The base salary for a radiologist

Written by john kibilko
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The base salary for a radiologist
Radiologists are among the highest paid of all physicians, both at the beginning and throughout their careers. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

The majority of radiologists work as diagnostic radiologists, although some are employed as, or have private practices in, interventional radiology, meaning that they perform procedures such as biopsies, angioplasties and angiograms. Radiologists in all specialities and sub-specialities are among the highest paid of all doctors, in part due to a shortage of radiologists during the late 1990s and into the 2000s. Starting salaries for radiologists also are among the highest for physician specialists.

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Education & Training

As MDs or DOs, radiologists must complete an undergraduate degree followed by four years of medical school and four to five years of residency training. Some radiologists do additional residency or fellowship training if they choose a sub-speciality, such as nuclear medicine or paediatric radiology.

Starting Radiologist Salary

The average salary of radiologists with less than five years experience increased from £173,501 in 2007 to £238,496 in 2008, according to a Locum Tenens 2010 survey. In 2009, the average salary dipped to £231,643 and dropped further in 2010 to £216,060. Using May 2011 data, reports a 10th percentile salary of £177,882, representing the lower end of the radiologist pay scale and encompassing many first-year radiologists. An Allied Physicians 2006 survey showed an average salary of £130,650 for first-year radiologists, £230,100 for radiologists during their second and third years of practice, and a maximum salary of £592,150.

Resident Radiology Salary

The VCU Medical Center on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University pays its 2010-2011 radiology residents £29,916 during PGY-2, or postgraduate year two, not including benefits. During PGY 3, the salary is £30,994, during PGY 4 the pay rate is £31,577, during PGY 5 it’s £33,025 and in PGY 6 the salary is £34,337. A survey of radiology residents conducted by rad Rounds, in conjunction with a physician recruiting firm, showed a range of salaries offered to radiology residents of £146,250 to £253,500. A 2008 Merritt Hawkins survey — at the height of a radiology physician shortage — revealed an average base salary offer of £260,650 for recruited radiologists, with a low offer of £149,500 and a top-end offer of £487,500. These figures don’t include signing bonuses. A companion survey by Merritt Hawkins showed that diagnostic residents expected to make a first-year salary of at least £163,150.

Average Radiologist Salary

The Locum Tenens survey, while showing a 2010 average salary of £216,060 for radiologists with less than five years on the job, also shows an average salary of £268,210 for radiologists with six to 10 years experience and £260,011 for those with more than 10 years experience. A Medscape 2011 survey reports a median salary of £227,500 for radiologists in 2010, with 39 per cent of all respondents reporting an income of more than £260,000 a year. Male radiologists had a median salary of £234,000 and women earned median salaries of £208,000. Interventional radiologists earned a median income of £310,700 a year, according to the Physician Compensation Survey conducted by the American Medical Group Association. Non-interventional diagnostic radiologists earned £295,233 annually. Figures are base salaries and don’t include profit-sharing, production compensation and other forms of remuneration.

Geography as a Factor

A 2010 survey by the Medical Group Management Association, as reported in an article in Career Tool Kits, shows the highest median salary for radiologists in the South — £30,225 — just ahead of the Midwest at £301,878. The western part of the United States had a median radiologist salary of £289,250 and the East paid £281,704. Cities with populations of 50,000 to 250,000 paid the highest median radiologist salary at £321,462, followed by small cities of less than 50,000 residents at £305,066. Cities of more than 1 million people had the lowest pay rate at £289,305 a year.

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