Radiologist Technician Salary and Occupational Outlook
What is a Radiologist Technician?
A radiologist technician is also called an X-ray technician, radiologic technologist, radiology technician or x-ray tech. One occupation - different names, but the job encompasses all that is related to radiology / X-ray. Radiologist technicians are professionals who are in charge of getting X-rays, MRIs and CT scans for the patient that his/her attending medical doctor prescribed to be done. X-ray techs also have to closely interact with the patients and be able to set up the patient the right way, be ready to know how to perform transfers if necessary to provide the best position for the patient and obtain an accurate result on the X-ray. Yes, it is the doctor who reviews radiological tests and x-rays to set a precise diagnosis of internal bleeding, broken bone, etc, a radiology technologist has to know what is required to take the necessary and accurate image of the patient's body area at a right angle/angles to see a disorder properly.
Professionals in this field do not share their thoughts about diagnoses with the patients - it's the patient's doctor who makes a diagnosis. But instead they provide written reports to accompany x-ray results. These reports help doctors to make a correct diagnosis and treat the patient.
It is since the invention of X-ray that x-ray technicians are present. The equipment radiologist technicians are working with is usually very big in size and requires to be placed in a separate part of the clinic or hospital. Besides, because of radiation and x-rays, the walls of the room where the x-ray equipment is placed are lined with lead or some other material that takes up the x-ray beams when x-ray is used. Mobile units that X-ray technicians also have are used when a patient is not able to get to the radiology department. A mobile unit is a big van where radiology and X-ray equipment is placed.
Why Choose Radiologist Technician Career?
Being a radiologist technician means that you are in a medical career - one of the few not affected by the economy, different economic collapses or crises. Medical and health related professions are always necessary for the society, so you will always be able to find an appropriate job. Every hospital should have an x-ray department; thereby a radiologist technician is required there. As a rule, clinics also have a radiology department and mobile units that go around from one facility to another, wherever there is a need in them; all this also requires specialists to work with radiologist equipment. So, the conclusion is: as long as physicians require x-rays, computer tomography scans, magnetic resonance imaging to diagnose and treat people, there will also be a need for a radiologist technician.
Radiologist Technician Salary - How Much Are You Able to Earn Being a Radiologist Technician?
Factors that Influence Radiologist Technician Salary
The following information on radiologist technician salary will be useful for you, but keep in mind that the answer to the question how much you will earn as a radiologist technician depends on how you will negotiate your salary with the employer. An x-ray technician salary depends on a number of factors, one of which is location and state you are going to work. Different parts of the country have different salary ranges. It's also the standard of living in the state you will be working that influences your radiologist technician salary - some states will provide you with the most of your radiology technician salary. The setting you've chosen is an important factor as well; you will get the highest amount working as a traveling radiologist technician. Being among the hospital staff generally means a medial salary range. Experience as an x-ray technician and tenureship in clinics has an effect on your salary as well. The more experience, certifications and credentials, the higher salary you can negotiate.
As a matter of fact, radiologist technicians have one of the highest starting salaries of all vocational careers. Another advantage of this profession is great opportunities it offers for advancement within the field because of numerous disciplines within medical radiology in which you can specialize as a professional.
The starting average salary for a radiologist technician makes $39,600 per year. Possessing just an Associate's degree gives you the potential to earn about $75,400 per year. Our Salary.com survey says that nowadays about 80% of working radiologist technologists are with an Associate's degree. Only 17% of radiologist technicians possess a Bachelor's degree.
Your salary also depends on the local community you will work for. Urban based clinics and hospitals are more likely to offer higher salaries than remote and rurally-based ones. In addition to salary, insurance benefits are often given.
Radiologist Technician Salary by State
The table below graphically demonstrates average salaries for radiologic technicians in each state. The salary can also vary depending on the prestige and size of a clinic or a hospital.
*data from Salary.com and Indeed.com
Mississippi, West Virginia, New York and Wyoming are states offering the highest radiologist technician salary, the average one being between $67,000 and $76,000 per year. The highest concentration of specialists in the profession is in the following states: West Virginia, South Dakota, Rhode Island, Kentucky and Tennessee. One of the highest paying industries for professionals in radiology is specialty hospitals and centers, e.g. cancer treatment centers.
The medial range for a radiologist technician salary is about $ 53,000 annually (*as of September, 8, 2012; the data from Indeed.com), but you can also get a side job in another hospital or clinic and earn more. Another variant to get to know the ongoing wages rate at your location is to ask your acquaintance x-ray technicians. Of course, they won't tell you the amount they earn, but they can share a range with you so that when you apply for an x-ray tech job, you will have a set figure in your mind besides a general idea of how much to negotiate with the employer.
Different states and different cities and towns even within the same state can offer their own wages rates. The smaller the city, generally the higher the salary in comparison with a big city. The reason for this is that you can bargain in negotiating the salary higher than usual, and as rule you will get it just because the employer needs the job position to be filled.
To compare, hospitals in big cities possess a middle or lower range on the pay scale. There are a lot of radiologist technicians eager to live and work in big cities, so the competition is quite strong. Another reason is experience, most x-ray technicians want to work for experience and high technology equipment that they have. The more different types of x-ray and radiology equipment the hospital has, the better for an x-ray technician, who gets much experience working with different machines.
Radiologist Technician Job Availability and Advancement Potential
Nowadays there are about 215,000 x-ray technicians in the USA, and it is expected that in the following 10 years approximately 68 000 jobs in the field are going to open.
Speaking about advancement potential of the job, some words about education should be mentioned. It's the American Registry of Radiological Technologists (ARRT) that the radiologist technicians certify with through a university or college that sponsors their certifications. Every two years recertification with the ARRT is required; to get it it's necessary to complete 24 continuing education credits. Recertification is necessary because of quick steps of technology development. New and more accurate radiology equipment appears, and professionals have to know how to work with it. As a rule, many hospitals pay for all or a part of the radiologist technician recertification requirements. If you are good at Math, Chemistry, Biology and Physics, you will succeed in this career.
An individual can be a specialist in this field if he gets certification in a specific discipline like a mammography technician or a medical sonographer (known as an ultrasound technician as well).
Other specialists in this field are cardiovascular technologists. They administer tests such as fluoroscopies or barium swallows which mean that non-radioactive materials are put into a patient's bloodstream or digestive tract to diagnose him. Cardiovascular technologists are professionals who take pictures of the heart using the above mentioned method.
Another specialization involves technologists who perform computer tomography scans (CT scans). CT scans produce a number of cross-sectional x-rays of the diagnosed area of a human body. Computer tomographers, who are professionally trained technologists, make a 3D image from these shots.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging technologists (MRI technologists) make multiple 2D shots of the diagnosed body area. Combined, the shots create a 3D image. MRIs are different from CT scans as the latter use ionizing radiation, while the former apply non-ionizing radio frequency.
Professionals in this career are usually called radiologist technicians if they work with x-ray equipment; radiology technologists are individuals who work with other equipment like mammography, magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography. Radiology is quite a flexible profession, so diversity in different radiology specializations will give you more chances to get a rewarding job.
Experts in this field typically reach the highest salary potential by their mid-career. But quick development of sciences and technologies allows additional opportunities for further career development and education.