Radiology Tech Salary per Hour – I Know, I AM One!

Radiology Tech Salary is something I negotiate for techs on a monthly basis.

We are always hiring rad techs because I cross-train into advanced modalities frequently.

I have been a radiology administrator for almost a decade.

That is after being a radiologic technologist for over a decade.

I know what the common rad tech salary is in many states.

The two things patients say to me the most is “I almost went to school to do what you are doing” and “How much are you getting paid?”

Radiologic technologist salary is always one of the top two comments. 

Don’t listen to the Classified Ads

Well, since there are so many rinky-dink websites out there who answer this question without ever having worked in the field, I figured I better give my two cents.

You know, since I ACTUALLY KNOW the answer and I’m not just trying to get page views on a website (like Chron and RadiologySchools411).

Chron actually quotes a salary wage from 2011 and an ASRT survey from 2010.


These guys are a decade outdated yet they are the first page people see when looking this stuff up. 

The age of the RadiologySchools411‘s information dates itself with this statement: “About 30 states require candidates to pass the ARRT certification exam to receive a state license.”

Truth is, there are only five states left that don’t require state licensure.

I know because I live in one of them… Idaho.

I’ve been fighting for the legislature to pass a bill so citizens of Idaho aren’t overexposed to radiation thanks to some secretary taking their x rays. 

But go ahead Google, give the page ranks to those guys. Hopefully, my information will seep out to the world somehow.

But I digress…

How much is a Rad Tech salary?

  • The simple answer is radiology technologist salary can make around $50-60,000 per year at a base level.

  • But it can be significantly increased if you add the following things: shift differential, weekend differential, on-call pay and callback pay. 

Modality can affect the radiology tech salary level

A “modality” is a term used in radiology that is similar to the “department.”

The different modalities in radiology are:

  • X ray (general radiography),
  • CT (computed tomography),
  • US (ultrasound),
  • Mammo (mammography),
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging),
  • NM (nuclear medicine),
  • PET (positron emission tomography) and
  • IR (interventional radiology.)

Each one of these requires different education and specialized skills.

Some require additional formal school education and carry their own certifications or licenses.

All of these things lead to more money in your pocket.

radiologic technologist salary

Most techs start in radiography or general x-ray.

This is where new graduates from x-ray programs begin their careers.

This is also the lowest-paid radiologic technologist salary in the radiology department.

I have seen technologists who work in the general x-ray department their entire career and they are completely happy.

This modality offers the ability to work in the emergency room and intensive care.

You can work in the operating room or outpatient surgery centers. You can do fluoroscopy studies and other interesting exams.

No two days will be the same routine.

Once you have worked in the x-ray department long enough, you can be cross-trained into an advanced modality.

Alternatively, you can also go back to school to learn certain advanced modalities.

Skills that can be learned on-the-job are:

If you can make it through NM school, you can be cross-trained into PET scanning and make the highest pay in the department.

Each one offers more pay, leading upwards of $45 per hour depending on location and time on the job. 

Specific shifts make more money for rad tech salary

The standard rad tech salary applies when you work a standard shift.

Standard means Monday through Friday on the day shift.

Typically 7 am to 3 pm or hours similar to that but no weekend shifts. If you choose a shift that begins later in the day, you will get paid more money.

If you choose shifts on the weekend, you will get paid even more money.

A radiologic technologist who works the night shift makes several more dollars per hour than a day shift tech.

They usually start their shift around 10 pm and get off around 7 am. To make even more money, you can work on the weekends.

So the most money you can make for any given modality would be a shift that works the night shift and on the weekends.

When I graduated x-ray school, I immediately grabbed the Friday, Saturday and Sunday night shifts at my local hospital.

They paid me the base pay for a new graduate. Then added extra pay for working the night shift.

Plus added extra pay for working the weekend shift.

I ended up with $26 per hour fresh out of x-ray school (and this was in 2005!) 

These shifts were twelve-hour shifts which are very common in healthcare.

The nice thing about these long shifts is that you get four days off in between the shifts.

Three days on… four days off.

That is an awesome schedule in my opinion.

Location of your imaging department affects radiology tech salary

Radiology technologists can be employed in many different settings.

A commonplace is a hospital or outpatient imaging center. There are also physician clinics that have their own technologists.

Each location can pay different salary ranges based on local and state factors.

