How Much Do Radiology Technologists Make?

Radiology technology is a popular field in part because radiographers can earn a good salary without a bachelor’s degree.

technician aligns patient head for imaging

Radiology technologists, who perform diagnostic and in-procedure imaging, work alongside other providers on a healthcare team. They earn a median salary of $61,900, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Overview

Radiology technologists perform medical imaging services for patients who are ill or injured. They take X-rays to start but can earn certifications that will allow them to use other imaging technologies as well.

The top 10% of radiology technologists—also called radiographers, X-ray technicians, and radiologic technologists—earn $92,660 and the bottom 10% earn $42,180.

Salaries vary by state. While these figures can be helpful, keep in mind that the cost of living also varies by location.

Radiologic Technologists and Technicians

National data

Median Salary: $61,900

Bottom 10%: $42,180

Top 10%: $92,660

Projected job growth: 8.6%

State data

State Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Alabama $46,920 $29,730 $65,380
Alaska $79,520 $56,960 $102,600
Arizona $63,610 $40,710 $87,100
Arkansas $50,540 $36,250 $71,490
California $93,650 $55,920 $140,130
Colorado $66,690 $46,610 $94,900
Connecticut $70,210 $49,140 $101,420
Delaware $61,480 $45,720 $88,490
District of Columbia $83,500 $57,190 $105,670
Florida $57,430 $37,650 $79,330
Georgia $57,780 $40,550 $79,460
Hawaii $82,710 $61,010 $105,980
Idaho $62,260 $44,350 $82,820
Illinois $62,390 $42,770 $86,240
Indiana $59,640 $43,560 $80,210
Iowa $52,370 $40,450 $72,420
Kansas $55,060 $40,210 $76,360
Kentucky $51,900 $37,090 $72,390
Louisiana $52,410 $40,550 $71,300
Maine $60,710 $45,690 $79,330
Maryland $70,410 $53,110 $93,600
Massachusetts $75,460 $52,570 $106,960
Michigan $59,250 $43,290 $78,700
Minnesota $70,220 $52,710 $93,060
Mississippi $47,340 $30,060 $66,750
Missouri $55,200 $40,080 $75,680
Montana $57,410 $38,630 $76,720
Nebraska $56,660 $42,170 $77,460
Nevada $71,940 $52,030 $96,460
New Hampshire $64,940 $46,900 $92,440
New Jersey $71,500 $52,330 $94,700
New Mexico $59,370 $44,200 $81,060
New York $73,550 $48,230 $100,590
North Carolina $59,070 $42,420 $80,150
North Dakota $56,540 $41,760 $74,730
Ohio $58,880 $42,850 $79,640
Oklahoma $56,700 $38,330 $76,200
Oregon $76,270 $54,760 $102,370
Pennsylvania $55,650 $40,700 $77,230
Rhode Island $73,000 $54,540 $101,230
South Carolina $55,360 $38,550 $77,140
South Dakota $52,950 $39,370 $73,930
Tennessee $50,950 $37,640 $72,680
Texas $59,860 $40,530 $81,470
Utah $57,740 $41,100 $82,590
Vermont $63,890 $45,380 $83,310
Virginia $62,320 $42,100 $89,820
Washington $75,950 $55,040 $103,790
West Virginia $51,010 $38,260 $73,820
Wisconsin $61,680 $45,480 $80,810
Wyoming $60,280 $44,570 $80,070

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2020 median salary; projected job growth through 2030. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.

How much an individual radiology technologist can earn depends on many factors, including:

Geography:

Salaries are higher in some regions than in others.

Education:

Technologists with more advanced degrees tend to make more than those with the minimum education to become a radiology technologist.

Experience:

The expertise you develop over time can lead to higher earnings.

Certification:

Multiple certifications can allow you to create more than one kind of image, which may increase your pay.

Workplace:

The setting where you work can influence earnings.

Specialty:

Developing sought-after expertise in a medical specialty can push up salaries.

Whether you work in a rural, suburban, or urban area can also influence a radiology technologist salary.

Urban workplaces tend to offer higher salaries for radiology technologists, and healthcare professions in general.

Cities are home to many hospitals and health systems. This means that there are more positions for radiology technologists in urban areas. Urban workplaces tend to offer higher salaries for radiology technologists, and healthcare professions in general, to attract top candidates and compensate for higher costs of living.

In the U.S., all but one of the 15 highest-paying U.S. cities are in California, according to the BLS.

