A Radiology and X Ray Technician’s Salary & Benefits- An Inside Look
For many people, the best part about finishing your degree in medical imaging isn’t that you’re done with schooling or that you get to start your career in an amazing field – it’s the fact that you’re finally going to be receiving money instead of spending it. Radiologic technicians have the opportunity to make excellent salaries and receive fantastic benefits. This would be wonderful news for anyone, but it’s especially welcome at a time when the economy isn’t doing so well. Since the odds are that you will be working at a physician’s office or hospital, you may have the opportunity to get in on a great group health insurance plan. Other perks of the job may include life insurance, 401k plans, vacation days and sick days. Many employers offer flexible schedules or allow employees to work part-time, which means that you can actually manage to pull off having a life while working at the same time.
Many things can affect your salary. For example, if you specialize in one or more medical imaging fields, it may make you a more valuable employee. Some areas of specialty include bone densitometry, cardiovascular interventional radiology, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, mammography, nuclear medicine, x-rays, ultrasound, radiation therapy and quality management. Other factors that can affect your salary include where your job is located, the cost of living in your city, who your employer is, how well your employer’s business is doing, your level of experience and where you went to school.
There are several ways to become a radiologic technician, and the choices you make in your education and training can affect how much you will eventually be paid. Some students get into the field by enrolling in two-year programs based out of hospitals. Others take two-year programs at technical schools or colleges and get associate degrees. Many students attend four-year programs at universities and earn bachelor’s degrees. There are approximately 1,000 accredited programs in the United States, so you have plenty of choices when it comes to selecting your program. Although it was once acceptable to have a certificate instead of an associate degree, by 2015, you need to have a minimum of an associate degree if you want to get certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).
If you think the tests are over once you’ve graduated, you would be wrong; after graduation, you’ll probably need to prepare for the certification examination given by the ARRT. It’s important to understand that although the ARRT certification is not mandatory, it is highly recommended for several reasons. Many states have licensing requirements, and frequently, the states base their licensing requirements on scores from the ARRT certification examination. Once you have passed the certification examination, you will be certified. To maintain that certification, you will need to take continuing education courses throughout your career. Being certified may cost additional money, but it’s a worthwhile investment that should raise your earning potential.
In 2010, the American Society of Radiologic Technologists did a survey that revealed that the average salary for an entry level radiologic technician was $44,500. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that the median annual salary for radiologic technicians in 2008 was $52,210 with the middle 50 percent earning anywhere between $42,710 and $63,010. A talented radiologic technician with experience can earn anywhere from $65,000 to $85,000.
In addition to a great salary, you can look forward to job security. In 2008, 214,700 people were working as radiologic technicians. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by 2018, the number of jobs will grow to 51,700, which is a 17 percent increase. This increase is faster than average; most other jobs don’t have such a fast growth rate. One reason why this field is expected to rapidly grow is the baby boomer population. With so many people getting older all at once, the incidence of illness and injury will increase; this, in turn, will increase the need for medical imaging. Insurance companies are starting to appreciate medical imaging more than ever as medical imaging can be used to detect diseases earlier, which tends to result in lower treatment costs in the long run. In addition, medical imaging is becoming more and more widely used in treating diseases and surgeries.
When you take into consideration the salary, benefits and job security, it becomes clear that you can have a lucrative and rewarding career as a radiologic technician. With 1,000 programs in the United States to choose from and scholarship opportunities through American Society of Radiologic Technologists Education and Research Foundation, there shouldn’t be anything stopping you from starting your new career.