Becoming a radiology technician is an increasingly popular career choice due to the expanding market and respectable salary potential. While the average x ray tech salary is on the rise, there are a few things to keep in mind if you want to be a top earner in the field.
1. Location, Location, Location
Are you willing to relocate? There are several location-based factors that contribute to how much a technician could potentially earn. Those who work in major metropolitan areas typically earn a higher salary to account for a higher cost of living. For instance, in the Washington, DC area, the average x ray tech salary was around $63,000 a year and techs in the Boston area pulled in $66,000. However, big cities aren’t always the best place to look for a higher salary. Sometimes, rural areas will offer a higher wage to attract talent from other states. In North Dakota, a technician can make around $62,000 a year and enjoy a lower cost of living.
2. Experience and Certification
Wages will rise as techs gain more experience and trust. Many technicians will pursue advanced certification, getting certified in ultrasound technology as well as radiological imaging, for example. While most techs enter the field with an Associate of Applied Science degree, many will go on to pursue a bachelor’s degree later on in their career.
Specializing in a particular area of the field can make you a sought after commodity in the world of medical imaging. For instance, MRI technicians are needed in every state to meet a growing patient demand. As technology improves, this imaging equipment will be used to detect even more medical conditions. Even today, MRI technology can be used to spot and diagnose medical conditions that will not show up on a conventional x ray device.
4. Abandon Your Comfort Zone
If you want a higher x ray tech salary right out of the gate, consider abandoning the 9-5 routine. Hospitals always need a technician on duty during all hours of the day and working the overnight shift usually comes with a bump in salary as incentive to get people on that shift.
5. Think Outside the Hospital
While most technicians work in hospitals, more openings are becoming available in non-traditional areas. For instance, the United Stated government needs radiology technicians to operate security imaging equipment. More private clinics and medical imaging centers are hiring techs due to a shift toward outpatient care.
Other Career Considerations
Choosing the right school is an imperative aspect when considering a career in radiology. Make sure the school you apply to is accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology. This designation is recognized by most medical employers in the country and adds credibility to any degree program.
Also, you’ll want to take advantage of any job placement or career services programs offered through the school you choose to attend. Even having someone proof read your resume and make suggestion will be an asset when it is time to begin the all-important job search.