Metro AreaAnnual Median Wage
Vallejo-Fairfield, California$127,590
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California$119,890
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California$119,740
Stockton-Lodi, California$118,840
Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, California$109,870
Santa Rosa, California$107,000
Redding, California$95,470
Santa Cruz-Watsonville, California$93,420
Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, California$90,580
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, California$90,560
San Diego-Carlsbad, California$90,150
Napa, California$87,210
Modesto, California$87,160
Urban Honolulu, Hawaii$87,120
Salinas, California$85,740

More Factors that Affect Salary

Geography is just one of many factors that can influence the salary of a radiology technologist. To proactively advance your career, you can set yourself up for professional opportunities.

“One neat thing about radiography is that once you start off, you’re just getting started on professional opportunities you can explore over the course of your career,” says Peter Rath, MPA, RT (R), ARRT, who evaluates continuing education programs at the American Society of Radiologic Technologists

Here, we’ll look at how education, experience, certifications, and workplace setting can influence the salary of a radiology technologist.

Education

All radiology technologists must complete at least an associate degree in radiology. Your education doesn’t have to stop there, though. “Continuing your education can create many opportunities for radiologic technologists,” Rath says.

A bachelor’s degree in radiological science or healthcare administration are natural next educational steps for radiographers.

Additional relevant education generally translates to a higher salary and can influence your career trajectory. A bachelor’s degree is generally required if a radiology technologist wants to advance to a supervisory or managerial role, Rath says. Along with more responsibility, these promotions can increase earnings.

The timing is actually terrific for ambitious radiology technologists entering the field, Rath says.

“Many people are retiring from supervisory and management positions, which creates room for younger or newer technologists to advance in a faster time frame,” he says.

Experience

Entry-level positions for radiology technologists generally pay less than roles filled by more experienced techs. While you can’t fast-forward the calendar to gain years on the job, you can gain additional experience in other ways.

Gaining experience across departments and imaging modalities can set you up for earning a higher income.

“In smaller and rural hospitals, you’ll have more opportunities to do different things and work in different capacities,” Rath says. “They’re more likely to allow radiographers to cross-train in other modalities, such as mammography and CT imaging, which leads to extra skills. It’s easier to become a Jack or Jane of all trades in rural and small settings.”

Gaining experience across departments and imaging modalities can set you up for earning a higher income.

Certification

To begin their career, radiology technologists can earn the Registered Radiologic Technologist R.T. (R) certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). You don’t have to stop there, though.

“Someone entering the field who wants a challenge can earn certifications in modalities beyond radiography,” Rath says. You can begin this process while earning your associate degree or after you’ve begun working.

Workplace

A radiology technologist salary may vary by workplace too. Here’s a look at median annual salaries at five workplaces, according to BLS data.

WorkplaceAnnual Median Wage
Government Agencies and Facilities$68,970
Outpatient Care Centers$66,780
Hospitals$62,850
Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories$61,410
Outpatient Services, Including Clinics and Medical Offices$58,830

Job Outlook

“Most people considering becoming a radiologic technologist ask, ‘Is this a profession I can rely on as a career?'” Rath says. “The answer is: most definitely.”

The BLS’s job growth forecast for radiology technologists is 9% from 2020 to 2030, slightly higher than the average growth of all U.S. jobs.

As patients age, they are more likely to face health problems that require imaging for diagnosis or treatment.

“As we see the baby boom generation age, they access healthcare in greater numbers,” Rath explains. “That’s pushing demand for more facilities and more radiographers.”

Where the Jobs Are

“Employment rates for radiologic technologists continue to be high and stable,” Rath says. “There is an especially high demand for radiographers in growing communities.”

That makes sense, since more people living in an area will mean more people who need radiography for broken bones, blocked blood vessels, lung infections, and other conditions. It should come as no surprise, then, that more populous states have greater demand for radiographers.

States with Highest Demand

StateEmployment
California16,670
Texas16,660
Florida14,170
New York12,170
Pennsylvania9,790

On the flip side, smaller communities have less need for radiology technologists.

States with Lowest Demand

StateEmployment
Hawaii620
District of Columbia440
Vermont440
Wyoming420
Alaska370

“As working technologists reach the end of their careers, demand for radiographers increases,” Rath says. “There’s more and more need for radiologic technologists to enter the field.”

Radiology Technologist Salaries Versus Related Healthcare Roles

If you have a drive to help people, becoming a radiology technologist is not the only option. Other healthcare roles provide opportunities to serve patients.

Here’s a comparison with similar professions that require an associate degree, along with median salaries for each.

ProfessionMedian Salary
Radiology Technologist$61,900
Radiation Therapist$86,850
Veterinary Technologist or Technician$36,260
Surgical Technologist$49,710
catherine gregory

Written and reported by:
Catherine Ryan Gregory
Contributing Writer

peter rath

With professional insight from:
Peter Rath, MPA, RT (R), ARRT
Continuing Education Program Evaluator
American Society of Radiologic Technologists