What is a X-ray technician

An x-ray technician (also known as Radiologic Technologist or Radiology Technician) is someone that operates diagnostic imaging on patients using devices such as an x-ray, CT scanner, or MRI. These images are then communicated to the patient’s physician for the purposes of diagnosis of the ailment under consideration. For more on job duties, please visit our radiology technician job description page.

Work Environment

As most x-ray technicians tend to work in health care facilities, their work environments are clean, well-lit areas. They do a great deal of work with people, making sure patients are comfortable and that they understand the procedure being performed, so x-ray technicians must have good communication skills.

While the work does involve a large amount of radiation, x-ray technicians will typically be protected from this; much of the work is done in a separate room from the imager, and the equipment is generally non-functioning when the technician is working with the patient.

Work Schedule

X-ray technicians tend to work a forty-hour work week, however this can fluctuate greatly with emergency situations. As they may be needed at any time, the technician may need to work evenings or weekends, and will be required to be on call. 

Mean Annual X-ray Technician Salary

The average x-ray technician in US makes $56,450. Lowest 10% of this occupation makes less than $37,060 and the top 10% makes over $77,160.

X-ray Technician 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

Job Outlook

There is a very promising job outlook for x-ray technicians, with an expected 21 percent growth between 2012 and 2022. This is faster than most occupations. The expected increase in medical conditions that will come with an aging population will require more x-ray technicians; breaks or fractures due to aging bones, osteoporosis, and other such afflictions of the elderly will mean more x-rays, and thus more technicians.

Salary Analysis

X-ray technician are well compensated 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 annual income.

The lowest 10 percent of x-ray technicians are paid well below the average, making $37,060. However, the highest 10 percent can make over $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 

X-ray technicians tend to require an associate’s degree. Beyond this, there are few other educational requirements or benefits to speak of, and the technician is better served by experience than education when considering salary.

Specialization, however, is a factor to contemplate. Many x-ray technicians train as MRI technologists as well, and can see great financial gains; more versatility on the job, and a greater responsibility in the work place, will lead to salary increases.

In some states, licensing or certification is required; for those states where there is no such requirement, licensing and certification can be a further means of seeing wage increases, as you become more desirable a candidate with a proven knowledge base.

Experience and Position 

Experience and position are two potential methods to improve one’s salary. Experience, as in every occupation, brings commensurate wage increases, making one both knowledgeable and more trusted in the field. When one has achieved a particular level of experience, they can be a more desirable candidate for a higher position, heading a department or managing newer technicians. Positions of responsibility will bring salary raises.


Many medical-related industries for x-ray technicians tend to have average wages around the $56,000 range, however if one works in a specialty hospital, they can expect a wage of $61,410. Insurance carriers and employment services are also in the low $61,000 area. Scientific research and development services offer a mean of $61,570. Colleges, universities, and professional schools, however, are the most lucrative industries, offering an average wage of $66,810, more than $10,000 above the national average salary.


While most of the lowest-paying states offer around $45,000, the highest-paying are above $60,000. Alaska and the District of Columbia, for example, offer wages above $67,000. California’s salaries are around $70,590. Massachusetts, however, is the best state for x-ray technician salary, offering an annual mean of $82,080.

Looking at metropolitan areas, 9 out of the 10 highest-paid areas are in California, the only exception being Sumter, South Carolina, in fourth place at $85,020. Napa, California, however, holds the top spot, at $89,410.

X-ray Technician 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

x-ray technician salary state by state