RADIOLOGIST TECHNICIAN: Meaning, Salary & How to Become One

radiologist technician
CHI health

Radiologist technicians undertake critical diagnostic imaging operations and scans to assist radiologists and physicians in better understanding the health problems of their patients. If this seems fascinating to you, consider pursuing a career in healthcare. Understanding the varied qualifications might help you succeed as a radiology technician. In this article, we discuss what a radiologist technician does, how to become one, the required skills, salary, the program to sign up for, and frequently asked questions about the role.

What is a Radiology Technician?

To begin, radiology is a branch of medicine that employs medical imaging to detect disorders and develop treatment strategies for patients. A radiology technician is a member of the healthcare team who performs diagnostic imaging operations on patients.

Radiology technologists, also known as radiologic technicians or radiographers, position patients for imaging, interact with interdisciplinary clinicians and educate patients about the procedure.

They employ the following imaging equipment:

  • Ultrasound
  •  X-ray radiography
  • Computed tomography (CT scans) 
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Fluoroscopy
  • PET emission tomography (PET)
  • Sonography

Some radiologist technicians have received additional training in cardiovascular-interventional radiography, mammography, or sonography. Others might focus on bone densitometry, vascular interventional radiography, or nuclear medicine.

To provide perfect imaging, radiology technicians must have a thorough understanding of human anatomy. Radiologists can then accurately diagnose numerous diseases.

What Does a Radiology Technician Do Every Day?

While radiology technicians perform many of the same tasks, their day-to-day responsibilities may differ depending on their employment, experience level, shift, and patient needs. A radiology technician’s duties, for example, may alter depending on whether they work in a hospital or an outpatient clinic, the latter of which has a more stabilized patient population and no trauma units. Here’s a peek at a radiology technician’s typical day and responsibilities:

#1. Receive instructions from a physician

A medical practitioner instructs radiology professionals on which parts of a patient’s body require imaging before they begin imaging.

#2. Ensure all equipment is operational

Before capturing images, radiology technicians must ensure that every machine they use is in good working order and capable of producing clear and accurate images.

#3. Prepare patients for imaging

Prior to imaging, radiology personnel introduce themselves to their patients and provide them with clean medical gowns. Then, depending on the region to be photographed, they position the equipment or the patient.

#4. Operating imaging equipment

Radiology technicians use the equipment to obtain an accurate image of the relevant areas while the patient is in the appropriate position.

#5. Review images

After the imaging equipment takes a photograph, radiology professionals evaluate the images to ensure they are clear enough for a physician or other medical practitioner to make a diagnosis.

#6. Print or develop images

If the photos are reliable and clear enough for physicians to evaluate, radiology technicians will print or develop them using a computer printing technique. The images are then labeled and added to the patient’s medical records.

#7. Clean used equipment

After the imaging procedure is over, radiology technicians clean up any equipment used in the procedure. This includes imaging equipment and any other items utilized by the patient, such as a table.

#8. Meet with other patients

After assisting one patient, radiology technicians work with numerous others throughout the day, collaborating with other members of the healthcare team.

Salary for Radiologist Technician

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average yearly salary for radiology technicians in 2021 will be $61,370.Salaries, however, vary greatly based on your city and state. The lowest 10% made less than $46,850, while the wealthiest 10% earned more than $94,880.

Highest-Paying States for Radiologist Technician Salary

According to the BLS, the highest-paying states for radiology technicians in May 2021 will be:

  • California: $95,170
  • Hawaii: $84,100
  • Massachusetts: $79,360
  • District of Columbia: $79,320
  • Oregon: $78,800

Highest-Paying Cities for Radiologist Technician Salary 

According to the BLS, the top five metropolitan regions for radiology tech pay in 2021 are:

  • Vallejo – Fairfield, CA: $127,890
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA: $118,480
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA: $118,100
  • Santa Rosa, CA: $112,270
  • Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA: $107,450

Radiologist Technician Salary by Years of Experience

According to our study, the average compensation for a radiology tech is $23.08 per hour or $51,930 per year as of January 2023.

However, your salary will be determined by your level of expertise. With more years of experience, radiology technicians can earn a better annual salary:

  • 1-4 years of experience earn an average hourly wage of $20.63
  • 5-9 years of experience earns an average hourly wage of $24.24
  • 10-19 years of experience earns an average hourly wage of $26.30
  • 20+ years of experience earns an average hourly wage of $26.00

How Do You Become a Radiology Technician?

To become a radiologist technician, you must first fulfill the following steps:

Step #1: Attend an accredited radiologic technology program

A radiography education can be obtained in three ways: through a certificate program, an associate’s degree, or a bachelor’s degree. Every program requires you to have a high school diploma or GED.

Certificate Program

Certificate programs are typically completed in one year. These programs, however, have significant downsides. The first is that graduates are frequently regarded as less attractive by employers due to their lack of education and training. Furthermore, many certificate programs do not meet accrediting standards, and several jurisdictions need an associate’s degree or higher to apply for licensure.

Associate degree program

A two-year associate degree in radiography is the most frequent path to becoming a radiology tech. These programs contain prerequisite health science courses like anatomy and physiology, health science terminology, and radiology-specific courses.

Bachelor’s degree program

Another excellent option to become a radiology tech is to enroll in a four-year bachelor’s degree program in radiology. A bachelor’s degree will give general education courses in addition to the requisite radiography and health science courses.

It is not necessary to have a bachelor’s degree to work as an entry-level radiology tech; however, if you intend to pursue graduate school, you will need a bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree will also make it easier for you to advance into management and administrative positions later in your career.

