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

Some popular entry-level positions in medical imaging include radiographer, diagnostic medical sonographer and nuclear medicine technologist. Read on for a look at these medical imaging careers and their entry-level salaries. Schools offering Diagnostic Medical Sonography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Medical Imaging Salary Overview

Your entry-level salary as a medical imaging specialist depends on your education, location, type of employer and specialty. In general, your salary and job opportunities are better if you've completed an associate's or bachelor's degree program as opposed to earning a certificate or diploma. Your salary may also vary according to your medical imaging specialty, as with the three jobs described in this article.

Important Facts About These Occupations

Radiographer Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Nuclear Technologist
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 12% (radiologic technologists) 23% 10%
Required Education Associate's degree Associate's degree Associate's degree; bachelor's degree is also common
Licensure/Certification Licensure is required in some states Licensure is required in several states; professional certification is preferred by employers Licensure required in some states; certification required by some employers
Similar Occupations Radiation therapist Medical and clinical laboratory technologist Cardiovascular technologist

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the average salary for radiologic technologists of all experience levels was 61,540 in May 2018 (www.bls.gov). In addition, these workers made average wages of $62,650 working in hospitals and $55,990 working in physicians' offices. The BLS reported that California employed the most radiologic technologists of any state and offered an average wage of $81,060, which was the highest of any state.

A radiographer works with medical imaging technology to produce x-ray images of a patient's internal organs, bones and other structures. You may also work with computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, and experience with that equipment may increase your salary. As a radiographer, you position radiographic machinery and patients for the best possible image. You must have knowledge of human biology, radiation science and radiation safety to protect the patient and yourself.

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

According to PayScale.com in May 2019, the median wage for entry-level diagnostic medical sonographers was $50,127. In May 2018, the BLS reported an average wage of $73,860 for diagnostic medical sonographers of all experience levels. While general hospitals paid an average wage of $74,180, physicians' offices paid an average wage of $72,100. California employed the most diagnostic medical sonographers and offered an average wage of $92,660. The average wage was $94,350 in Hawaii, which offered the highest average wage for these professionals.

A diagnostic medical sonographer specializes in operating ultrasound equipment to produce an image of a patient's internal organs. Ultrasound equipment uses sound waves rather than radiation; therefore, it's safer for patients who face risks with more invasive medical imaging techniques.

Nuclear Medicine Technologist

PayScale.com reported in May 2019 that the median wage for these professionals was $60,082. The BLS reported in May 2018 that the average salary for nuclear medicine technologists of all experience levels was $78,870. Average wages were $78,590 for general hospitals and $78,230 for physicians' offices. Florida had the highest employment level and offered an average wage of $72,090. On the other hand, California offered the highest average wage of $112,040.

As in other medical imaging careers, much of your time working as a nuclear medicine technologist is spent interacting directly with patients. You may explain procedures, administer nuclear pharmaceuticals and position patients for best possible imaging. Because much of your work may involve exposure to low amounts of radiation, you're trained in important radiation safety measures, as well as the practical skills needed for the job.

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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