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 10,000 physicians across nearly 30 specialties.
In that survey, physicians revealed that they fared better in 2022 than in 2021 overall, but they still had to deal with pandemic-related issues like tough workloads and long hours. The 2023 Doximity report, though, showed that the average physician's salary actually dropped 2.4% in the past year, thanks in large part to Medicare cuts.
Let's dive into the salary details for radiologists.
Radiologist Average Salary
Radiologists were among the top-earning doctors with an average salary of $483,000, far exceeding their average of $437,000 from the 2022 report. That's an increase of 10.3%, which followed a rise of 6% from 2021 to 2022.
As seen in the chart above, radiology is still one of the best-paid specialties in all of medicine.
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Is Radiologist Income Rising?
When compared to other specialties, radiologists had a nice jump in pay in 2023. In 2022, radiology was in the middle of the pack when it came to increases in income with a 6% rise between 2021 and 2022. This year, that average number rose by 10%, the same as anesthesiology, critical care, and urology.
For comparison's sake, only oncology (a 13% increase) and gastroenterology (11%) had a larger increase than radiology. Keep in mind, though, that plenty of specialties—including ophthalmology (a 7% decrease), emergency medicine (6%), and nephrology (6%)—saw their salaries decrease.
Since the 2015 Medscape report, radiologists have reported that their salary has increased by 38%.
Do Radiologists Have Incentive Bonuses?
Many radiologists reported receiving incentive bonuses in 2023. Overall, more than half 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 $80,000, an increase from $66,000 in the prior year. That’s roughly 17% 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.
The majority of radiologists did not report taking on extra work to supplement their income beyond earning incentive bonuses. Only 37% of radiologists chose to take on extra work, which is in line with other specialties.
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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—58% said they felt like their pay was fair. That places them in the top third of all specialties. Keep in mind, though, that in last year's survey, 63% of radiologists said they felt fairly compensated. So, the trend on this question is not necessarily a great one.
Still, 70% of all radiologists who were surveyed said they would choose medicine again if they could have a re-do, and 90% said they would find their way back to radiology. That's only slightly down from the 92% from last year.
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: $503,000
- 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!