What is a Radiologic Technologist

A radiologic technologist (also known as Radiology Technician and X-ray Technician) obtains x-ray images of patients’ organs and other body parts. Doctors interpret the images to determine the cause and extent of illnesses, diseases, disorders, and injuries. Technologist explain diagnostic procedures and answer patients’ questions. They position patients on examining tables, and place lead aprons over portions of the body to limit radiation exposure.

Technologists, who work under the supervision of physicians, also are sometimes called upon to administer injections of substances that sharpen the images being filmed. They are responsible for maintaining diagnostic equipment and maintaining patients’ records. For more on job duties, please visit our radiology technician job description page.

Work Environment

Majority of radiologic technologists work in hospitals and physician offices. In fact, over 61% of individuals in this field work in private and state owned hospitals. Some may also work in outpatient clinics, federal government, and laboratories. In any case, radiologic technologists always work alongside of radiologists or other physicians as their main role is to provide diagnostic images to the doctor in charge, hence facilitating the prompt diagnosis and treatment of the diseased/injured patient.

Work Schedule

Radiologic technologist work full time and often at any times of the week. Some may work part time or between different hospitals and clinics. Those individuals working in hospitals tend to work more nights and weekends, while those working in physician offices working according to the business hour of the clinic.

Mean Annual Radiologic Technologist Salary

The mean annual radiologic technologist salary is $56,450. The mean salary is calculated by adding all the wages within the occupation and divid that value by the total number of employees. Lowest 10% of this occupation makes less than $37,060 and the top 10% makes over $77,160.

Radiologic Technologist Salary: Quick Summary

2012 Mean Salary$56,450 per year
$27.14 per hour
Top 10% Salary$77,160 per year
$37.10 per hour
Bottom 10% Salary$37,060 per year
$17.82 per hour
Number of Jobs, 2012194,790

Radiologic Technologist Job Outlook and Prospects

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that the number of radiology technician positions will increase 21 percent from 2012 to 2022. That would about twice the percentage of job growth in the average occupation. Private medical practices are expected to increase hiring at the greatest rate.

The growing population in general, and the increasing number of senior citizens in particular, are creating additional opportunities in the field. As more people obtain health insurance, there is likely to be greater demand for preventive care and early detection of diseases. A recent report noted that nearly one-third of radiology technicians were 56 years of age or older, indicating that many job openings are imminent.

Radiologic Technologist Salary: Factors of Influence

Radiologic technologist salary is quite comfortable as they are well-paid for the services they provide, with the average annual salary resting at $56,450. Many positions are indeed centered around this number, but factors such as experience, industry, and geographic location can all contribute to improvements in radiologic technologist salary.

The lowest 10 percent of radiologic technologist are paid well below the average, making $37,060. However, the highest 10 percent are conversely well above the average, making $77,160. A $20,000 difference from the mean suggests a large variety of potential salaries, with the above-mentioned factors being the primary contributors.

Education and Specialization

High school students considering careers in radiology, or any other medical profession, are advised to take classes in biology, chemistry, math, and physics.

Successful completion of a certificate program in radiologic technology is sufficient to qualify for some entry-level technician jobs. Colleges and universities, community colleges and technical schools, and some hospitals offer such programs. They also are available online.

Most students pursue two-year associate’s degrees, which make them more attractive to employers. These programs are commonly found at community colleges. Larger colleges and universities offer four-year bachelor’s degree programs in radiologic technology. Students take courses in anatomy, physiology, radiation protection, patient positioning, radiobiology, medical terminology, and patient care. They also gain clinical experience that includes assisting patients. Recommended degree programs are those accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT).

In most states, a license is required to work as a radiologic technologist. This entails showing evidence of having received the appropriate education, and passing a written test. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) created the exam that is most commonly administered. The ARRT also provides professional certification for technicians. This involves passing another exam.

Radiologic technologists who specialize in more than one area get some of the most desirable jobs. The field’s major specialties are commuted tomography (CT) scanning, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and mammography. Some technologists concentrate on obtaining images of the brain, heart, musculoskeletal system, or other parts of the body.

A technician may earn a promotion to radiology technologist by obtaining continuing education and additional on-the-job training. A master’s degree in business or health administration can help qualify a professional for a supervisory or administrative position.


About 61 percent of radiologic technologists are employed in hospitals. Their salaries are usually a bit lower than those who work in medical and diagnostic laboratories. However, hospitals tend to pay more than the other common employers of these practitioners (clinics, doctors’ offices, imaging service centers, and outpatient care facilities). Some technologists use their education and training to become teachers or sales representatives.


Southern states are projected to feature the largest increase in positions for radiology technologists in the next few years. The Northeast is expected to have the slowest job-growth rate.

The places with the highest average salaries for technologists, according to a recent survey, were Massachusetts, $82,080; California, $70,590; Alaska, $67,980; the District of Columbia, $67,500; and Hawaii, $66,610. It should be pointed out that the cost of living is relatively high in some of these locations.

Radiologic Technologist Salary: Top 5

Top Paying Metropolitan AreasTop Paying StatesTop Paying IndustriesStates with Highest Employment Level
Napa, CA: $89,410Massachusetts: $82,080Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools: $66,810California: (14,820 jobs) $70,590
Oakland, CA: $88,590California: $70,590Scientific Research and Development Services: $61,570Texas: (12,790 jobs) $52,660
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA: $88,160Alaska: $67,980Specialty Hospitals: $61,410New York: (12,210 jobs) $64,290
Sumter, SC: $85,020District of Columbia: $67,500Insurance Carriers: $61,130Florida: (11,650 jobs) $51,380
San Jose, CA: $84,530Hawaii: $66,610Employment Services: $61,090Pennsylvania: (9,600 jobs) $52,970

Radiologic Technologist salary state by state