Career as a Radiologist
By Diane Turner
So you want to become a radiologist. Well, this is a very intriguing profession and one that requires great analytical skills and an eye for detail. Radiologists are well paid and they should be given the scope of their job. Before we can delve into discussing how much they are paid every year, it is probably best to first begin by discussing who a radiologist is and what he or she does.
A radiologist is a medical doctor (MD) who’s area of specialty lies in diagnostics and treating ailments as well as injuries. Also referred to as (DOs) or doctors of osteopathic medicine, radiologists carry about their duties with the use of medical imaging technology and these include: magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), position emission tomography (PET), x-rays, ultrasound and nuclear medicine scans just to mention a few.
If you are interested in becoming a radiologist, you will need to be licensed by the American Osteopathic Board of Radiology or the American Board of Radiology. However this comes after extensive schooling. Like any other medical profession, you will need to go through the premed phase which is a four year undergraduate program. Your undergraduate should include courses such as biology, biochemistry, organic chemistry and more. You then need to get into medical school and attain your Medical Doctorate either as an MD or DO after which you have another three or more years in residency and internship program. A radiologist can only practice whenlicensed and this means that there are no shortcuts when it comes to education and you are basically looking at more than 10 years post secondary education.
Most radiologists are employed in hospitals and their profession largely revolves around trying to identify what is ailing the patient through a series of imaging exams. Their profession is non invasive as they mainly use technology to have a closer look at the bones, tissues, blood vessels and other organs in the body. This means that they are often in contact with radioactive material due to the medical imaging equipment. There are various fields that a radiologist can choose to specialize in and these include: pediatric radiology, neuroradiology, angiography, cardiovascular-interventional radiology, and nuclear medicine amongst others.
When it comes to their salaries, radiologists are well compensated and average salary of a radiologist is $325,438. The profession has also developed progressively over the past few years and though it is unclear as to how many radiologists are in the in the US, as of 2006 this figure stood at 633,000. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the profession has a great outlook on employment and its growth is expected to rise to 14% in the next three years.
Radiologist Average Salary
According to the American Association of Medical College, the averagesalary of a radiologist is $325,438. As you can see these are top earners and it’s safe to say that radiologists are one of the most highly paid individuals in the medical profession. However this number could be more or less depending on various factors such as place of employment, location/state as well as experience. It is also important to note that though that is the average salary for radiologists, fresh graduates are paid much less and the average starting salary is $50,000. That said; the amount is not bad at all considering many professions have their top earners earning just about that amount.
Radiologist Salary Factors and Influences
As was indicated above, there are many factors that influence thesalary of a radiologist and these factors are listed below.
As mentioned above, the starting salary of a recently graduated radiologist begins at $50,000 while the average radiologist salary is $328,438. As you can see the difference is stark and what this indicates is that experience has a major role to play in this field. It is a complex medical profession and one that is very demanding as well. Hospitals and medical facilities therefore offer the best remuneration packages to radiologists who have the experience. In fact, there are radiologists who earn as much as $50,000 annually.
Besides experience there is also the location factor. If you are looking to get into this profession, you need to begin planning your career based on location. Certain states pay more than others and some of the best cities to work as a radiologist include, New York, Kansas, Chicago and Atlanta just to mention a few. Getting the best salary even if it is just at the starting point of your career can greatly increase depending on where you are situated.
Where you work also plays a vital role. Industries that pay radiologists the most include: healthcare, manufacturing as well as finance and insurance. Radiologists make the least in educational services, scientific and technical services. Below is a brief list of some of the employment sectors and how much aradiologist can earn in the sectors:
Average salary in Hospital: $77,000 to $336,000
Average salary in Healthcare: $83,000-$338,000
Average salary in Medical Offices: $93,000 to $331,000
Average salary in Acute Care Hospitals: $96,000 to $345,000
You will also be surprised to learn that gender may also affect your pay slip. According to a recent survey, female physicians earn 40% less than their male counterparts. This is a report that has generated outcry amongst female physicians who say that they work just as hard as male physicians yet are so unjustly discriminated. This report however suggested that this large salary gap could be due to various reasons which include lifestyle decisions that lead to women working less hours and choice of specialty as well.
Last but certainly not least, the job title or specialized profession also tends to influence the pay. As mentioned earlier on, there are different areas of specialization in this field and a radiology department manager is bound to make more than other radiologists in his or her department.
Radiologist Salary Compared To Related Fields
Radiologists are top earners when compared other professionals in the medical field. Below is a comparison list of what related professionals earn annually.
