Radiologic Technologist Salary
Radiologic Technologists earnings are one of the more competitive salaries across the field of imaging and diagnostics. Rad Tech employees can earn an average of $61,540 per year, which breaks down to a mean hourly wage of $29.59. Certainly a livable wage!
While the lowest 10 percent of Rad Techs earn less than $40,630 each year ($19.53 per hour), the highest earning 10 percent tend to earn more than $86,250 each year ($41.51 per hour). This gap between the lowest and highest earning radiologic technology employees may seem quite significant, but there are a number of ways in which Rad Techs can best ensure they are on the higher end of the spectrum. At the end of the day, how much a Radiologic Technologist will earn will depend on their mastery of role and all involves responsibilities.
What is a Radiologic Technologist?
Before breaking down the average salary for a Radiologic Technologist across industries and regions, learners must first understand what exactly a Rad Tech does. This will help formulate an understanding of the many factors impacting these salaries, and the reasons why some Radiologic Technologists earn substantially higher salaries than others.
To start, a Radiologic Technologist is a healthcare career professional that specializes in x-ray and computed tomography (CT) imaging. This specialization is designates them as the professionals tasked with producing clear and accurate images of the body. Once these images have been developed, some Radiologic Technologists will be asked to prepare a mixture for a patient to drink, allowing the soft tissue to be seen as well.
Another role of a Radiologic Technologist is to simply help alleviate the anxieties of patients who may be concerned about the procedure or their condition. This can be as simple as explaining the procedure to the patient beforehand, showing them exactly what will take place and assuring them that the procedure is quick and painless.
In taking the first step toward becoming a Radiologic Technologist, a learner must obtain their associate’s degree and earn accreditation. This process usually takes 21 to 24 months to complete, and the coursework will include classes in anatomy, pathology, patient care, radiation, physicals, protection and image evaluation.
Many educational programs will also include a clinical component to their curriculum to incorporate the opportunity for first-hand experience. From there, the next step is to obtain a state license or certification. Although not every state requires that a Radiologic Technologist be certified, most employers typically prefer this credential.
Note: The medical community, American Society of Radiologic Technologists and most educational programs use the more appropriate term “Technologist,” rather than “Technician” which accurately reflects the educational level, responsibilities and skill set of registered and Certified Radiologic Technologists.
Salary by Industry
As for salary by industry, general medical and surgical hospitals tend to pay their Radiologic Technologists the most lucrative salaries. These facilities currently employ around 121,310 Rad Techs (the highest employing industry), and pay an annual mean wage of $62,650. This translates to an hourly rate of approximately $30.12. Check out this national Radiologic Technologist career outlook!
Next, employing the second highest number of Rad Techs, the offices of Physicians most often pay their radiologic technology employees $55,990 a year and $26.92 per hour. This is followed by medical and diagnostic laboratories, paying their Radiologic Technologists an annual mean wage of $61,800 per year and $29.71 per hour.
Paying the highest industry salaries are outpatient care centers and the federal executive branch (OES designation). Outpatient care centers will pay their Rad Tech employees roughly $65,740 a year and $31.60 per hour. Topping the salary charts, the federal executive branch (OES designation) pays Radiologic Technologists an average wage of $66,790 each year, equating to about $32.11 by the hour.
Salary by Region
When determining where to practice within the field of radiologic technology, Rad Techs should always consider which regions are deemed high or low paying throughout the occupation. Today, California by far employs the greatest number of Radiologic Technologists at 17,360. Therefore, California’s location quotient remains steadily at .72.
The state of Massachusetts also employs a large amount of Radiologic Technologists, reporting 4,240 employed radiologic technology professionals. Other top employing states within this occupation include the District of Columbia, Hawaii and Oregon. These are all great places to consider when getting started in this field!
As for the top paying metropolitan areas, these include the Vallejo-Fairfield, CA area, Salinas, CA area, Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA area, San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA area, Stockton-Lodi, CA area, Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA area, Chico, CA area, San Diego-Carlsbad, CA area, Redding, CA area and San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA area.
Alternatively, the top paying non-metropolitan areas which employ Radiologic Technologists include the North Valley-Northern Mountains Region of California nonmetropolitan area, North Coast Region of California nonmetropolitan area, Eastern Sierra-Mother Lode Region of California nonmetropolitan area, Alaska nonmetropolitan area and Hawaii / Kauai nonmetropolitan area.
For the over 205,590 Radiologic Technologists currently employed within this career in healthcare across the United States, competitive wages means that there is constant pressure to keep up with their peers to maintain a competitive salary. This can be achieved in a number of ways, but Radiologic Technologists hoping to increase their salaries must always remain dedicated to their professional development
Staying competitive in salary involves being up-to-date with industry trends through increased education and vast experience. To achieve this, many Radiologic Technologists will initially complete a post-secondary education program, followed by obtaining advanced credentials. These can be earned by taking certification examinations available from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). For specific licensure requirements, Radiologic Technologists should contact their state’s health board.
Popular continued education courses within the realm of radiography feature topics such as image analysis, PACS, radiation protection, fluoroscopic equipment configurations and improving safety in medical environments. Thus, an example of an ARRT certified continued education course is “Essentials of Digital Imaging — The Series.” This course provides instruction on the fundamental aspects of digital imaging.
Other courses, like “Fluoroscopy” help Rad Techs hone their technical skills, limit radiation risks and improve your knowledge with these essential fluoroscopy courses. Then, courses like “Safety Essentials” will explain how to improve safety in medical environments and provide a secure environment for all patients.
For others hoping to secure a more lucrative salary, an attractive option after initially gaining employment as a Rad Tech is to become a Radiology Assistant. This is an advanced practice role that has gained relevance and popularity within the last decade. While many of their duties are the same as Rad Techs, the position of a Radiology Assistant requires the application of more critical thinking and judgment. This advanced role also requires a higher level of education than that of a Radiologic Technologist position, as they deal even more closely with radiation. Learn about the possible dangers of being a Radiologic Technologist.
Another way to earn an increased salary is to transition into the fields of either academia or research. Adversely, some Rad Techs choose to simply take advantage of any possible overtime opportunities. Most Rad Techs will already work full-time schedules, but because some imaging facilities remain open 24/7 extra hours may become available. This is especially true in emergency situations, where some Rad Techs will be asked to work evenings, weekends or overnight.
At the end of the day, the American Society of Radiologic Technologists offers a salary estimator as a valuable resource tool to help enable Rad Techs to see how their salaries stacks up against those of other Radiologic Technologists. This is especially useful when comparing salaries to those who have the same job title, work setting and years of experience as a particular Rad Tech.
Now is a great time to consider entering a career in healthcare as a Radiologic Technologist! If you aspire to work in healthcare, help make a difference in patient lives and constantly keep learning and evolving as a professional, you will love a career in imaging and diagnostics!
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2018-19 Occupational Outlook Handbook