Radiology technicians -- also known as radiologic or X-ray technicians -- and nurses are two important positions within the health-care industry. While radiologic technicians administer imagining procedures using X-ray machinery to help physicians diagnose illness and injury, nurses provide day-to-day therapeutic care to patients. Both work under the supervision of physicians and surgeons and both require post-high school training and state licensing. The salary for each position is affected by factors including location and industry sector.
In 2009 the Bureau of Labor Statistics carried out a national survey of employment and salaries throughout the United States. It calculated that the average yearly wage for a radiology technician was $54,180, equivalent to $4,515 a month or $26.05 an hour. Those in the top 10 percent of earners received $75,440 while their counterparts in the bottom 10 percent earned $35,700. For nurses, the average annual salary was reported to be $66,530, which equates to $5,544 per month and $31.99 an hour. The top 10 percent of earners achieved an average of $93,700 while the bottom 10 percent earned $43,970.
Salary by Industry
The sector of the health-care industry in which medical practitioners work affects their salary levels. For radiologic technologists the BLS listed scientific research and development services as the most lucrative sector, paying an average of $64,800. The private offices of physicians were listed at $50,860, outpatient care centers at $52,950 and general medical and surgical hospitals offered pay rates of $54,770 per year. For nurses, such hospitals paid an average of $67,740, while the offices of physicians were listed at $67,290. Outpatient care centers offered salaries averaging $65,690.
Salary by Geography
The BLS listed Massachusetts and Nevada as the states in which, across all industry sectors, a radiology technician was likely to receive the highest wages, with average of $68,530 and $66,420 respectively. In contrast, West Virginia offered an average salary of $41,400. SalaryExpert.com, in its analysis of salaries in major cities, put Boston, Massachusetts at the top of the table with $73,143, while Orlando, Florida was listed at $43,302. For nurses, SalaryExpert.com also listed Boston as the most lucrative city -- $97,167 -- followed by New York, New York State with $84,538. Orlando again trailed, this time with $60,239. At the state level, the BLS listed California as the best-paying state for nurses, averaging $85,080 across all industry areas. South Dakota, however, was listed at just $53,520.
For both nurses and radiology technicians, the immediate future looks bright for employment opportunities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that over the decade from 2008 to 2018, employment for nurses will increase by 22 percent, while for radiology technicians the growth rate will be 17 percent. Both are significantly higher than the national growth rate across all occupations, expected to be between 7 and 13 percent. For both roles, the increasing, aging American population will fuel demand for their skills as the health-care industry as a whole expands to meet demand. For that reason, salary levels for both nurses and radiology technicians should remain very competitive.