Nursing Wages vs. Radiology Tech Wages

by Aurelio Locsin; Updated September 26, 2017
Hospitals are typical workplaces for both nurses and radiology techs.

Both radiology techs and nurses work under the supervision of doctors and are necessary for medical treatment. The former helps to uncover medical conditions through advanced imaging technology, while the latter provides bedside and long-term care, as well as patient education. The salaries for these positions depend on the type of job and employer.

Registered Nurses

Registered nurses, or RNs, enter their positions with either associate or bachelor’s degrees. They may provide treatment programs in consultation with doctors or supervise junior nurses. Their median salary is $63,750 yearly, with a range of $43,970 to $93,700. This is equivalent to $30.65 per hour, with a range of $21.14 to $45.05. The biggest employers of RNs are general medical and surgical hospitals with more than 50 percent of the 2.5 million positions filled by nurses. They pay $32.57 per hour or $67,740 per year. The employers paying the highest salaries are medical equipment and supplies manufacturers at $37.44 per hour or $77,870 per year. However, they offer only 50 positions, making them harder to break into. All information is as of May 2009 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS. These are the latest government statistics available.

Radiology Techs

Radiology techs use diagnostic equipment such as X-ray machines or CAT scanners to produce an image of a patient’s body at the request of a doctor. These images are used to diagnose medical conditions and to develop treatment programs. Radiology techs earn a median salary of $53,240 per year, with a range of $35,700 to $75,440. This breaks down to $25.59 per hour, with a range of $17.16 to $36.27. Their biggest employers are general medical and surgical hospitals with almost 60 percent of 213,560 positions. Compensation here is at $26.33 per hour or $54,770 per year. The highest paying employers are scientific research and development services at $31.16 per hour or $64,800 per year, but with only 180 jobs. In all cases, the salaries are less than those of RNs.

Licensed Practical Nurses

Licensed practical nurses, or LPNs, can enter their profession after one year of training. Thus, while they may perform many of the same duties as RNs on hospital floors, they require greater supervision either by physicians or by RNs. Most provide basic bedside care, such as taking and recording vital signs, giving injections and medications, and keeping patients comfortable. They earn less than RNs or radiology techs at $39,820 per year, with a range of $28,890 to $55,090. This is equal to $19.14 per hour, with a range of $13.89 to $26.49. Their biggest employers are nursing care facilities with 29 percent of the 728,670 jobs. They pay $20.34 per hour or $42,320 per year. The highest paying employers are employment services with pay of $22.21 per hour or $46,190 per year, and with 36,540 jobs.

Outlook

The BLS states that the job outlook for these three professions is expected to increase from 2008 to 2018 at 22 percent for registered nurses, 17 percent for radiology techs and 21 percent for licensed practical nurses. In all cases, this is faster than average and should produce faster than average growth in compensation. Much of the demand will come from an aging population that will require more medical care and testing. Prospects will be excellent, especially for nurses, where demand for professionals typically exceeds the supply of graduates.

About the Author

Aurelio Locsin has been writing professionally since 1982. He published his first book in 1996 and is a frequent contributor to many online publications, specializing in consumer, business and technical topics. Locsin holds a Bachelor of Arts in scientific and technical communications from the University of Washington.

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