Radiologist Salary Report: Compared by Region and Specialty

Overall, radiologists do pretty well for themselves.

According to Medscape’s Wealth and Debt Report for 2021, radiologists have the second-highest earnings of all physicians, with the average radiologist having a net worth of over $5 million.

Radiologists love being radiologists. According to Medscape, 93% of those surveyed would still choose to be radiologists if they could do it all over again.

But, Medscape discovered that only 65% of radiologists felt fairly compensated for their hard work.

How can the other 35% make enough money to feel the same?

This article will shed some light on the various factors that affect how much radiologists make. It will also discuss ways that a radiologist can pay down debt, protect their income, and save more money for retirement.

Compensation specialists at Physicians Thrive can help radiologists earn their just compensation. Contact us today to start reaching your financial goals.


Average Radiologist Salary

According to Medscape, the average salary for radiologists is $413,000 per year.

Payscale tells a slightly different story, with their reported compensation data for radiology being $313,341 per year.

Salary.com says that radiologists make a median salary of $428,690. The salary range listed on this site has physicians in the 25th percentile making $373,390 and those in the 75th percentile making $496,690.

This source also shows that the average base salary for radiology is $429,390, but the average total compensation, including bonuses and incentives for radiology, is $443,190.

Doximity has a much higher number listed for the national average salary: $495,451.


Factors That Affect a Radiologist’s Salary

These salary surveys show a wide range of compensation data for the job title of a radiologist in healthcare today.

Here are some factors that can increase or decrease a radiologist’s earning potential:

Years of Experience

As to be expected, the more experience that a radiologist gains, the more money they can earn each year they traverse their career path.

Radiologists start earning a salary in residency, although it is much lower than the average yearly salary they will earn once they begin to practice.

According to Medscape’s reports, residents make an average of $64,000 per year. However, this salary will increase slightly with each completed year of residency.

As radiologists bank years of practice and gain experience with computed tomography and other diagnostic imaging methods, they will see their annual earnings steadily rise.

Location

Another factor affecting how much a radiologist can expect to make is the region in which they practice.

The cost of living and the demand for radiologists in the area will affect their salary.

According to ZipRecruiter, the top-paying states for radiologist jobs are New York, New Hampshire, and Wyoming.

The lowest-paying states are Texas, North Carolina, and Illinois.

In the middle of the list, we see states like Florida, Massachusetts, Alabama, and Louisiana.

Related: Where Are Radiologists in the Most Demand?

Type of Practice

Radiologist standing in front of CRT machine

According to Medscape, self-employed radiologists made $30,000 more per year than their employed peers.

Doximity’s 2021 Physician Compensation Report shows that physicians as a whole make more money working for single-specialty practices, followed by multi-specialty groups, solo practices, and then hospitals.

This same report has academic, urgent care, and government positions paying the least.


Radiologists and Their Student Loan Debt

Beyond salary, debit is another factor that impacts a radiologist’s financial status.

One of the largest debts that physicians deal with is their student loans. With over a decade spent in medical school, tuition piles up fast, and radiologists are not exempt from the cost.

According to Medscape’s Wealth and Debt Report, 20% of radiologists are still paying off their student loans.

Finding a better way to pay down this debt can do much in the way of relieving financial and emotional stress. 

Read our guide on medical student loans for tips on managing debt and paying it back.


Subspecialties in Radiology

There are several subspecialties available to radiologists. Each of the following subspecialties earns a different annual salary.

Read on to learn more.

Pediatric Radiology

Radiologists that subspecialize in pediatrics will most certainly take a pay cut.

According to Salary.com, that pay cut will be hefty, bringing your expected earnings down to $260,286.

However, Comparably shows that your cut in pay won’t be quite so drastic. Their compensation data for pediatric radiologists shows the average annual salary as $340,000.

With that being said, there is no substitute for passion in your daily work. If you feel like you are answering your calling by working with children, a slight pay difference won’t mean much.

Interventional Radiology

The highest-earning subspecialty in radiology is interventional radiology. This job title involves using medical imaging, such as X-rays, to make diagnoses and find a non-invasive surgical treatment.

This subspecialty is not to be confused with a radiographer or radiologic technologist.

While these providers are trained to use the highly complicated medical imaging equipment, only interventional radiologists can interpret the results shown on the images.

Full-time interventional radiologists can earn more than $550,000 per year.

The Reading Room shared the compensation data of both the MGMA and AMGA compensation reports for radiology and its subspecialties.

According to this report, the MGMA lists the average annual salary for interventional radiologists as $526,107.

The AMGA reports an even higher salary at $551,676 for interventional radiologists.

Nuclear Radiology

Another subspecialty covered by the article on The Reading Room blog is nuclear radiology. This subspecialty is another high earner, as well.

Nuclear radiologists are diagnostic radiologists that use radiopharmaceuticals to test and treat certain illnesses.

For this subspecialty, MGMA’s compensation data shows an average salary of $518,265, and AMGA’s data shows $572,749.

