates, and extensive resources.

Benefits of Working with an Agency

  • Flexibility: Choose assignments that fit your schedule and preferred location.
  • Variety: Gain experience in different healthcare settings and departments.
  • Support: Receive assistance with placements, paperwork, and any issues that may arise.
  • Networking: Build a network of professional contacts across various institutions.

What to Expect

When you join an agency, you must undergo a thorough screening process. This process may involve background checks and an interview, as well as verification of your credentials. Once approved, you'll receive job offers that match your skills and preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: How long does it take to become a registered sonographer? A: It usually takes 3-4 years to complete the necessary education.

Q: Can I work part-time as a locum sonographer? Yes, locum work offers flexibility. You can choose part-time or full-time assignments based on your availability.

Q: How much does a locum sonographer in the UK usually make? A: The average salary ranges from £42 to £65 per hour, depending on experience and specialisation.


Locuming as a sonographer in the UK offers numerous benefits, from flexible working conditions to diverse job experiences. Follow the steps in this guide to transition into locum work and increase your earnings by specialising.

Ready to advance your career? Join Your World Healthcare to find opportunities that match your skills and preferences.

Take the next step in your professional journey today. We are here to help you every step of the way. Contact us today to learn how we can support your locum sonography journey. View our locum sonographer jobs.

Welcome to a community that values your expertise and is committed to helping you thrive in your career!

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