Radiologic technicians, or technologists, take X-rays to help diagnose injuries and diseases. In addition, they may specialize in areas of the field such as sonography, nuclear medicine, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or radiation therapy according to the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT). A registered radiologic technologist (RRT) must pass a certification exam. Salaries vary according to specialty, geographic location and experience.
Salary by Specialty
The average annual salary of a radiology technologist was $56,450 in 2012. Each specialty within the radiology technology field has a different salary range, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Diagnostic medical sonographers earned $66,360 on average and MRI technologists earned $65,410. Nuclear medicine technologists earned $70,840, while radiation therapists were the highest earners with an average annual wage of $80,410. The ASRT notes that entry-level salaries ranged from $44,500 to $57,500 in 2010, depending on specialty.
Salaries by Industry
RRTs are the most numerous group within the various radiologic technology specialties, outnumbering the other groups by 100,000 or more, according to the BLS. Most RRTs work in general medical or surgical hospitals, where the average wage is $56,590. Those who worked for physicians -- the next largest group -- earned $55,070. Medical diagnostic laboratories, outpatient care centers and the federal executive branch employed the remainder of RRTs, with average annual salaries of $56,740, $57,210, and $58,800 respectively. Although specialty hospitals employed slightly less than 2,000 RRTs, they offered the highest wages within the clinical care industries, at $61,410. The top-paying industry overall, however, was education with an average annual salary of $66,810.
Salaries by Region
Geography significantly affects RRT salaries. The BLS notes that salaries varied from a low of $43,940 in Arkansas to a high of $82,080 in Massachusetts. States on the West Coast and in the Northeast were among the highest-paying group, with salaries ranging from $62,590 to $82,080 annually. The Midwest had salaries ranging from $48,790 to $60,850. The Plains and Southern states tended to have lower salaries than other regions, although the southern coastal states were in the mid-range, with salaries between $48,790 and $52,770.
Metropolitan vs. Rural Salaries
Average salaries also varied according to whether the RRT worked in a metropolitan or rural area, even within a state. The highest-paying metropolitan areas for RRTs were all in California in 2012. The BLS notes, however, that even within those areas salaries varied considerably. In the Santa Rosa-Petaluma area, RRTs earned $73,690, while those in the nearby Napa area earned $89,410. In more rural Kansas, an RRT could expect to earn $45,290, while an RRT in a non-metropolitan area of North Carolina earned $49,010. Rural RRTs make a significantly lower salary then those in urban areas.
- American Society of Radiologic Technologists: Explore Careers in Radiologic Technology
- The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists: Patient Page
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Radiologic Technologists
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: May 2012 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates United States
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2012 29-2034 Radiologic Technologists
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