A radiologic technologist is a licensed healthcare worker responsible for obtaining images of a patient's body via X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan to diagnose disease or assess the effectiveness of therapy. About half of radiologic technologists have earned an associate's degree in the field while others hold a certification in radiologic technology and a small percentage have earned bachelor's degrees. Factors that affect a radiologic technologist's salary include education, experience, certification, specialization and location. The technologist's experience tends to affect salary most when he or she is negotiating with a new employer.
The educational preparation of a technologist can significantly affect a radiologic technologist's salary. While a very few still enter this career with only the preparation of a certificate, approximately half of technologists have earned an associate's degree in the field. The hospital-issued certificate program seems to be in the process of being phased out as the required length of study for a certificate in the field and an associate's degree are almost equal; most employers prefer technologists with a degree and the professional associations for radiologic technologists support mandates requiring degrees to enter the field. Earning a bachelor's degree can also increase a radiologic technologist's salary and her opportunities for supervisory positions.
A second factor that can affect a radiologic technologist's salary is the amount of experience she has in the field. This aspect tends to have the most influence when a technologist is offered a position with a new employer and where her number of years in the field directly translates into a higher offered salary. Career tenure with the same employer only seems to have a significant impact on a radiologic technologist's salary when she is employed at a government healthcare facility and her years of experience allow her to reach a higher pay grade. Certifications offered by various professional organizations may also increase a technologist's income potential.
Specialization is a significant factor in a radiological technologist's salary and earning potential. Techs who have training only in X-rays tend to earn the lowest salaries. Specializing in CT scans, MRI exams or mammography tests can all increase a radiologic technologist's salary. This pay raise accompanies the additional training, examination and certification required by such specialization.
Finally, where she lives and works can influence a radiologic technologist's salary. Highly populated urban areas typically pay the highest salaries. Other areas that offer higher wages are often regional hospitals in isolated or rural areas. Mid-sized cities usually offer average wages.