What Is the Salary for Entry-Level Medical Imaging Jobs?
If you're considering a career in the medical imaging field, your area of specialization may affect your salary. Some popular entry-level careers 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 Diagnostic Medical Sonography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
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. Three popular specialties of medical imaging include radiographer, diagnostic medical sonographer and nuclear technologist.
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, which 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.
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 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the average salary for radiologic technologists of all experience levels was $56,450 in May 2012 (www.bls.gov). In addition, these workers made average wages of $56,590 working in hospitals and $55,070 working in physicians' offices. The BLS reported that California employed the most radiologic technologists of any state and offered an average wage of $70,590. On the other hand, Massachusetts offer the highest average salary of $82,080.
Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
A diagnostic medical sonographer specializes in operating ultrasound equipment to produce an image of a patient's internal organs. Ultrasound equipment uses sound waves not radiation; therefore, it's safer for patients who face risks with more invasive medical imaging techniques.
According to PayScale.com in February 2014, most diagnostic medical sonographers with less than one year of experience earned between $30,628 and $64,692, and their median wage was $47,572. In May 2012, the BLS reported an average wage of $66,360 for diagnostic medical sonographers of all experience levels. While general hospitals paid an average wage of $66,390, physicians' offices paid an average wage of $66,900. The average wage was $84,220 in California, which had both the highest employment level and the highest average wage for these professionals.
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.
PayScale.com reported in February 2014 that most entry-level nuclear medicine technologists with less than one year of experience earned between $43,098 and $73,224, with the median wage being $56,725. The BLS reported in May 2012 that the average salary for these professionals of all experience levels was $70,840. Average wages were $70,650 for general hospitals and $72,070 for physicians' offices. Florida had the highest employment level and offered an average wage of $68,520. On the other hand, California offered the highest average wage of $91,920.
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