By T.J. Porter, WCI Contributor
Healthcare is an incredibly varied field. Though pay for doctors tends to be quite high compared to the national average, how much you make can depend heavily on your specialty. Radiologists are among the higher-earning physician specialties, ranking in the top 10, according to a Medscape survey that included more than 13,000 physicians across nearly 30 specialties.
In that survey, physicians revealed that they fared better in 2022 than 2021 overall, but they still had to deal with pandemic-related issues like tough workloads and long hours.
Let's dive into the salary details for radiologists.
Radiologist Average Salary
Radiologists were among the top-earning doctors with an average salary of $437,000 in 2022. This is up from the average earnings of $413,000 in 2021, an increase of 6%.
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Financial Advice for High-Income Doctors
Is Radiologist Income Rising?
Radiology is in the middle of the pack when it comes to increases in income. Like pulmonary medicine, nephrology, infectious disease, and pathology, the average pay in radiology rose by about 6% between 2021 and 2022.
This is better than critical care, which saw just a 1% increase in pay, but far below otolaryngology, the specialization with the fastest pay increases at 13%.
Keep in mind that inflation plays a role here. The annual inflation rate during the surveyed period was 4.7%, which means the average purchasing power for radiologists increase by just 1.3%.
Some radiologists also experienced a decrease in income. Roughly 20% of physicians saw their income fall in 2022 with more people blaming factors other than COVID-19 for a falling income than did in 2020 and 2021.
Do Radiologists Have Incentive Bonuses?
Many radiologists reported receiving incentive bonuses in 2022. Overall, 57% of physicians have some type of incentive-based compensation. For radiologists, incentive pay can make up a large portion of overall income. The average incentive bonus for radiologists was $66,000. That’s roughly 15% of the average income reported for the specialty. Those radiology bonuses are also more than twice as much as specialties like family medicine, internal medicine, neurology, and pediatrics received.
Though it makes up a large part of total compensation, the average incentive bonus was actually smaller than in 2021, when it was $69,000.
The majority of radiologists did not report taking on extra work to supplement their income beyond earning incentive bonuses. Only 36% of radiologists chose to take on extra work, which is in line with other specialties.
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Do Self-Employed Radiologists Make More Money?
Many physicians choose to be self-employed rather than work for a hospital, health system, or other organization.
In radiology, those looking to maximize their income may prefer to work as an employee rather than being self-employed. The average income for an employed radiologist in 2022 was $463,000 compared to $419,000 for self-employed radiologists.
Across all specialties, though, self-employed physicians reported 20% more income than those who work for an employer. Employed radiologists, however, earned 11% more than their self-employed counterparts.
Do Radiologists Feel Fairly Compensated?
Though getting paid well and increasing your income is important, it’s also important to feel like you’re receiving fair compensation for the work that you do.
In Medscape’s survey, the majority of radiologists reported feeling fairly compensated. Sixty-three percent said they felt like their pay was fair while just 37% reported not feeling fairly compensated.
This puts radiologists near the top when it comes to satisfaction with their pay. Only five specialties were higher on the list, including oncology, plastic surgery, and psychiatry. The least-satisfied specialties are nephrology, with only 42% satisfaction, and diabetes and endocrinology, with 46% satisfaction.
The Medscape survey is not the end-all and be-all of physician salary data. There are other sources out there, and our recommended contract review firms use them to help ensure you are getting paid what you're worth. Other average salary numbers you can find from surveys done about the same time as the Medscape survey include:
- MGMA: $563,549 ($571,934 interventional)
- AAMC: $430,000 ($475,000 interventional; this survey only includes academics)
- Doximity: $495,451
- Merritt Hawkins: $401,000
- AMGA: $512,918
Increasing Your Physician Income
Though radiologists are among the highest-earning specialties and they tend to be happy with the amount they make, that’s no reason not to take steps to increase their income.
One of the best ways to boost your income is to negotiate with your employer. Many doctors wind up with bad contracts that leave them improperly or poorly compensated and saddle them with high costs and non-compete agreements that limit their future opportunities. Working with your employer to increase your compensation is important.
If you’re about to negotiate a new contract, it’s in your best interest to work with an attorney who can assist with your negotiations and review any paperwork you receive before you sign. The White Coat Investor has a list of vetted attorneys and law firms to work with to make sure you get a good deal.
If you're a radiologist, do these numbers track with your experience? Are you satisfied with your job? How could you go about making more money? Comment below!