Average Radiologist Salary: $325,438
Average Orthopedic Salary: $315,000
Average Cardiologist Salary: $314,000
Average Plastic Surgeon Salary: $270,000
Average Gynecologist Salary: $220,000
Average Psychiatrist Salary: $170,000
Average Pediatrician Salary: $156,000
Radiologist Salary by State
Having identified that radiologists are the top earners in the medical profession, it is also important to give you a list of the best places to gain employment as a radiologist. Below is a list of the best paying states in the US:
Radiologist Salary in Minnesota:$218, 180
Radiologist Salary in Indiana: $212,200
Radiologist Salary in Georgia: $209,380
Radiologist Salary in New Hampshire: $206,980
Radiologist Salary in Nevada: $205,410
Radiologist Salary in Alabama: $202,950
Radiologist Salary in California: $355,000
Radiologist Salary in Texas: $310,000
Radiologist Salary in New York: $454,710
Knowing the most popular cities for radiologists could also help you get a better salary and below are just some of the popular cities for radiologists.
Average Salary in New York City: $365,000
Average Salary in Seattle WA: 340,000
Average Salary in Miami, FL: 335,000
Average Salary in Los Angeles, CA: $355,000
Average Salary in Kansas City, MO: $229,281
Average Salary in Chicago, IL: $100,841
Average Salary in Atlanta, GA: $212,500
Average Salary in Houston, TX: $125,000
Radiologist Types of Salaries
Your area of specialization has major influence as to how much you can earn as a radiologist. This is because different areas of specialization come with different workloads and requirements. Below are some of the fields in radiology and the salaries they command.
Abdominal Radiologist: Average Salary: $130,000
As the name suggests, this radiology field focuses on the abdominal parts of the body. This includes the stomach and pelvis area. Abdominal radiologists are also sometimes tasked to perform chest radiology.
Cardiothoracic Radiologist: Average Salary: $532,567
This radiology specialty is all about the heart and blood vessels. Cardiothoracic radiologists spend most of their time identifying diseases with imaging on the heart and lungs with the use of x-rays and other imaging technology.
Endovascular Surgery Radiology: Average Salary: $315,000
Endovascular surgery radiology is a fast growing radiology field and one that is mainly focused on blood vessels. The radiologists perform minimally invasive surgery using latest technology.
Musculoskeletal Radiologist: Average Salary: $230,000
Musculoskeletal radiology is a field that focuses on the skeletal system and the muscles as well. This field mainly handles fractures and poor bone formation to identify where the problem lies.
Neuroradiology: Average Salary: $224,343
Neuroradiology is tasked with providing diagnosis and treatment on patients with defects or problems in their spinal cord or brains. This field employs the use of MRIs, CT scans, x-rays and ultrasound machines.
Nuclear Radiologist: Average Salary: $180,000
Nuclear radiology is a radiology field that uses radioactive material in imaging, diagnosis and treatment. PET scans, CT scans and gamma imaging are the most commonly used equipment in this field.
As you can see different jobs in the radiology filed come with different salaries. Diagnostic radiology commands an average salary scale of $345,917 while interventional radiologists take home an average salary of $492,102.
History of Radiology
This intricate world of radiology was first initiated in 1895 after the discovery of x-ray imaging. X-rays were then referred to as Rontgen rays and this was named in respect to Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen who was the first person to describe properties in the rays to full detail. As you may have noticed the term X was not present and this was because the rays were largely unknown, however later on the term x-rays was coined.
Radiography was first used to aid a surgery procedure in Birmingham by Major John Hall Edwards who was the pioneer of what we now know as medical x-rays. Radiation was however put into use long before the dangers of radiation were identified. Since then technology has evolved and we now use radiology to diagnose and treat patients. One of the most prominent moments in history when it comes to this medical field is when Marie Curie advocated for the use of radiography to treat World War I soldiers. At the time, the practice was not just reserved for radiologists and was conducted by nurses, doctors, engineers and even photographers. This has however changed and radiology is now a distinct profession that calls for specialization in the field before you can be licensed to treat any patient. Today we have several fields in the radiology profession.
Radiology Salary Outlook – Conclusion
Radiologists without a doubt enjoy a high paying profession. Given the fact that they undergo thorough training in their educational level, this pay is worth it. The competition to get radiology residency in the US is fierce and the number of students pursuing this profession is also on the increase. It is safe to say that this generous pay scale has a lot to do with the increasing interest. The fact that there is no shortage of jobs in this sector also plays a vital role in the remuneration. One of the major points that came across in this topic is the fact that location plays such a vital role in the average salary a radiologist receives annually. We saw cities such as New York offering fantasticsalaries to theirradiologists. All in all it is very hard to find a radiologist earning less than $50,000. This is a good package by all means especially at starting level.
Though the average salary for a radiologist is $325,438, it is also important to note that different agencies have reached different average salary amounts. Some records even indicate that this figure may have risen by more than $100,000. However, these are merely individual reports and it is therefore best to work with the salaries by state if you are looking to find out just how much you are worth. Factors such as specialization, location and even gender have come into play when it comes to identifying how much radiologists are paid.
In conclusion, radiologists have great prospectscareer wise and career growth is almostinevitable. The need for these healthcare professionals cannot be ignored and this is not only a profession that guarantees a great income but job security as well.