A radiologist tech, also known as a radiologic technologist, plays an important role in the diagnosis of illness and injury. Using imaging equipment such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) machines, technologists produce images of internal organs and structures. Most technologists earn an associate degree and are licensed by the state they practice in. Wages vary considerably depending on employer, seniority, industry and location.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average wage for all radiologic technologists and technicians was $27.29 per hour in 2011. That equated to a yearly salary of $56,760. The top 10 percent of earners made $37.39 per hour or more, while the bottom 10 percent earned $17.96 or less. The median wage, or the midway point between the highest and lowest wages, was $26.50 per hour.
The type of employer plays a role in average wages. The BLS reports that more than half of radiologic technologists were employed by general medical and surgical hospitals as of May 2011, earning an average of $27.33 per hour. However, the industry with the highest wages was scientific research and development services, where the average hourly pay was $31.79. Universities paid an average hourly wage of $31.55, while techs working in a doctor's office were paid $26.45 per hour, on average. The rate for outpatient care centers was a little higher, at $27.23 per hour.
Location is a significant factor in determining average wages. Radiologic technologists averaged $32 per hour or more in five states as of May 2011: Massachusetts, California, Maryland, Hawaii and Alaska. Massachusetts had the highest average wage at $38.77 per hour, followed by California at $33.00 per hour. In states with the lowest wages, technologists earned an average wage between $21.31 and $22.27 per hour. Those states were North Dakota, Iowa, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and West Virginia.
While most radiologic technologists work in radiography with X-rays -- 27.9 percent in 2010, according to the American Society of Radiologic Technologists -- some work exclusively in mammography, MRI or CT disciplines. In a comprehensive salary survey of members performed in 2010, the ASRT found that the average wage of mammographers was $28.97 per hour, based on a 40-hour work week. Techs working with CT scans averaged $29.13, while those handling MRIs earned an average of $31.30 per hour. Sonographers, who specialize in a related discipline using ultrasound technology, earned $33.09 per hour, on average.
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