You can also work for a mobile x-ray company. I interviewed a mobile xray tech who lives in Hollywood. Check out the podcast sometime to hear all the crazy stuff she’s seen with movie stars.

These mobile technologists travel around their local towns and image people in nursing homes, corporate locations and other contracted places of business.

The equipment is portable and much easier to move than traditional hospital equipment. They just load it up in a van and go.

The pay for these jobs can be hourly or based on how many exams you do per day.

Just remember that if your local, physician-owned clinic pays higher than the local hospital, you might not be taking into account the extra pay for nights and weekends.

Clinics also don’t offer on-call pay which we’ll discuss in a little bit.

For the best answers on current pay, call around and ask for pay ranges.

Experience can have a big impact on pay radiologic tech salary

When I’m hiring a technologist, the amount of experience they bring with them has a big effect on how much pay they get offered.

Someone fresh out of school in Xray may get $18-21 per hour but someone with 10 years experience could get $23-27 or more.

There is no faking experience because employers can verify resumes.

That is just one of the steps that human resource departments take is to verify everything on the resume.

It could also help if you have a bachelor’s degree instead of an associate’s degree.

An advanced degree means, in theory, you should know more than someone with a lower degree.

This makes your value go up during the interview process.

Be sure to share every bit of experience and education that you have during your interview process.

Bachelors’ degrees in radiology are becoming more commonplace now.

Licensure also makes you more valuable

radiologic technologist salary on night shift

When you graduate radiography school, you should be qualified to sit for the national license from the ARRT (American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.)

Pass that and you are worth more than if you were unlicensed.

My hospital will hire unlicensed techs right out of school but with a stipulation.

The stipulation says that you have to obtain the license within six months or you lose your job.

Obtain additional licenses and your pay will increase.

Become a licensed CT Tech, MRI or IR Tech and your pay will increase substantially.

An ultrasound technologist typically starts with licenses in obstetrics and general abdomen from the ARDMS. You can continue earning licenses in vascular, breast, quality and others.

Each one could potentially bring you more pay.

Sign up for on-call shifts to increase your radiology tech salary

Every hospital places technologists on-call for extra help.

This means you can be called into work during your off time when things get busy.

Usually, you just get called to come in and help the team get caught up. But sometimes it can be to cover entire shifts.

Either way, you make more than your regular hourly rate when you are on-call. Commonly, a rate similar to overtime pay is offered, when you get called into work.

There is also a smaller pay for just being available.

Where I work, the Standby Pay, also called On-Call Pay or Available Pay, is $3 per hour.

You can be On-Call for an entire weekend. Two 24 hour shifts of being On-Call means you get paid $3 per hour for 48 hours just to be available.

That’s $144 just to be “available” to work.

Then if you get called in, you get the overtime pay for however long you work.

This is a terrific way to increase your income if that is something you are looking for.

Things to remember about radiology tech salary when interviewing

Make sure the employer knows all of your skills, abilities, and education.

Go prepared with a resume and dress professionally. Be well-groomed and bright-eyed, not tired.

My favorite question to ask in an interview: “What did you do to prepare for this interview.”

Most people have no answer to this question.

Also, do some research before your interview.

  • How many beds does the hospital have?
  • How long has it been in business?
  • What communities does it serve?

All of this information can usually be found on the company website. Know these answers and you will stand out from the other candidates.

Ask if the facility cross-trains staff or only hires from outside for advanced modalities.

Express interests in advanced modalities, if that is your interest, but be clear that you intend to spend a few years perfecting your skills in general x-ray before you think about moving on.

If you do ultimately get offered the job, never accept your first offer. Ask for a small bump from what you are offered, like a quarter more per hour at least.

Even if they decline your requested increase, you can still accept the job. No harm in trying for a raise.


Radiology tech salary varies greatly based on

  • where you work,
  • what shift you work, and
  • if you pick up any extra hours on-call or extra shifts.

You can count on a base pay rate between $50-60,000 per year but have the potential to make much, much more depending on how you structure the things I just mentioned.

If you want help on how to negotiate your pay, shoot me an email. I’d be glad to help.

Remember, the first rule of business is to never accept the first offer they give you.

Always counteroffer, even if it is only $0.25 per hour.

Good luck and as always, I hope this helps. If you have any more questions send me an email [email protected]

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