X-Ray Technician Careers


An x-ray technician takes radiographs of the human body in order to aid in medical diagnosis. He/she also helps patients prepare for x-ray procedures, maintains x-ray equipment, and keeps and maintains examination and equipment usage records. In order to become an x-ray technician, an individual must complete an approved course of academic study, pass a certification exam, and register in the state that he/she intends to practice his/her new trade in. Once someone becomes an x-ray technician, the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists requires 24 hours of continuing medical education to re-certify in the field.

How to Become an X-Ray Technician

Step 1 – Apply for an approved academic program. X-ray technicians must first complete an accredited and approved radiography program at one of more than 600 academic institutions in the United States. The length of training ranges from the radiography certificate to an associates or bachelors degree in radiography. These programs combine coursework with laboratory and clinical practice under a licensed specialist. Classwork focuses on radiation safety, physiology, medical terminology, anatomy, and pathology.

Step 2 – Pass a certifying exam. The certifying exam cannot be taken until an approved course of study has been completed. The certifying exam is a test provided to ensure that the prospective technician meets the minimum standards of practice as an x-ray technician. Many certificate and associates degree programs help students prepare for the exam. However, each program is slightly different.

Step 3 – Obtain an x-ray technician license. Most states require annual registration or licensing renewal. The licensing requirements vary by state and normally require a technician licensed in one state to apply in another. Continuing education requirements are normally verified when technicians renew their license.

Step 4 – Specialize in a field. X-ray technicians who want to have more employment opportunities can specialize in branches of radiography. These areas include magnetic resonance, CT scanning, and mammography. In order to specialize, the prospective technician must do additional coursework and gain practical experience in addition to the basic education program requirements for an x-ray technician.

Step 5 – Plan for career advancement. X-ray technicians advance in their fields through job experience and advancing their education by taking online or night classes outside of work. Positions as radiologist assistants or radiology practitioner assistants can be obtained in this manner.

X-Ray Technician Salary

X Ray technicians are medical professionals who are responsible for creating medical images needed for the proper diagnosis of patients. They are also in-charge of maintaining the supplies and equipment needed for demonstrating human body parts on X-ray films. They are usually employed in clinics, medical laboratories, hospitals and nursing homes. They specialize in different fields like diagnostic radiography and mammography. Know more about them by learning the usual salaries that they receive.

Annual Salaries of Xray Technicians Based on Length of Service

New-entry xray technicians usually get an annual income of $29,000 to $45,000 while those who already worked for a year to four years receive $29,000 to $46,000 a year. On the other hand, technicians who work for 5 years to 9 years are paid $30,000 to $48,000. Professionals who work as xray technicians for 10 years to 19 years get a yearly pay of $38,000 to $51,000 and those who are employed for at least 20 years receive compensation packages amounting to $41,000 to $60,000.

Annual Salaries of Xray Technicians Based on Type of Employment

Xray technicians who are recruited by companies usually get an annual pay of $36,000 to $58,000. On the other hand, those who are employed by hospitals receive a yearly income of $31,000 to $51,000. Lastly, technicians who work for federal governmental agencies are paid $28,000 to $40,000 a year.

Annual Salaries of Xray Technicians Based on Gender

Aside from length of service and employer type, gender is another factor that affects the compensation packages offered to xray technicians. The salaries of female technicians are higher than male technicians. They receive $31,000 to $55,000 while male xray technicians get $29,000 to $45,000 a year.

Annual Salaries of Xray Technicians Based on Hospital Setting

Most xray technicians work at medical establishments. The setting of an establishment affects the salaries that are offered to them. For instance, technicians who are recruited by general hospitals get an annual pay of $32,000 to $54,000. On the other hand, those who are employed at physicians’ offices usually receive a yearly income of $29,000 to $40,000.

Hourly Rates of Xray Technicians

Another way of looking at the salaries of xray technicians is through hourly rates. The hourly rate of technicians who work at hospitals ranges from $16 to $25 while those who are employed at private office have an hourly rate of $15 to $22. If they are hired by non-profit organizations, they can expect an hourly rate of $16 to $22. Finally, if they are recruited by governmental agencies, the rate is between $17 to $23.

More Points on Xray Technician Salary

X-Ray technicians are medical professionals who are knowledgeable in using radiography to create images of human anatomy. The salaries that they receive depend on several factors such as hospital setting, length of service, employment type and gender. If they want to profit from their profession, it is important that they weigh the pros and cons of job offerings of potential employers. In addition, it is essential that they stay in this profession for at least a decade because the longer they practice the profession, the higher the salaries offered to them.

A basic guide to the highest paying x-ray technician salary and best x-ray technician schools

While a job is not all about the salary, it helps when there are options for possible increases and advancements, and when you need not worry about how much you earn but allows you to concentrate on gaining your professional qualifications, advancing in your field of expertise, and enjoying the fruits of your hard work. For those interested in a career in Radiology, the salary can be quite exceptional, especially after you have built a strong career of experience.

