What Is the Salary for Entry-Level Medical Imaging Jobs?
Some popular entry-level positions in medical imaging include radiographer, diagnostic medical sonographer and nuclear medicine technologist. Read on for a look at these medical imaging careers and their entry-level salaries. Schools offering Biomedical Engineering Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
According to the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) in 2010, entry-level radiographers earned an average salary of $44,500 (www.asrt.org). The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the average salary for radiologic technologists of all experience levels was $56,760 in May 2013 (www.bls.gov). In addition, these workers made average wages of $57,530 working in hospitals and $53,210 working in physicians' offices. The BLS reported that California employed the most radiologic technologists of any state and offered an average wage of $72,030, which was the highest of any state.
A radiographer works with medical imaging technology to produce x-ray images of a patient's internal organs, bones and other structures. You may also work with computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, and experience with that equipment may increase your salary. As a radiographer, you position radiographic machinery and patients for the best possible image. You must have knowledge of human biology, radiation science and radiation safety to protect the patient and yourself.
Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
According to PayScale.com in May 2014, the median wage for diagnostic medical sonographers was $47,572. In May 2013, the BLS reported an average wage of $67,170 for diagnostic medical sonographers of all experience levels. While general hospitals paid an average wage of $67,540, physicians' offices paid an average wage of $66,970. The average wage was $86,550 in California, which had both the highest employment level and the highest average wage for these professionals.
A diagnostic medical sonographer specializes in operating ultrasound equipment to produce an image of a patient's internal organs. Ultrasound equipment uses sound waves rather than radiation; therefore, it's safer for patients who face risks with more invasive medical imaging techniques.
PayScale.com reported in May 2014 that the median wage for these professionals was $56,725. The BLS reported in May 2013 that the average salary for nuclear technologists of all experience levels was $71,970. Average wages were $71,540 for general hospitals and $74,310 for physicians' offices. Florida had the highest employment level and offered an average wage of $70,610. On the other hand, California offered the highest average wage of $95,310.
As in other medical imaging careers, much of your time working as a nuclear medicine technologist is spent interacting directly with patients. You may explain procedures, administer nuclear pharmaceuticals and position patients for best possible imaging. Because much of your work may involve exposure to low amounts of radiation, you're trained in important radiation safety measures, as well as the practical skills needed for the job.
Factors that Influence Salary
Your entry-level salary as a medical imaging specialist depends on your education, location, type of employer and specialty. In general, your salary and job opportunities are better if you've completed an associate's or bachelor's degree program as opposed to earning a certificate or diploma. Your salary may also vary according to your medical imaging specialty, as with the above three jobs.
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