As one of the most commonly utilized noninvasive diagnostic techniques, most hospitals have CAT scan technology on premises, and many healthcare centers have come to specialize in diagnostic-only treatment through CAT scans. CAT scan operators, which are also known as CT technicians, use the ionizing radiation of computed tomography machines to create detailed images of body systems.
The average salary for a CAT scan technologist is $59,269 as of January 2011, according to Salary.com, with 50 percent of all technologists earning between $54,327 and $65,278 annually. The highest paid CT scan technologists earn more than $70,748 each year. CT technologists must have valid certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists and at least two years of work experience to qualify for positions that pay this salary level.
Hourly Rates and Experience
Many CAT scan technologists receive payment on an hourly basis rather than through a salaried position. When employed on an hourly basis, technologists’ hourly earnings slowly increase as they gain more job experience. Entry-level technicians receive average wages that range from $17.27 to $23.02 an hour as of January 2011, according to PayScale. Those with one to four years in the industry earn average hourly wages between $19.46 and $25.06. CT technologists who’ve worked for five to nine years receive average hourly wages from $22.09 to $28.65, and veterans with more than 10 years receive average wages of $25.31 to $35.12.
Salaries Around the Country
The number of CT facilities and the number of certified technologists in an area may affect a technologist’s annual earnings, and cost of living forces also impact CAT scan technologist earnings. CT technologists in Boston earn the highest average annual salary in the nation, $88,692 as of January 2011, according to Salary Expert. Boston workers’ earnings are unusual however, with technologists in New York earning the second-highest salary $75,827. CT scan technologists in half of the 10 cities surveyed by Salary Expert earn average annual salaries between $64,584 and $71,044.
Training and Certification
Although many different levels of CT technologist training are available to prospective workers, most state licensing agencies and employers require CAT scan operators to have at least an associate’s degree, according to Education Portal. Bachelor’s and certificate programs are also available. Once a student completes a training program, many states require him to pass certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technicians because of the potential of exposing patients and co-workers to radioactivity that comes with operating a CT scan.