Neuroradiology

The last radiological subspecialty covered by The Reading Room blog is neuroradiology. Neuroradiologists specialize in using the technology to diagnose problems in the brain, head, neck, and spine.

This subspecialty is said to earn a much lower salary than the preceding two subspecialties.

The MGMA lists the average salary for neuroradiology as $393,027, while the AMGA reports $391,166 per year.


Additional Ways to Increase Your Income as a Radiologist

Beyond experience, location, and type of practice, a radiologist can take actions that will further increase their income:

Open Your Own Practice

For many physicians, the goal is to one day open their own practice. This is a tried-and-true strategy for earning more money as a physician.

If you are looking to open your own practice, we can help. Read our article to get started. 

Buy Your Office Building

Once you have your own practice, you are a business owner. And as a business owner, you need some business savvy.

One smart business move for self-employed radiologists is to own a building with space for your practice and then make money by renting out the additional office space.

This turns what would normally be an expense into income.

Hire PAs and NPs

It is also wise to hire a physician assistant and nurse practitioners to help carry some of the workload.

These professionals are less expensive to hire than other radiologists but can still help with many less-intense tasks.

Develop a Niche Skill Set

Whether you own your own practice or not, it is always wise to develop a niche in your specialty. One such niche that has risen in popularity recently is teleradiology.

Of course, it helps to stay up to date on the newest technology and procedures in radiology.

Take Advantage of Bonuses

If you are an employed radiologist, do your best to take advantage of any incentives and bonuses offered by your employer.

According to Medscape, radiologists can earn an average of $69,000 more per year just from incentives.

One bonus that many physicians miss out on is the signing bonus. You can negotiate a signing bonus to be included in your employment contract, and we show you how here: How to Ask for a Signing Bonus on Your Physician Contract.


How to Negotiate Your Radiology Employment Contract

Two businesspeople shaking hands

As The Reading Room blog on employment negotiation for radiologists points out, the key element for every employment contract is compensation. The best way to earn a fair wage is to negotiate for it.

But, there are many more topics to discuss during employment negotiations.

A complete contract will clearly define not just the salary and incentives but also any other benefits offered with employment and your expected duties and responsibilities.

The contract should also include the beginning and end dates of the agreement, as well as any restrictive covenants and insurance requirements that you need to abide by.

Your employment contract also needs to lay out how things would proceed if you were to be terminated or, on the flip side, offered a partnership or part-owner of the practice.

Needless to say, employment contracts are lengthy documents that can be difficult to process. That’s why many physicians hire a professional to review their contract before they agree to the terms.

This course of action is definitely a wise one. Contact our team of professional legal and financial advisors to review your employment contract and protect yourself from any terms that are not in your best interest.


Disability Insurance to Protect Your Salary

Once you are set with a good contract that pays you well and provides a good suite of benefits, you are protected financially, right?

Well, there is another essential layer of protection that a radiologist should invest in:

Disability insurance.

Many physicians make the mistake of relying on their group disability plan and Social Security to help them through difficult situations.

Unfortunately, they often don’t even scratch the surface of covering your financial obligations, even when combined.

That is why we recommend the purchase of a long-term disability insurance policy for full protection if you become unable to work due to disability.

Our article on disability insurance for physicians will help you make sure that the policy you choose meets all the qualifications of a policy that will protect you when it matters most.


Building a Retirement from Your Annual Salary

Even when you love your job, you don’t want to be working forever. We all look forward to retirement, but how does that look to you?

What type of life do you want to live when you retire? How much money do you need to save up to live that life? What is your best option for reaching that goal?

All these questions and more need to be addressed in your retirement plan.

There are several different retirement accounts available to physicians, but the specific types are dependent on your employment model.

Every radiologist, whether hospital-employed, self-employed, or an independent contractor, should max out their 401k (or 403b for those who work in non-profit organizations).

If you own your own practice, you can take advantage of a few other options, such as profit-sharingcash balance, and defined benefit plans. The plan offered is determined by the partners or owners of the practice.

If you have one of the plans above but reach your contribution limit for the year, you can save further through a traditional or Roth IRA.


Effective Tax Planning

When you earn hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, your tax burden is in the five figures.

But with one or two strategic moves, you can save a large fraction of that payment.

It can often be difficult to spot those money-saving opportunities when you are doing your own taxes, but a professional can help you check for tax deductions, credits, and tax-reducing investment opportunities.

Here is a quick list of a few things that you can do as a radiologist to minimize your tax burden: Beginner’s Guide to Physician Tax Planning.


As The Reading Room pointed out, “You don’t get paid what you’re worth; you get paid what you negotiate.”

However, knowing what you are worth and what can increase your worth certainly helps, and we’ve done our best to deliver as much information on that topic as possible.

It also helps to have a team of compensation specialists behind you while you make career moves to improve your financial situation. That’s where we come in — call Physicians Thrive today for help with managing every aspect of your financial journey.

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