Like most professions, experience, training and credentialing determines how much money you can make as an x-ray technician in Florida. Location also is a big factor. X-ray techs perform various duties and fill numerous positions within the diagnostic imaging field. They can perform traditional radiology duties or specialize in one or more related fields, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography imaging (CAT), mammography, nuclear medicine imaging and sonography. X-ray techs usually are hourly employees and earn about $15 to 22 an hour on average in Florida (slightly below the national average), although this rate includes all experience levels and specialties.
Yearly salaries for Florida x-ray technicians range from about $30,000 for techs new to the field to more than $60,000 for seasoned and specialized technicians. X-ray techs are employed under numerous titles, including radiographers, x-ray technologists or any of several specialist designations, such as MRI techs. Radiologists are medical doctors specializing in radiographic imaging and interpretation. The highest-paying areas of Florida for x-rays technicians are Golden Gate, Goodland, Lely Resort, the Naples area, Plantation and Pelican Bay. Starting salaries average about $42,300 and high-end pay is nearly $58,000. The lowest starting salaries — below $30,000 — are in Pt. Salerno, Rio and Sewell’s Point.
The amount of schooling you receive, as well as continuing education coursework, directly affects salary levels. Many states require x-ray techs to be licensed. Florida requires certification. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) is the accrediting body for x-ray techs in Florida and administers the certification exams. The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology is the accrediting institution for formal training programs in radiography. You can enroll in a one- to two-year certificate training program through community colleges, specialty schools and hospitals, complete an associate degree program, or receive a bachelor’s degree. The majority of x-ray techs in Florida and nationwide hold associate degrees. Your pay level will increase correspondingly among certificate programs, associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees. Combined with experience, specialty, location and supervisory duties, bachelor’s degree-holders can earn $85,000 per year. X-ray techs who are certified often are simply called “RTs.”
Florida, while only slightly below national averages for x-ray tech salaries, does have considerably lower starting averages. Whereas New York has a beginning wage of more than $21 an hour, Florida’s starting wage is about $14.50. The starting wage in Orlando, Florida, is only $11 an hour. But Florida’s high-end wages are in line with some of the highest-paying states, again depending on education and job specialty. Many areas in Florida average $75,000 for x-ray techs with 15 to 20 years of experience, while the national average for techs with 20-plus years of experience is about $63,000. Along with experience, continuing education requirements also contribute to a tech’s pay rate.
Specializing in areas other than basic radiography can increase your salary outlook considerably. The more versatile you are, the more valuable you are to a hospital or other healthcare facility. For example, a registered tech in mammography (RT-Mammography) averages about $55,000 to $70,000 a year. Cardiovascular-interventional technologists (CITs), who utilize sophisticated imaging techniques like biplane fluoroscopy to help guide catheters, filters and stents through the body, make about the same salary. Of course, your work environment will play a big role in both the types of job specialties that are offered and the corresponding pay rates. Hospitals and laboratories offer the most diverse and highest-paying jobs because most clinics and private facilities, including doctors' offices, don’t have the space or capital to offer MRI machines or most invasive cardiac radiography procedures. The same holds true for CAT scans and nuclear medicine procedures, both of which pay much more than basic radiographic tech salaries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the best-paying work environments for x-ray techs are medical/diagnostic laboratories at $55,210, followed by the federal government ($53,650), medical and surgical hospitals ($52,890), outpatient care centers ($50,840), and offices of physicians ($48,530).