The field of radiologic technology (also known as x-ray technology) is projected to grow 17% and faster than the national average rate through 2018, to support America's aging population's health needs.
Starting salary range
Starting x-ray technician salaries range from $10.34/hour (West Virginia) to $19.35/hour (Massachusetts)*
An x-ray technician's median salary is $47,909 and maximum x-ray technician salaries top out at over $57,000**. Larger institutions tend to pay more than smaller practices, according to Payscale's Median Salary by Company Size Charts.
Opportunities for advancement
X-ray technicians can advance by specializing in multiple areas including CT scanning, MR, mammography. and bone densitometry. They can also advance through additional training and earning certifications to radiological assistant. Some may advance to supervisory or managerial roles through experience or by earning an MBA or MHA to advance more quickly. A few x-ray technicians advance by moving to medical equipment companies. Others advance by teaching in radiologic technology curriculum. X-ray technicians with a few years of experience can consult or contract. Some will consult or contract full time, while others pick up additional shifts as supplemental income. Typically hourly consulting/contracting can be higher paying alternatives, though those options often don't include benefits.
Benefits and perks
Health care, paid time off, pension, education reimbursement, sick days, insurance, bonus, and taxes increase the total compensation package by an average 30%**, bringing the median total x-ray technician compensation to $68,396.
Salary negotiation tips
Negotiating salary can be tricky. Large institutions (hospitals, government health agencies, or private companies), typically set up a salary range (or salary band), so the organization will have a little room to move on salaries (about 5-10%). Smaller organizations are less likely to have as much wiggle room on salary. Either way, don't expect an employer to give you a higher salary just because you ask. Instead, prepare a well documented justification and stay within the organization's salary range for the specific position so you'll have a good chance at getting the salary increase you're targeting.
Your greatest ability to negotiate salary is when you have options. Interview with a number of hospitals, private practices, federal/state/local government health agencies, universities, Veterans Administration, and private companies. In addition, do your homework – get salary information from AOL Jobs Salary Center or from staffing and recruiting firms in your industry. Sometimes just having research on average salaries for your local market may provide rationale for a higher salary.
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* According to www.payscale.com.
** According to www.salary.com