Working as a radiology technician can be a rewarding way to enter a field in the world of medicine without becoming a doctor or nurse. Instead of spending many years in school, these programs can be completed in two-four years. Online universities offer a great alternative to the traditional campus setting, so that students can study on their own time without having to sacrifice their current career. Another upside to online learning is that it is flexible and allows students to take on as few or as many courses as they choose, allowing them to finish a program more quickly if their schedule allows it.
But is the salary as a radiology technician worth it? Actually, radiology techs are in demand across the country; as the populations grows and ages, the need for qualified technician increases as well. So with just an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in the field, you could make healthy salary.
According to reports by The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), radiology technicians and technologists made an average of $54,620 annually, as of May 2012. The report goes on to reveal that the median annual wage for MRI technologists was $65,360 and the highest 10% of earners in this field made more than $89,130.
As a technician, you don’t need as much training, since you only work with x-ray machines and have a more limited scope of practice, but you also won’t earn as high of a salary. These two-year programs allow you to finish your degree more quickly, so that you are able to enter the work force. However, if you decide to go back to school for a bachelor’s degree, instead of working with just a diploma or associate’s degree, you can increase your job opportunities and expect to make a higher average of $65,360 annually. With the availability of online courses, you can begin your career as a technician and work while you attend school part-time in your free time. Some employers even offer education reimbursement, so you may be able to have your school paid for while you work toward a higher degree.
Where you live in the United States can heavily affect your salary, as the cost of living is different, and demand is higher in some areas than in others. The BLS, offers great information pertaining to salary in different parts of the country, so you can see how your particular area measures up. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the highest-paid radiology techs live in the following states:
If relocation is an option, you can also consider moving to one of the cities or metropolitan areas where radiology techs are highly paid. According to the BLS, the top cities in this field, by salary amount alone, are as follows:
Keep in mind that if you live in a larger city in an area like those listed above, cost of living may also be a lot higher, so the highest salary may not yield in the most money leftover at the end of the month. Thorough research into the cost of living and salary in your area compared to these highly paid cities can give you an idea of how it measures up.
Getting your bachelor’s degree and moving to a high-paying location are just two of the many ways in which you can earn more as a radiology technician. You can also choose to go through certification programs or employee training with your company, apply for government-funded positions (which typically pay more), or take on leadership roles in your company. Keep in mind that you can also use this as a career stepping stone to work at a higher level in the medical world.
Specializing in a particular area can also help you achieve a higher salary. For radiology technicians who specialize in multiple areas, this gives you more options for where you can work, as well as a more competitive edge in the job market. When you choose to specialize, you are not limiting yourself to just one type of work environment – having multiple specializations opens you up to be able to work in hospitals, clinics, or even in a doctor’s office. Having these available options allows you to determine how to earn the highest possible salary with your degree.
Adventist University of Health Sciences — The Adventist University of Health Sciences' BS in radiological science degree covers everything the professional radiologist needs to know about mammography, computed tomography, MRI, advanced patient care issues, and medical imaging. Coursework also covers issues and trends in health care and case studies, with a focus on providing the tools and insights students need to become marketable job applicants.
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