Radiology technician salary guide
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Radiology Technician Salary Guide

Whether you just graduated from a radiography program or you’re an experienced radiology technician looking to increase your earnings, it’s essential to understand the factors determining your pay. Education and experience are two top considerations regarding radiology technician salary, but you should also explore how location, employer choice and certification can affect your earning potential.

This guide breaks down the average radiology technician salary in several states and compares salaries for similar allied health roles. You also get tips to increase your compensation as you build a rewarding career.

Average Radiology Technician Salary

Based on salary data collected by Vivian Health in early December 2022, radiology technicians earn an average of $28.95 per hour. However, this amount is just an average. It’s possible to make more based on where you live, what type of job you accept and what credentials you have. Salaries tend to be higher in underserved areas and states with higher costs of living. Travel radiology technician jobs generally pay more than staff positions.

Geographic Differences in Employment and Salary Levels

Employment Levels

According to 2021 employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), California has more than 18,000 radiology technicians, making it the state with the highest employment level for this allied health role. Texas is close behind, with facilities in the Lone Star State employing 16,870 radiology technicians. New York, Pennsylvania and Florida round out the top five, with each state employing more than 10,000 radiology technicians at hospitals, outpatient care centers and other facilities.

States with lower populations typically have fewer radiology technicians to match demand. For example, over 39 million residents call California home, while less than 4 million reside in Oklahoma and less than 579,000 live in Wyoming. Oklahoma employed 2,840 radiology technicians in 2021, while Wyoming had the lowest employment level for this job, with just 410 radiology technicians.

Salary Levels

California has some of the highest costs of living in the country, so it’s no surprise that it also has some of the highest salaries for allied health professionals. Radiology technicians in California earned an average wage of $35.44 per hour in early December 2022, per Vivian’s salary data. This hourly rate was more than $6 higher per hour than the national average of $28.95.

Alternately, Texas has a cost of living about 6% lower than the national average, so radiology technicians in Texas earned a little less than the national average at $27.71 per hour. Oklahoma’s cost of living is even lower by about 18%, so Oklahoma radiology technicians earn 14% less than the national average of $25.41 per hour.

One state where this trend doesn’t hold is in Florida. Its cost of living is about 3% higher than the national average, but radiology technicians in Florida earn 9% less than the average at $26.65 per hour. However, Florida is one of eight states that doesn’t charge state income tax.

Types of Radiology Technician Employers

Radiology Technician

When you think about staff radiology technician jobs, you probably assume these jobs occur in a hospital. General medical and surgical hospitals employ more radiology technicians than any other type of employer, employing more than 127,000 radiology technicians in 2021, per the BLS.

However, other types of employers include physician offices, which employed 42,300 radiology technicians during the same year, about one-third of the employment level found in general medical and surgical hospitals. Radiology technicians also work in medical and diagnostic laboratories, outpatient care centers and certain federal government offices.

Radiology Technician Salary vs. Other Allied Health Career Salaries

Compared to the salaries for similar allied health careers, the average radiology technician salary is less than other roles. The following demonstrates how a radiology technician’s pay stacks up against the wages of three allied health careers that also involve medical imaging, based on Vivian Health’s salary data during the first week of December 2022.

CT Technologist

Staff CT technologists earned an average of $30.34 per hour during this period, although many CT technologists’ duties overlap with an X-ray technician’s duties. Similar duties may include gathering information from patients, preparing patients for testing and positioning patients to maximize the quality of the final images.

What differentiates the CT technologist role from the radiology technician role is that CT technologists must have the knowledge and skills to operate CT scanners. These scanners produce cross-sectional images, making it possible for physicians and advanced practice providers to diagnose injuries and illnesses that aren’t apparent on X-rays.

Interventional Radiologist Technician

Like CT technologists, staff interventional radiologist technicians earned an average of $30.34 per hour during the same period. Radiology technicians and interventional radiologist technicians perform many of the same duties, but interventional radiologist technicians specialize in a field that uses X-rays and other types of imaging to guide the placement of wires, catheters and other items inside the body.

