How Much Does a Radiologist Make: Considering this as a Potential Viable Career

Radiology is a job which uses technology to look inside the human body via several imaging techniques to diagnose health issues. It is a very noble profession and saves many lives. However, when considering this as a potential viable career, you have to ask, how much does a radiologist make?

Radiology is a great field to break into, but it can also be difficult to get your foot in the door. To find out if the career is worth the effort, keep reading to find out how much does a radiologist make, what the job market looks like, what education and certification requirements there are, and more.

Radiologist Career Outlook

The job outlook for radiologists is great. The BLS (Bureau of Labor Services) predicted a national job growth rate of 6.5% from 2014 to 2024 and a job growth for radiologists of 14%. If you are satisfied with the answer to "how much does a radiologist make?", you then have to determine if this career is right for you.

Job Description

Man look at spine x-ray

Radiologists prepare or read diagnostic tests using tools such as radioactive materials and x-ray machines. They guide physicians on how to treat existing health conditions. They may perform procedures requiring interventional radiology or radiation. When starting out, you will probably work in a hospital or clinic. Most of your time will be spent sitting alone in a dark room interpreting and analyzing images. If you are on call, images will be sent to your home for you to view. Radiologists also often supervise radiologic technologists whose job is to assist or perform diagnostic imaging or teach medical students or residents.

Responsibilities

How much does a radiologist make? Enough to cover the serious responsibilities that come with the position. One of the most important is to assign radiological personnel and schedule examinations. As you gain more experience, you are expected to develop treatment plans for your patients. You are also responsible for administering radiopaque substances by enema, oral doses, or injections. These allow fluoroscopic screens or x-ray films to display organs and internal structures; but it must be done perfectly.

Other Duties

Other duties may include physical exams to help decide how best to treat a patient. Examples of interventional procedures include nephrostomy catheter placement, image-guided biopsy, transhepatic biliary drainage, and percutaneous transluminal angioplasty. Radiologists are also expected to develop safety procedures to ensure standard exceptional healthcare quality and to take continuing education courses. Nuclear medicine specialists and radiation oncologists are qualified to use radiation to treat diseases such as cancer.

Education & Certification

A large factor in the question of "how much does a radiologist make?" is level of education and additional certifications. A massive 67.52% of radiologists have a post-doctoral degree. This means they achieved a four-year undergraduate degree, four years of medical school, and three to eight years of internships and residency programs, depending on their specialty.

Some medical school applicants have Master's degrees. While there are no specific major requirements, undergraduate work must include English, mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology. The average radiologists have four to six years of work experience and a month of on-the-job training. For the best chance to get a job as a radiologist, expect to have 14 to 16 years of higher education under your belt.

Certification

Certification requirements do not affect how much a radiologist makes. All radiologists must pass a standardized national licensure examination, including written and practical exams. They must also obtain a degree from an accredited medical school to qualify for a license, along with completing residency training related to their specialty. Contact your state's medical board for your state's specific licensing requirements.

Examples of national licenses include D.O.s who must pass the COMLEX-USA (Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination) and M.D.s who must pass the USMLE (U.S. Medical Licensing Examination).

Requirements

Soft skills that radiologists feel help them with their job include writing, reading comprehension, active listening, critical thinking and speaking. When a potential employer is looking to hire, they look for candidates who are detail-oriented, have a great concern for others, are dependable and reliable, have excellent analytical thinking skills and are very diligent and good at what they do.

Five key areas you need to be well-versed in are medicine, dentistry, biology, written and verbal communication in the English language, and physics. A deep working knowledge of how to use medical software and medical software tools is also required. The five most important types of medical software you need to know how to use are Avreo Radiology Workflow Solutions, Automatic Data Processing AdvancedMD EHR, athenahealth athenaCollector, Allscripts PM and Advanced Data Systems MedicsRis. If you do not know how to use at least one of these programs, you must have the propensity to learn quickly on the job.

Continuing Education

Expect to participate in continuing education activities either at home or in a classroom throughout your career. These may help you to treat or recognize complications which occur either during or after procedures, including bleeding, oversedation, pain, and significant fluctuations in blood pressure. You may have to take continuing education related to technological advances in radiology in general or best practices related to your specialty, be it neuroradiology, cardiovascular and thoracic radiology, mammography, musculoskeletal radiology, or emergency radiology.

How Much Does a Radiologist Make?

The answer to the question "how much does a radiologist make?" depends on the point in any individual's career. Those just beginning a career make an average of $28.41 per hour or $59,090 annually. Junior-level radiologists, or those who have one to two years of experience, can expect to make $57.27 per hour or $119,120 per hour.

The median pay for a radiologist is $99.48 per hour or $206,920 per year. If you have three to five years of experience, you can expect to make well over  $100 per hour or $208,000 per year. Depending on your employer, you may also get paid overtime.

Highest Paying States

How much does a radiologist make? Another important factor is geographical location. Here are the 10 best states to work in as a radiologist:

  • New Hampshire - $244,710 or $117.65 per hour
  • Alabama - $243,590 or $117.11 per hour
  • Wyoming - $241,800 or $116.25 per hour
  • Minnesota - $239,130 or $114.97 per hour
  • Montana - $236,840 or $113.86 per hour
  • South Dakota - $236,720 or $113.81 per hour
  • Tennessee - $234,610 or $112.79 per hour
  • Colorado - $233,660 or $112.34 per hour
  • Indiana - $227,780 or $109.51 per hour
  • Wisconsin - $225,790 or $108.55 per hour

Keep in mind, these are median salaries according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, meaning you have the opportunity to make much more. Use a cost-of-living calculator to determine how much it will cost to live in one state versus another. According to payscale.com, the median salary for radiologists in 2016 was $286,992, which also accounts for other compensation such as health insurance, retirement matching, malpractice insurance, and paid time off.

Related Jobs and Subspecialties

Rad techs, or radiology technicians, earn a median annual salary of $59,260. The lowest-earning 10% made $38,660 or less per year while the top earners made over $82,590. The average pediatric radiologist can expect to make over $320,000. This is much less than the $500,000 before benefits that top radiologists can earn annually, but it is a very attractive salary.

As of 2011, according to the Medical Group Management Association, the average annual salary for interventional radiologists was $513,000. If you are a radiographer, you can expect to make between $42,000 and $61,000 annually. The average hourly rate for diagnostic medical sonographers (ultrasound technicians) was $30.59 in 2015, which works out to $63,630 per year. MRI technologists earned an average of $69,240 in 2016, while surgical technologists made only $46,800.

On the other hand, radiation therapists made $84,980. CAT scan technologists, or CT Techs, can expect to earn compensation of between $62,937 and $75,755 with the median total compensation being $68,934.

Conclusion

Radiology is a noble profession and pays very well. Moreover, the field is expected to add over 17,200 new jobs between 2014 and 2024. This growth rate is over double the national average. Many types of health care professionals work in radiology, but the most common are CT techs, MRI techs, X-ray technicians, and radiology technologists. Demand for these professionals come from physicians' offices, clinics and hospitals.

One of the best parts about being a radiologist is you have the freedom to be self-employed, essentially consulting for a group of local hospitals rather than being employed by one. This means you will have to pay your own taxes and malpractice insurance, but that freedom and flexibility is crucial to some. When looking into the question "how much does a radiologist make?", take into account the cost-of-living in the state you are seeking employment in.

While breaking into the field normally requires 14 to 16 years of higher education and internships in your specialty, within three to five years you can easily command over $500,000 in base compensation before bonuses and other benefits. If you are looking for financial freedom and qualify for scholarships or grants to get you through medical school and your post-doctoral degree, radiology may be the career for you.