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Demand for techs soars, salaries follow

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A long streak of increases in both demand and salaries has favored radiologists. Imaging technologists are following suit, according to a recent survey conducted by Allied Consulting in Dallas.The average salary for a radiologic technologist grew from

A long streak of increases in both demand and salaries has favored radiologists. Imaging technologists are following suit, according to a recent survey conducted by Allied Consulting in Dallas.

The average salary for a radiologic technologist grew from $42,000 in 2000 to $47,000 in 2002. The average high-end salary grew from $52,000 in 2000 to $66,000 in 2002. Nuclear medicine technologists and sonographers enjoyed an average increase in high-end salary of about $15,000 between 2000 and 2002.

Imaging technology advancements in the past decade drastically increased the number of CT, MRI, ultrasound, nuclear medicine, and mammography studies. This, in turn, created a specialized demand for imaging services that need certified operators. The general radiology technologist is a thing of the past, said John Hawkins, Allied Consulting's vice president. Unfortunately, not enough training programs are available to support the demand for technologists.

One way the radiology community is addressing the shortage of both radiologists and technologists is through the concept of the supertech - physician extenders who perform many ancillary radiological duties, thereby freeing up the doctors to read and interpret more films.

Radiology practitioner assistants command between $60,000 and $105,000 annually, twice the salary of RTs, according to Jane Van Valkenburg, Ph.D., director of the RPA program at Weber State University in Ogden, UT. The American College of Radiology expects the salary of its newly created version of the supertech - the radiology assistant - to be comparable to that of the RPA.

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