Radiology careers are among the best choices in the healthcare field, and it's not just because of the radiology technician salary. The income pathway is ever-upward, work conditions are excellent and job security is a near certainty.
Radiology Career Paths
A typical career pathway for radiation technicians is toward becoming a radiologic technologist. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) groups radiology technician salary information together with that of radiological technologist, and according to BLS data, their national mean annual salary in 2011 was $56,760.
A recent radiology technician graduate cannot expect that kind of income because it more closely reflects that of a radiologic technologist. What's the difference? A radiology technician's role is limited primarily to operating X-ray equipment, while a radiologic technologist operates multiple pieces of imaging equipment and often supervises technicians.
In some cases, a technician can enter the workforce with a certification only, although many also begin with an associate degree. A technologist, on the other hand, begins with an associate degree and often has a bachelor's degree.
Through connections made on the job along with additional training and education, radiology technicians often become technologists. Technologists have an upward career trajectory as well, typically becoming MRI technologists, radiation therapists or even moving into a different medical field altogether.
Radiology technician salary is not always the best measure of the job's benefits. Some of the things that make a radiation technician career path one of the best jobs available in the medical field include:
- The ability to begin you career with just one to two years of education
- Working in a human service profession and helping others
- Multiple pathways for advancement
- The job security found working in the health care field
- Employment is excellent and interesting work settings
- Having job benefits beyond salary that may include health, life and disability insurance
- Because radiation technicians are needed practically everywhere, you have the ability to travel. That includes the option of military service.
Becoming a radiology technician can be a great career move, with many opportunities for continued learning and career advancement.