Survey reveals pay and perks for radiologic technologists

By: John Hawkins

What types of imaging technologists are in greatest demand today? What types of incentives are employers using to recruit technologists, and how can radiologists and other employers ensure that the incentives they are offering are competitive?

To answer these and other questions, Allied Consulting conducts an annual review of the incentives its clients use to recruit imaging technologists and other allied health professionals. Now in its sixth year, Allied Consulting’s review of allied healthcare professional recruiting incentives is widely referenced throughout healthcare staffing circles as an indicator of what incentives are customary and competitive in allied professional recruiting today.

The 2003 review examines the recruiting incentives offered in over 1,260 permanent professional search assignments that Allied Consulting conducted throughout the U.S. in 2002. Over 38% of these assignments were for imaging professionals, up from 30% in 2001. This growth rate demonstrates an increasing demand for imaging technologists, who have superceded pharmacists and certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) as the most coveted type of allied healthcare professional in the market today.

The chart below indicates the number of permanent search assignments Allied Consulting conducted for imaging technologists in 2002 and 2001, and shows the relative change in the number of these assignments:

Number of technologist job searches, 2001-2002
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Type of technologist Number of job searches  
  2001 2002 % change
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Radiation therapist 44 102 +131%
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X-ray tech 89 159 +78%
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Dosimetrist 9 16 +78%
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Physicist 10 16 +60%
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Nuclear med tech 71 92 +30%
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CT tech 33 41 +24%
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Vascular tech 8 9 13%
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Ultrasound sonographer 83 87 +5%
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Mammographer N/A 18 N/A
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Of the various modalities, demand for radiation therapists grew the fastest in 2002. The number of searches Allied Consulting conducted for radiation therapists increased from 44 to 102, a growth rate of 131%. Rising demand for radiation therapists is driven in part by rising cancer survival rates, which have created a larger population of patients requiring therapy services.

In addition, improved treatments for heart disease and other illnesses are prolonging the lives of patients who may eventually develop cancer. Sites of service for radiation therapists, which number about 4,500 today, are growing rapidly, and all must draw from a limited pool of some 14,000 candidates. While radiation therapy services used to be the exclusive province of large, urban hospitals, treatment centers are increasingly being built in smaller communities seeking to improve care for an aging patient base.

The demand for radiologic technologists also rose last year, driven by global trends such as the aging population and increased sites of service. While the number of searches Allied Consulting conducted for CT, ultrasound, and other technologists did not increase as dramatically in 2002, demand for these modalities has significantly increased over the last four years and remains strong.

In general, salaries offered to imaging technologists are increasing as demand for their services grows. The table below indicates low, average, and high salary offers made to imaging technologists in the permanent search assignments Allied Consulting represented in 2001 and 2002.

Salary offers made to technologists, 2001-2002
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X-ray technologist Low Average High
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2001 $37,000 $43,680 $60,000
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2002 $36,000 $47,683 $66,000
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Radiation therapist Low Average High
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2001 $45,000 $49,500 $54,000
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2002 $35,360 $60,500 $94,000
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Nuclear med tech Low Average High
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2001 $42,000 $50,400 $56,000
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2002 $40,000 $53,200 $70,000
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Ultrasound sonographer Low Average High
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2001 $37,000 $51,000 $60,000
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2002 $31,000 $53,635 $75,000
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CT tech Low Average High
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2001 $40,000 $50,000 $65,000
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2002 $40,000 $53,200 $69,000
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Mammographer Low Average High
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2001 N/A N/A N/A
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2002 $25,000 $46,120 $62,000
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Physicist - medical Low Average High
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2001 $75,000 $111,700 $160,000
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2002 $78,000 $124,000 $165,000
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Dosimetrist Low Average High
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2001 $55,000 $66,000 $105,000
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2002 $55,000 $78,000 $110,000
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Vascular technologist Low Average High
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2001 N/A N/A N/A
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2002 $45,000 $55,800 $75,000
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Average salary offers made to radiation therapists increased by 22% from 2001 to 2002, while offers made to dosimetrists, physicists, x-ray techs, vascular techs, and CT techs grew by 18%, 11%, 9.5%, 7.5% and 6.4%, respectively.

While salaries comprise the "base" of recruiting offers made to imaging technologists, incentive packages usually include other perks and benefits, such as signing bonuses, CEU, etc. The table below outlines other features of incentive packages offered in the searches Allied Consulting conducted in 2002.

Technologist perks and benefits packages, 2002
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Signing bonus offered Yes No  
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  81% 19%  
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Amount of bonus Low Average High
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  $1,000 $2,500 $20,000
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Relocation payment Yes No  
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  99.5% 0.5%  
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Amount of relocation Low Average High
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  $1,000 $4,200 $11,000
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Pay for continuing education units Yes No  
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  86% 14%  
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Amount of CEU payments Low Average High
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  $250 $1,300 $2,500
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Additional technologist benefits
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Health insurance 100%
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Liability insurance 99%
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Pension/Retirement 80%
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Disability insurance 71%
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Dental insurance 54%
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Loan forgiveness 9%
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Certainly standard and customary compensation packages vary regionally, but it is important to consider that the demand for imaging technologists is national in scope, and that technologists can choose from opportunities that are available around the country.

Therefore, it is important to keep national rather than local standards in mind when developing incentive packages. In addition, the work environment plays just as important a role in recruiting as does the incentive package. Employers who offer technologists cross-training, flexible schedules, new equipment, and professional respect will greatly increase their chances of success.

By John Hawkins
AuntMinnie.com contributing writer
May 29, 2003

John Hawkins is vice president of Allied Consulting, a national healthcare staffing firm based in Irving, TX. He can be reached at [email protected]. For a free copy of Allied Consulting’s 2003 Review of Allied Health Care Professional Recruiting Incentives, call 800-262-4194 or access www.alliednet.com.

Related Reading

ASTRO reports rad therapy staff shortages, May 28, 2003

SalaryScan survey: Subspecialization pays off for radiology professionals, March 13, 2003

Salary survey: U.S. radiologists make hay in southern states, June 10, 2002

Radiologists find new recruiting incentives in tight employment market, December 12, 2002

'Traveler' jobs broaden opportunities for RTs, November 4, 2002

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