Radiology technology is a growing, evolving field vital to the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. Radiology technicians, also known as x-ray technicians or x-ray techs, are trained in operating specialized equipment to take diagnostic images.
X-ray techs are important allied health professionals who collaborate with radiologists, surgeons, and other healthcare providers in various specialties. As healthcare technology advances, so will the demand for experienced professionals, resulting in a competitive increase in x-ray tech salaries.
The primary job of x-ray techs includes taking images of different body parts to assist with diagnosing and treating an injury or illness. They are responsible for the following duties:
According to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report, the median yearly salary for x-ray techs is $61,980, or slightly under $30 per hour. A more recent statistic from ZipRecruiter indicates this has decreased in 2023, with an average annual salary of $54,809.
Here are the top five paying states for x-ray technicians according to ZipRecruiter.
ZipRecruiter also reports the highest-paying cities for x-ray technicians, making narrowing your search easier. Although California didn’t make the list of the top five paying states (they are almost halfway down the list!), cities located there dominate.
All information is accurate as of 01/26/2023.
As always, when job-hunting, keep in mind the cost of living. While Tennessee and Hawaii top the list as the highest-paying states, the cost of living between these two states couldn’t be more different.
Like all fields in healthcare, contracted staff get paid significantly more than permanent staff. According to ZipRecruiter, the job title of “Travel X-Ray Technologist” averages an annual salary of $97,697. A nearly $30,000 difference from the annual salary of the highest paying city for a permanent x-ray tech. With premium pay rates, travel opportunities come with flexibility, exploring new locations, and a resume that will impress any hiring manager if you choose to return to a permanent position.
Location, setting, demand, experience, and education all influence pay. Southern states frequently have lower wages for medical workers. This is true with x-ray techs, as the lowest paying state is Georgia at $38,794, North Carolina at $40,976, and Florida at $41,167.
The BLS predicts that x-ray tech positions will experience a 6% increase in employment over the current decade, bringing approximately 16,600 jobs per year to the healthcare field in the U.S. The more demand for a job, the more competitive pay becomes. As our population ages, chronic diseases will rise, creating a need for x-rays, CT scans, mammograms, and more for the detection of cancer, autoimmune diseases, strokes, and arthritis, not to mention the assessment of falls and injuries.
X-ray techs can find employment in various healthcare facilities. According to the BLS, hospitals are the largest employer, with 58% of x-ray tech jobs. Hospitals are more likely to employ a wide range of x-ray techs (from entry-level to experienced), so there is a broader salary range.
Other potential work settings include:
To become an x-ray tech, the minimum education required is an associate’s degree in radiology from an accredited program, which takes approximately two years to obtain. There are options to pursue higher education, such as a bachelor’s or master’s degree, which usually incorporates more advanced imaging techniques. Some programs may require you to complete an internship, which gives you additional on-the-job training. Students must then pass their state’s certification exam. Advances in education will translate to higher pay rates.
Years of hands-on experience are invaluable to an employer. For example, x-ray techs often work with patients who have mobility challenges due to an injury or illness, so they must possess impressive communication skills, compassion, and knowledge to prepare patients and position them to capture images while keeping them safe. Always highlight your experience when negotiating for an increased salary.
X-ray technicians may choose to specialize in a specific setting or type of imaging which could offer pay advances. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) offers credentials in the following pathways:
To become an x-ray tech, you should have a minimum of an associate’s degree in radiology and pass your state’s radiology licensure exam.
As of 2023, the average salary of an x-ray tech in the United States is $54,809.
X-ray techs receive standard benefits like vacation time, bonuses, health insurance, paid sick leave, and a retirement savings package.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), radiation therapy, mammography, nuclear medicine, and cardiovascular radiology are all areas that are similar to x-ray technology.
If you’re an x-ray technician with at least 12 months of job experience and are ready for the adventure of travel with pay listed at over $2,000/per week, sign up on the AdvantisConnect job portal to start browsing x-ray tech jobs.