by Lee Nelson
, Contributing Reporter | June 13, 2016
Radiologic technologists have seen a 4.8 percent salary increase over the last three years — raising the average year's pay to $65,756 and only slightly outpacing inflation.
The increase does not fully compensate technologists in this ever-changing profession, Myke Kudlas, M.Ed., R.T.(R)(QM), CIIP, and associate executive director of learning and membership at American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT), told HCB News. The survey — which ASRT conducts every three years in all practices — did not provide any great surprises, he said.
“We have been tracking the wages of medical imaging and radiation therapy professionals for many years, and have seen a flattening of salaries since 2007," Kudlas explained. "The most important finding of the study is that wages remain stagnant."
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Since this was a national survey that covered multiple practice areas, differences in geographical and practice areas affect the average. For example, in Florida the overall compensation was $60,206 in 2016 compared to $54,273 in 2013 — a 10.9 percent increase. However, in Iowa, the overall compensation was $57,857 in 2016 compared to 56,785 in 2013 — a 1.9 percent increase.
“Radiologic technologists are continually being asked to do more with less, across the board,” said Kudlas. “There is mounting pressure to keep up with advancing technology, stay in compliance with changing state and federal regulations, maintain certification, learn new modalities, adjust to decreased staffing levels and work in diverse practice settings, all while providing exemplary patient care.”
He compares radiologic technology with consumer technology like cell phones and how they have dramatically changed over the past few years.
“Medical imaging and radiation therapy technology is changing even faster than that, and with no room for error on the part of the operator. Maintaining competence in this field is an ongoing process, especially when you consider that an RT will provide services in a general department, operating suite, emergency department and even in a patient’s room,” he said.
According to Kudlas, one of the largest factors affecting salaries is supply and demand.
“The ability of an RT to be nimble, think critically, and respond to developing situations is generally under-appreciated and under-compensated.”