What Is the Salary for Entry-Level Medical Imaging Jobs?

A medical imaging salary varies by position, as there are several different entry-level careers in the field. Explore some of these different medical imaging career options, their salaries, and general requirements. Schools offering Diagnostic Medical Sonography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Medical Imaging Salary

According to PayScale.com, the average annual salary for a medical imaging technologist, as of December 2019, was $53,672. However, this salary can vary by factors like employer, location, work experience, and job title. Medical imaging is a broad subfield in medicine, and therefore, we explore some of the different entry-level careers in medical imaging that only require an associate's degree and their salaries in more depth below.

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Salary

Diagnostic medical sonographers use medical equipment to produce sonograms or ultrasounds of a patient's internal organs and tissues to help physicians diagnose various conditions. These sonographers may specialize in taking sonograms of different areas of the body or working with different populations, such as pediatric sonographers, breast sonographers, and vascular sonographers.

PayScale.com reported that entry-level diagnostic medical sonographers made an average annual salary of $50,341 or an hourly rate of $25.19, as of October 2019. In 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that diagnostic medical sonographers made an average annual salary of $73,860. The majority of these professionals worked in general medical and surgical hospitals where they made an average salary of $74,180, but those that worked in outpatient care centers made the highest average of $88,820.

The BLS also groups cardiovascular technologists and technicians with diagnostic medical sonographers, but these professionals focus on creating images of a patient's heart and lungs. In 2018, these professionals made an average annual salary of $58,730.

Medical Radiography Salaries

The primary careers within medical radiography include radiologic technologists and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technologists. Radiologic technologists are responsible for taking medical images of patients using x-rays or computed tomography (CT) imaging (CAT scans). PayScale.com stated that the hourly wage for a radiologic technologist with less than 1 year of work experience was $20.34 in 2019. In 2018, the BLS reported that radiologic technologists made an average annual salary of $61,540. Those that worked in scientific research and development services made the highest average of $81,190 the same year.

MRI technologists specialize in using MRI scanners to create medical images. These technologists made an average annual salary of $72,230 in 2018, per the BLS. Those that worked in outpatient care centers made the highest annual salary of $86,740.

Nuclear Medicine Technologist Salary

Nuclear medicine technologists also operate medical imaging equipment, but must first inject their patients with radioactive drugs to highlight abnormal areas in organs and tissues. Nuclear medicine technologists with less than 1 year of work experience made an hourly wage of $26.68 in 2019, per PayScale.com. These technologists made an average annual salary of $78,870 in 2018, according to the BLS. Outpatient care centers again offered the highest average annual salary for these technologists at $106,380 in 2018.

Medical Imaging Career Information

The different careers in medical imaging discussed above typically require an associate's degree and certification/licensure in the particular field of medical imaging. For example, becoming a registered diagnostic cardiac sonographer usually requires a different associate's degree and certification than becoming a CAT scan technologist. Most schools do not offer online associate's degrees in sonography, radiography, and other areas of medical imaging due to the hands-on nature of these fields. Licensure or certification usually requires passing an exam through a national organization in the specific field.

Most medical imaging technologists work full-time, but some may be required to work evenings and/or weekends, depending on the needs of their patients. These technologists often need to take precautions in their career to protect against radiation from the imaging devices they use and/or from infectious diseases their patients may be carrying.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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