Is the radiologist technician salary enough to entice you to pursue a career in this allied medical health field? What determines the pay you receive in an industry that continuously needs more professionals?
Advancements in technology have made it possible for more means to diagnose ailments and disease, including the use of radiology equipment for x-rays, CT scans, ultrasounds and MRIs. Radiographers or radiologic technologists are in demand because not only are their services needed in hospitals but even community clinics and private medical centers, convalescent homes and dental offices are also in short supply of these professionals.
It’s a demanding career but one of the higher earning ones in the allied health care field. However, your pay will still be determined by factors that employers put a premium on, and the kind of establishment you will be working in.
Level of education
Unlike some allied health services, you can only qualify to be a radiology technician or radiographer with formal education. You can choose the quickest way, which is a certificate program that is often offered in community, technical or vocational schools for a period of one year.
Your training, depending on the institution where you enroll, will provide you with the necessary skills and technical know-how enough to be accepted for entry-level positions.
Your prospective employer assumes you have taken up the prerequisite courses including:
1. Medical Terminology
2. Introduction to Physics
3. Human Anatomy and Physiology
4. Structure and Function of the Body
5. Diagnostic Imaging Research
6. Introduction to Radiologic Technology
7. Radiographic Positioning
8. Fluoroscopy Imaging
Technical knowledge is important, but more crucial is the actual training you receive to make you proficient in the use of sophisticated and sensitive imaging equipment. The more hours you were given for internship, the more confident you will end up at the workplace. Skill and competence are important criteria in determining the radiologist technician salary.
If youire aiming for a technician salary higher than the lowest level of $30,000 and below, then you better arm yourself with an associate degree or even better, a bachelor degree. Think about it: a bigger investment in education will yield more gains at work. Employers know you have more training and will pay more for your services.
Another advantage if you have more comprehensive training? You get a crack at advancement faster than those just holding certificates given the same amount of experience. If you’re a senior x-ray technician or chief of the department, the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists says you can be making upwards of $90,000.
Certification qualifies you; a license gives you the edge
Once you’ve completed your education whether it’s a certificate program or an associate’s or bachelor’s degree and you will need certification before you can be employed.
Tip No. 1: You must have studied radiology classes at a school accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology to qualify for certification.
Tip No. 2: In the case of the radiologic technologist, certification is not the same as licensure. In the United States, only 38 states mandate radiographers to be licensed. But most, if not all, employers prefer these technicians to be certified. Why? It’s their way of ensuring you know what you’re doing especially because the job entails working with sensitive equipment that will be used directly on people.
Complying with the minimum requirement of certification means you can do the job. A license is a stamp of approval that youive been trained well and are qualified to be more than just a technician. You most likely know how to operate more than just one type of imaging equipment increasing your level of skill and competency and correspondingly, your radiologist technician salary. The median radiology tech salary is $58,065.
Where you work matters
Hospitals remain the biggest employers of graduates of a radiology tech program offered by any accredited radiology technician schools. But itis not your only option for employment opportunities. Many community health centers, doctoris offices and diagnostic laboratories have a need for x-ray technicians. However, they will most likely offer lower wages than hospitals. The usual salary range for this position is between $15.09 and $25.61 per hour, and varies depending on your actual workplace.
Location, too, is often a factor in wage rates. More developed cities will have higher wages, and salaries also differ depending on which you state you work in.
Experience spells the difference
In any career, your chances for advancement will depend on two factors: education and experience. Beyond the training you completed to qualify for the position, continuing education is necessary especially in a field that evolves quickly such as medicine and technology. Employers often find it in their best interest to spend for advance or continuing education of their staff because the institution ultimately benefits from this.
Experience is something you build over time. The work of a radiologist technician can be very stressful, requiring you to be on your feet for long periods of time, manipulating equipment that requires dexterity and skill and having to deal with patients who are likely uncomfortable and in pain. And working with radiation equipment also exposes you to certain health risks, even minimally. Still, if you can adjust to these conditions in the workplace you gain invaluable experience that prepares you for more responsibilities, especially if you have leadership or administrative abilities.
No one gets to a position of leadership without the experience. Once you achieve this, your radiologist salary range goes up to the next levels. It’s your attitude towards work that will also serve as ticket to earning a higher salary should you decide to pursue this field.
Still, even with less than two years of experience, you can be earning around $36,918 on the national level. Not bad for an entry level radiologist technician salary.