UPDATED MAY 28, 2021
Diagnostic medical imaging of the human body is big business and the professionals doing this work are radiologic technologists (often called rad techs). They are earning a top salary and feeling fulfilled helping people overcome illness, pain, or injury. Here are 12 facts to know, from a radiologic technologist’s salary to why rad techs love the role they play in today’s expanding healthcare economy.
12 Key Facts About the Radiologic Technology Career
The following key facts stem from a recent Survey of Radiologic Technologist Salary and Wages, published by the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT), the leading professional association for the diagnostic medical imaging and radiation therapy community.
The results give a true-to-life picture of the rad tech life because the survey includes more than 14,000 responses from rad techs who are active in the profession.
1. Radiologic technologists create images of the human body using specialized medical equipment and these images help physicians diagnose and treat diseases and injuries. Rad techs must ensure patients are in the correct physical position for imaging, perform equipment set-up and testing, introduce patients to the technology, and consult with physicians regarding the images needed for the diagnosis or treatment.
Employers like this versatility and more credentials generally translate into a higher radiologic technologist salary. Once a registered radiologic technologist (RT designation), many rad techs go on to add additional certifications, including MRI, computed tomography (CT), or sonography.
2. The six most common diagnostic medical imaging disciplines were radiography (44.6%), computed tomography (12.5%), mammography (10.5%), radiation therapy (9.5%), magnetic resonance imaging (9.1%), and vascular interventional radiography (3.1%).
3. A radiologic technologist salary can vary greatly due to supply and demand, and the imaging credentials obtained. For a radiologic technologist in the midwestern U.S. with two years or less experience, a typical salary is between $48,175 and $51,763. According to the ASRT report, the U.S. states with the highest median compensation per year were California and Hawaii, which can increase salaries by up to 30%.
4. More than half of all rad techs choose to earn an associate degree (two-year degree). It’s an associate of applied science degree (A.A.S.), which is an two-year degree program where the majority of classes and experiences focus on mastering the knowledge and skills they will use on the job.
5. Regarding continuing education opportunities, more than 41% of respondents said their diagnostic medical imaging employer provides full or partial funding – especially good news for rad techs who want to continue to add to their expertise.
6. The disciplines with the highest reported total compensation, all above $89,100 annually:
– Medical dosimetry (ensuring the radiation dosage recommended has the fewest side effects)
– Registered radiologist assistant (assisting the radiologist in assessing and managing patients)
– Radiation therapy (administering radiation therapy to patients)
7. A radiologic technologist position is most likely to include a retirement plan (73.1% said they do), and the employer paid a certain percentage on behalf of the employee.
In addition to a radiologic technologist salary, employment as a rad tech is likely to include health insurance. Just over 68.4% said they receive either full or partial funding from their employer.
8. Nearly 69% of rad techs received a raise in the past 12 months, averaging about 2.9% per year. Salary budgets are expected to average 3.2% in 2020, according to WorldatWork data.
9. Of the rad techs at work, 77.2% are female, and 21.1% are male, suggesting the growing diagnostic medical imaging field could benefit from more men entering the profession.
Rad techs must ensure patients are in the correct physical position for imaging, perform equipment set-up and testing, introduce patients to the technology, and consult with physicians regarding the images needed for the diagnosis or treatment.
10. The majority of radiologic technologists – 70.4% – have the title of staff technologists, meaning their assignments vary according to employer needs.
About 15% of the rad tech workforce is a Senior or Lead Technologist, which also indicates these rad techs have undertaken supervisory or administrative responsibilities.
11. The survey’s results also show career satisfaction: more than 72% of rad techs were very satisfied, satisfied, or had no issues with their wage and benefits package.
12. Radiologic technology salaries reflect the ability to work in many different settings. Just over 40.5% perform digital imaging at a nonprofit hospital. Another 14.8% work at a for-profit hospital or a hospital system. Other employer settings:
– Outpatient care centers
– Physician group offices
– Private medical labs or testing centers.
Earn a Radiologic Technologist Salary in Two Years at CUKC
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) is a nonprofit, private, healthcare-focused university within the Kansas City metro.
The CUKC Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Radiologic Technology program uses focused, eight-week evening courses to develop deep understanding. Students receive hands-on training and gain experience in the University’s own radiologic equipment rooms, two demonstration suites, and clinical experience at imaging departments in the Kansas City area.
CUKC students complete their radiologic technology degree in just two years. They also don’t have to worry about transferring general education credits from somewhere else – gen eds and other required courses can be earned at CUKC. Do that, meet all other program and University considerations, and you’ll have preferred admission status into the professional radiologic technology coursework.
Classes start twice a year: spring and fall.
Get the data you need to make a satisfying career decision. Learn about the diagnostic medical imaging profession in this free eBook: Your Complete Guide to a Career as a Radiologic Technologist.