Between 2010 and 2018, employment opportunities for radiology techs are expected to increase by 17 percent. Radiology technicians, radiologists and radiology technologists represent a range of specialties with varying degrees of education, responsibility and salary expectations.
Radiology technicians (often called X-ray technicians) are trained to operate X-ray equipment at the direction of a doctor. One to two years of trade school trains the technician to operate various models of X-ray equipment as well as how to position patients for the clearest image. They do not interpret results or give diagnoses. Radiology technologists require two to four years of training, which includes more extensive courses in biology, anatomy and physics. Licensing requirements vary by state. Typically a technologist is a manager who supervises technicians. A position as a radiologist requires the most extensive training and commands the highest average salary. Radiologists interpret X-rays and give diagnoses. They may also preform other X-ray-related procedures such as CT scans, mammograms and ultrasounds.
Location: X-Ray technicians in San Diego, Calif., earn the highest average salary at around $43,000. A radiology technologist in the same city can make as much as $67,200. San Jose, Calif., offers the best average salary expectations for radiologists, with a top pay of $300,000.**
Average salary: An X-ray technician can expect to make an average salary of $26,000 - $37,000, with a high-end average salary as high as $41,280.** For a radiology technologist, the average pay ranges from $37,497 - $52,763. A radiologist can expect an average salary of $42,995 - $197,882, depending on specialty, years of experience and location, with a high-end average salary expectation of $315,716 by specializing in diagnostic radiology.
Tips for advancement: Radiology is a flexible field that offers many opportunities for advancement. The fastest way to increase earnings potential is to further your education. The more skilled and specialized a job candidate is, the better the compensation package that will be offered. According to the BLS, larger companies employing more people tend to offer a higher average salary. Joining a professional organization can give job candidates a chance to keep up on industry trends.
Perks: Medical benefits are almost always offered. Additional compensation is often in the form of retirement benefits and paid holiday and vacation leave. Radiology jobs range from on-call positions in hospital emergency rooms to hourly jobs with private labs, offering flexible working hours.
Tips for landing a raise: Know your worth. Using a salary calculator, you can determine the average salary for comparable positions in your area.
With the industry growing fast and qualified, experienced radiologists in demand, it pays to be aware of the offerings in your field. Finally, remember that a larger company such as a hospital, or a private clinic with more upscale clientele, is likely to offer a higher compensation rate.