Radiologic tech salaries not keeping up with inflation
by Brendon Nafziger
, DOTmed News Associate Editor | May 28, 2010
RT salary trends
Salaries for radiologic technologists aren't keeping pace with inflation, according to a survey of nearly 10,000 RTs released Thursday by the American Society of Radiologic Technologists.
RT salaries rose 5.2 percent over the past three years and now average $61,733 per year, but fall short of the U.S. inflation rate of 6.5 percent, according to the survey.
"Many factors undoubtedly contributed to the slower growth of salaries in the past three years, including a sluggish national economy, the equalization of supply and demand for medical imaging personnel and changes within health care," ASRT's vice president of education and research Myke Kudlas said in a statement.
Salary growth was way down from 2007, the last time the survey was taken, when the profession experienced a 12.6 percent pay increase from 2004, above the 9.29 percent inflation rate for the same period.
According to the current survey, nuclear medicine technicians experienced the lowest increase in wages, at 2.5 percent. Their compensation inched up to $70,822 in 2010, from 69,083 three years earlier. General radiographer techs' salaries also crept behind inflation, with a meager 3 percent increase, from $52,336 in 2007 to $53,953 now.
Other specialties with low growth were cardiovascular interventional techs, at 5.4 percent; CT techs, at 4.6 percent; and MRI techs, at 5.1 percent.
Still, for some disciplines, pay increases outstripped inflation. Radiation therapists saw the greatest average salary increase, 10.7 percent, from $71,461 to $79,125, followed by quality management technologists at 10 percent, from $64,789 to $71,251 and sonographers at 8.5 percent, from $63,406 to $68,821.
Medical dosimetrists remained the highest-paid of all the disciplines, making $95,279 on average, up a healthy 9.3 percent from the 2007 mean salary of $87,188.
Mammographers, saw an increase of 6.5 percent increase, close to the inflation rate, from $56,605 to $60,263.
Wages varied widely based on the state where the RT practiced. California RTs had the highest average pay, at $82,753, with Alabama techs getting the lowest, at $49,531. The differences in pay were due to the "substantial difference in the cost of living," ASRT told DOTmed News.
But the RTs weren't despairing. Just over half of radiologic techs were happy with their pay level, an increase over 2007 satisfaction rates. Still, almost 40 percent said they hadn't gotten a raise in the last year, something fewer than 20 percent reported three years ago.
RTs have responded to the increasing pressures by getting trained on more disciplines, ASRT said.
"The trend appears to be that more technologists are becoming dual certified in order to expand their opportunities," John Culbertson, ASRT's director of research, told DOTmed News by email.
The survey, mailed out in February, sampled 9,068 RTs.