An interventional radiologist technician uses X-ray equipment during procedures, reassures patients and collects information about each patient’s medical history. Depending on the employer, this role may also involve transporting patients, organizing supplies in an interventional radiology suite, assisting physicians with imaging and educating patients on what they can expect during procedures.

Sonography Technician

Staff sonography technicians earned an average of $36.44 per hour or about $7 per hour more than radiology technicians. These allied health professionals perform ultrasounds on patients of all ages. Some of their most common job duties include operating ultrasound equipment, correctly positioning patients, giving instructions during ultrasound scans and providing results to ordering physicians. A sonography technician may also have to register or transport patients.

Ways to Increase Your Pay as a Radiology Technician

Radiology Technician

The more experience you have on the job, the higher your earning potential. However, those wanting to kick their salary up a notch in less time have a few options. Generally, you can increase your radiology technician pay by getting certified, accepting travel jobs or working in underserved areas with a high demand for radiology services.

Get Certified

Healthcare employers often pay a premium for employees who go above and beyond the minimum job requirements. Therefore, taking the initiative to earn professional certification may help you qualify for higher-paying jobs and opportunities for career advancement. One of the most common options for radiology technicians is the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) Radiography Registered Technologist R.T.(R)(ARRT) certification. To obtain this credential, you need to complete three steps.

Educational Requirements

The first step is to complete an associate degree or higher at an ARRT-approved educational program. Your degree must be in the same ARRT credential you’re pursuing. Thus, if you want the R.T.(R)(ARRT) certification, you must complete a radiography degree that includes all didactic and clinical competency requirements.

Ethical Requirements

The second step is meeting ARRT’s ethics requirements. When you apply for the R.T.(R)(ARRT) credential, you must answer several questions about your criminal history and disclose whether you have any charges or convictions, including:

  • Guilty pleas
  • Traffic violations involving drugs or alcohol
  • Traffic violations charged as misdemeanors or felonies
  • Convictions with suspended sentences and pleas of no contest

You must also disclose whether you’ve ever had a professional license, certification, registration or permit suspended,  revoked or denied. Disclosures must include being placed on probation or subjected to any disciplinary actions.

Exam Requirements

The third step is to take the ARRT certification exam. This computer-based exam has 200 scored questions covering the following content categories:

  • Patient Care (33 questions)
    • Patient Interactions and Management
  • Image Production (51 questions)
    • Image Acquisition and Evaluation
    • Equipment Operation and Quality Assurance
  • Safety (50 questions)
    • Radiation Protection
    • Radiation Physics/Radiobiology
  • Procedures (66 questions)
    • Extremity
    • Thorax and Abdomen
    • Head, Spine and Pelvis

Accept Travel Jobs

In the healthcare industry, travel jobs often pay more than staff positions. You may even receive tax-free housing stipends to help cover the costs of staying in a different location while fulfilling your travel contract if you can claim a permanent tax home. By completing one long contract or several short contracts each year, it’s possible to increase your pay substantially.

As previously noted, Vivian’s salary date during the first week of December 2022 showed an average hourly salary of $35.44 for perm staff radiology technicians in California. For travel radiology technician roles, the average weekly salary jumps to $3,244 per week or about $81.10 per hour in a 40-hour workweek. Travel radiology technicians in Texas earned $2,628 per week, or about $65.70 hourly, compared to an average of $27.71 per hour for staff roles.

Though Florida tends to have lower average salaries than Texas and California, accepting a travel radiology technician job in the Sunshine State can be lucrative. Radiology technician jobs in Florida paid an average of $62, compared to the hourly $26.65 rate for staff technicians.

Work in Underserved Areas

Medically underserved areas of the country receive the medically underserved area (MUA) classification because they meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • High poverty rate
  • Large number of elderly residents
  • High infant mortality rate
  • Shortage of primary care providers

California, Texas and Illinois have the highest number of MUA designations in the country. It’s often difficult to entice medical professionals to MUAs, so if you’re willing to move to one of these areas or take on a travel job for several months in an MUA, you may qualify for higher starting pay and additional benefits.

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