X-ray technicians, sometimes referred to as radiographers or radiographic technologists, are medical professionals who are trained to produce images of internal body systems and parts through the application of X-rays. Most common training programs for X-ray technicians last for approximately two years and involve coursework accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology. There is no national licensing requirement for X-ray technicians. Most states require X-ray technicians to be licensed, although the actual licensing requirements may vary from state to state.
Radiologic technologists and technicians from across the United States earned a median hourly wage of $25.59 as of May 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Hourly wages ranged from less than $17.16 to more than $36.27. The mean hourly wage for this occupation was $26.05. Numerous factors may influence an X-ray technician's pay rate, including geographic location and type of employer.
Radiologic technologists and technicians working in Massachusetts earned the highest mean hourly wage of all the states at $32.95 per hour as of May 2009, according to the BLS. Those working in Maryland, the District of Columbia, Nevada and Hawaii earned in excess of $31.00 per hour. The highest mean hourly wages in the country for radiologic technologists and technicians were in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metropolitan area of California at $37.64.
Most X-ray technicians worked in general medical or surgical hospitals, physicians' offices, laboratories and outpatient care centers. Mean hourly wages for technicians in these work environments ranges from $24.45 to $27.53. Higher wages were offered by less traditional employers such as scientific research and development centers and specialty hospitals. Mean hourly wages from these employers ranged from $28.04 to $31.16, but job opportunities were limited.
Experience can play a significant role in determining the wages of an X-ray technician. Those just starting out in their career may expect to earn between $11.79 and $17.09 per hour, as of January 2011, according to PayScale.com. X-ray technicians with more than five years on the job may earn between $17.78 and $23.72 per hour. X-ray techs with more than 20 years experience may command more than $29.00 per hour.