Whatever path you take, it is critical that you enroll in an accredited program. The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) is the regulating organization in the United States responsible for ensuring the highest educational standards in radiology education. Furthermore, if your institution is not approved, you will be unable to obtain a license following graduation.

Step #2. Pass a radiographer certification exam

States and companies demand either a state board licensure or certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). ARRT demands a bachelor’s degree from an accredited program, no felony or misdemeanor convictions, and compliance with its ethics standards. The certification process includes meeting ARRT’s education requirements and passing a voluntary certification exam.

Complete continuing education courses in radiography every two years to keep your certification current. Consider enrolling in certificate programs in advanced imaging domains such as:

  • Nuclear medicine technology
  • Radiation therapy
  • Mammography
  • CT
  • MRI
  • Cardiovascular interventional technology

Step #3. Prepare a resume and apply for jobs

An effective resume may increase your chances of getting an interview and landing a job. Include a brief, professional explanation of your qualifications for the position on your resume. Include your education, talents, experience, and certification. Make it specific to the job criteria and highlight any other radiology technologist talents you may have that may benefit the firm.

Where Do Radiology Techs Work?

A Radiologist technician is most typically seen working at a hospital on a specialized radiology unit. When patients require imaging, they are transferred to the radiology unit.

Some radiologists, on the other hand, can go throughout the hospital to perform imaging in the patient’s room. For emergency purposes, several emergency departments have their own specific radiology rooms.

There are also opportunities for a radiologist technician to work in a variety of other settings, such as:

  • Outpatient imaging centers
  • Academic institutions
  • Physicians’ offices
  • Medical and diagnostic laboratories
  • Outpatient facilities
  • Therapy Centers
  • Trauma center
  • Triage centers
  • Urgent care centers

Radiology technicians are also occasionally in charge of staffing and dealing with crises. As a result, they may work unusual hours, such as weekends, evenings, and holidays. Radiology technicians might work full-time, part-time, or on a per-diem basis, depending on the position.

Radiology Technician Skills

If you want to be a successful radiology technician, you should have a variety of talents. The more relevant your abilities, the better your chances of getting employed and the better equipped you’ll be to perform your job tasks once hired. The following are some notable radiology technician skills:

  • Interpersonal skills: While radiology technicians spend the majority of their time using advanced radiography equipment, they also interact with patients and other healthcare professionals.
  • Patience: While it is crucial to be patient with the patients you are assisting, it is also beneficial when managing radiology equipment. While it may be tempting to produce photographs quickly, taking your time on the first try allows you to capture a quality image without having to restart.
  • Physical strength: Physical stamina is required because radiology technicians spend most of their day walking and standing. They must also be physically capable of moving big equipment and machines.
  • Communication skills: Because radiology technicians must communicate with other members of a medical team, their patients, and physicians, they must be fluent in nonverbal, vocal, and written communication.
  • Mathematical and scientific abilities: Radiology technicians must be able to use a variety of diagnostic equipment on patients.

Radiologic Technologist VS Radiologist

While radiologic technologist and radiologist may appear to be identical jobs, they are not. A radiologist is a clinician who diagnoses patients and suggests treatment based on medical pictures such as X-rays and MRIs. A radiologic technologist is often supervised by a radiologist and performs diagnostic imaging techniques to assist the doctor and other members of the healthcare team.

Medical school is also required for radiologists. Radiologic technologists can begin their employment after completing a two-year associate degree program in radiologic technology. They can specialize in areas such as mammography, MRI, or cardiovascular imaging with further experience and study.

A job as a radiologic technician is a good choice for anyone who wants to help others, enjoys working with technology, and is eager to enter the healthcare profession. In fact, radiologic technologists are ranked #24 in the Best Healthcare Support Jobs for 2023 by US News and World Report.

Which Radiology Tech Makes the Most Money?

The following are the top seven highest-paying radiography jobs:

  • MRI technologist.
  • Radiologic technologist.
  • Cardiovascular technologist.
  • Sonographer.
  • Radiation therapist
  • Nuclear medicine technologist
  • Ultrasonographer.

Is Becoming a Radiology Tech Worth it?

Yes. Rad technicians play a significant part in healthcare and have a high level of personal satisfaction. According to U.S. News’ annual rankings, it is a top-25 healthcare job. This high ranking is due to the rapid replacement of exploratory operations and other invasive procedures by imaging.

What is a Radiologist Tech Salary OK?

As of May 01, 2023, the average Radiology Tech pay in Oklahoma is $59,901, with a salary range of $54,501 to $66,101.

Is Radiography a Good Course in the USA?

Yes. Radiography is a viable professional option. Because it plays a vital role in the hospital. A hospital cannot treat or work on any trauma or emergency patient.

What is the Highest Degree you can Get in Radiology?

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in Radiology are also available, leading to jobs in medical imaging research and possible board certification as medical physicists, or “behind the scenes” equipment specialists.

Is Radiology Harder than Nursing?

Nursing school is generally considered more difficult than radiology technician school since nursing students must complete more clinical hours and have a deeper understanding of human anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology.

What are the Disadvantages of Radiology Career?

The following are some disadvantages of working as a radiologist:

  • Hours that are erratic.
  • Educational prerequisites are extensive.

Is it Hard to Study Radiology?

It is not easy to become a radiologist. It takes a lot of dedication and hard work—medical students and residents frequently struggle to cope with the stress. if is why it is critical to ensure that being a doctor is truly what you desire before making a commitment.


If you want to work as a radiology technician, you should consider enrolling in a radiologic technology school to broaden your horizons. This is a fascinating profession. It’s still best not to be in a rush. Select what works best for you and make the most of it. Best wishes!


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