You cannot move into the role of an imaging technician overnight. You will have to spend significant amounts of time going through training as an x-ray tech and qualifying from x-ray technician schools after one, two and four year training alternatives that can lead to certification, associates or degree level qualifications. The higher the level of your qualifications, then the better the quality of positions you will be able to apply for. When this is combined with experience that you will build over time, you will be able to move from relatively simple x-ray tech work to the most highly competitive and resourceful opportunities.

For those who plan their career and are able to meet their short-term and long-term goals, the dedication to becoming a professional in their field will be well rewarded with a good salary.

Growth in requirements

Current trends suggest that the occupation will grow by around 17% by 2018. This means that there will be a shortage of professional x-ray techs for a period of time, and salaries will need to be competitive to attract people to an employer.

Nevertheless, there can be a significant difference in the amount paid for an x-ray technician salary in different states and in different parts of the country. You would naturally expect that salaries for comparative roles would be higher in New York, Washington DC and New Jersey because of the higher costs of living in those areas, but local competition within a city can throw up a disparity of pay scales where there is either a shortage or an adequate supply of available x-ray tech.

Comparing the highest starting salaries for an X-Ray Tech

Currently, the x-ray technician average salary, of an x-ray tech that doesn’t hold certification, can vary between $30,000 and $48,000, but the opportunities for work without certification are greatly reduced and may disappear altogether after rule changes come through in 2015.

After you have become fully certified as an x-ray tech, the starting salary averaging $53,000 is available in Mississippi. The state of New York averages $51,000, whereas Washington DC and Massachusetts begin at $50,000. California drops slightly behind, starting at $47,000, whereas Connecticut, New Jersey, Georgia, Alabama, and Illinois all begin at $46,000.

There is no doubt that these are good starting salaries and might direct where you choose to work.

Comparing qualified technologists

The salary for technologists is much higher than the starting salary for technicians, because the professional has spent more time going through x-ray technician schools to gain a higher degree.

You should also take note that a new certification requirement will begin during 2015, and will ensure that the minimum level for certification will be the associates degree. This means that without certification from the AART (the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists), very few major hospitals or high-quality medical clinics will even consider you for an interview.

At $71,000, Mississippi’s average annual salary for technologist leads the way again followed by New York at $69,000. Massachusetts at $68,000 and Washington DC and $67,000 form the same group of four states paying the highest average salary for this professional work. California at $63,000 is followed by Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Georgia, and Illinois at $62,000.

Apart from annual inflationary increases in salaries, hospitals and other medical facilities will always look towards managing their bottom-line profits. This means that some will be tempted to employ a technologist who can also operate MRIs, CT scans and more, while an x-ray tech is limited to the basic levels of using x-ray equipment, providing more roles for technologists, with increased salaries. By employing the x-ray tech, the medical facility can reduce their overall costs by employing people who can conduct more than one role rather than needing to provide employment opportunities at all levels.

Consider the different salary ranges possible now

Having considered the average rate of an x-ray technician salary, it is also good to review the lowest rate currently available, which is around $42,000. This is a long way from the highest rate of just over $82,000, clearly demonstrating the difference between qualifications and and plain experience.

To compare this fairly with other medical related employment, an Ultrasound Technician Salary can be a low of $41,000, a medium of $68,000 and a top-level of $78,000. A medical assistant will earn as little as $22,000 at the lower end, an average of $26,000 and a salary high of $37,000. A phlebotomist can currently earn from $24,000-$29,000, but averaging at almost $27,000. It is also worth comparing an MRI Technician Salary, or those of other technicians just for your information.

These figures explain why a professional career from an x-ray tech to a technologist can lead to a healthy salary with long-term rewards and a steady career.

Comparing the type of employer

While it is possible to compare the current low, average and high of an x-ray technician salary, you should also be aware that different types of employer also pay variable average salaries. For example an x-ray technician salary working in medical imaging lavatories will average just over $56,000. For a similar position within a hospital, the average is closer to $54,000. Just over $51,000 is the average for outpatient care centers while working in a physician’s office brings in an average of just over $50,000

The salary is only part of your pay

The value to your professional work, after having been through training at your x-ray technician schools , is looking for your first employed position without just considering the base salary of which averages $48,000 across the country. Your salary actually reflects only around 70% of the total value of your work because when you add any bonuses that you may receive, the Social Security and pension benefits, disability and health care coverage and general time off, you can add a further 30% of value to your total compensation package, bringing it closer to $70,000.

The 70% -30% rule applies evenly when you consider higher and lower rates paid in different states for the same work.

Increasing your Salary

You will be able to increase your salary by enrolling in associates or bachelor’s degree programs if you only hold the basic certificates from x ray technician schools. Once you become certified through ARRT, you are able to consider fast track degree programs, so that you can work while you learn, giving you the opportunity to increase your salary dramatically after just a few short years and variable experience using the full range of imaging facilities.


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