Choosing a career path means looking at various aspects of any job and what it entails. A radiologist salary, for instance, is an important piece of information to consider when deciding whether to become a radiologist. Is the radiologist salary worth the time and effort required to obtain the proper education for this line of work? Is there a positive job outlook associated with this career field? There are many considerations you must make, and this article provides a comprehensive overview of not only a radiologist salary, but the educational requirements, the outlook, and the potential you have when working as a radiologist.
Using imaging products that are specially made to see inside the human body, radiologists play a crucial role in the diagnosis and discovery of diseases, health problems, and even injuries. Your radiologist is a person your physician refers you to when imaging is needed to help diagnose and find your health issues. Together, your doctor and your radiologist work to find out what is wrong with you so they can make a correct and accurate diagnosis that helps you find relief from pain, injuries, and even disease.
What Is a Radiologist?
A radiologist is a medical doctor. However, this is not a doctor that specializes in surgical treatment or prescribing medication. A radiologist is a person who uses a special imaging machine to take x-rays of your body as well as CT scans, MRIs, and PET scans. Some even provide ultrasounds when they are required by your medical doctor. Becoming a radiologist takes at least 13 years. The educational requirements are strict in this line of work, and you will find that you are required to take very specific courses in certain subjects to become a radiologist. It’s not a career path you jump into and begin work quickly. It’s one that takes time, effort, and dedication.
Is There a Need for Radiologists?
There is an outstanding need for radiologists across the country. The job outlook for this career is projected to rise a staggering 14 percent by 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. There is a growing need for almost all positions in the healthcare field. People need medical help, and they need the medically trained professionals who work as radiologists to help them diagnose their health concerns. This is a job that offers job security, and a growing need in hospitals and private practices across the nation.
Radiologist Salary and Job Description
Becoming a radiologist and earning a radiologist salary starts with your education. This is a career choice that takes more than a decade of your life for just the educational part of the job, and that’s why you should consider every aspect of the job prior to jumping into this long and expensive education.
It takes at least 12 years to complete a radiologist degree program. You must first obtain a four-year college degree in which you focus on certain classes to graduate with a degree related to the medical field. Following your undergraduate program, you will attend medical school for another four years.
Two years of medical school consist of classroom work. This is where you will learn the foundation of anatomy and the basics of radiology, medicine, and disease. This is all classroom work, and it’s crucial for you to become a radiologist and a medical doctor. The last two years of medical school are the years called clinical years.
Clinical years require spending time in medical facilities learning the hands-on techniques required to become a radiologist. This is where clinical rotations are done, which means you spend a few months in every different medical department in a hospital to learn the basics of each department. You will later decide which department in which you’d to focus the rest of your education and career, but this is the time you will spend focusing on all department.
Radiology is not a requirement for the departmental rotations, but it’s what you will choose to do if you are a medical student who wishes to go into the field of radiology. Once your medical school graduation is complete, you will enter your residency with a radiologist program in a major hospital in the United States. This program lasts four years, and it requires you spend ample time working alongside a licensed and certified radiologist as your supervisor. This is where you learn the hands-on aspect of the job, working the machinery, and practice your skill. During your residency, you will earn a small radiologist salary as well as benefits to help with the cost of living while you work to complete your education.
Board Certification and License Requirements
Once you complete your residency, the United States Medical Licensing Examination is a requirement. You must pass this exam to earn your medical license and your M.D. This is a requirement for all medical doctors no matter your specific line of work. If you choose to specialize in radiology, your next requirement is to become board certified.
This requires taking another exam. The American Board of Radiology requires certification to work in this field. This exam requires you to pass the medical portion as well as the diagnostic imaging portion of the exam. It’s a highly specialized career field, which means you must have the education and the skill to pass this test before you can legally work as a radiologist. Once you pass the exam and the board certification, you are issued your license, and you may begin work as a radiologist.
Radiologist Salary Information
Becoming a radiologist means earning a radiologist salary, which is an impressive salary. The average radiologist salary is $400,094, according to Salary.com. This number was calculated using the low-end income of a radiologist which is approximately $347,846 and the high-end radiologist salary of $462,855.
Factors Affecting Radiologist Salary
Whether you earn a radiologist salary on the higher end or, the lower end is dependent on several factors. One of the most important factors is the length of time in which you’ve worked in this field. You will not make the highest salary as a brand-new radiologist who has only just landed your first job. Those who earn the most in this line of work earn their salary by working for many years in the medical field. That’s the most important factor. Other radiologist salary influencers include the following.
If you want to increase your radiologist salary package, you want to obtain as many certifications and skills as you can. The more courses you take, and the further you take your education, the more you will earn as a radiologist.
If you work for a major hospital, you might make a little more annually. However, if you work for a private practice, you might earn larger bonuses throughout the year. There is no guarantee your employer will offer bonuses to those who work for them, but it’s something you are free to negotiate with your salary package when you go to work. Your retirement package also affects your radiologist salary.
Location and Radiologist Salary
If you want to earn the highest radiologist salary, you should work in the southwest. This the area that has the highest reported annual radiologist salary on average. This is not always the case depending on where you work specifically, but it is proven based on information provided through various sources used to track income and salary information in this medical field.
The average radiologist salary is not what you will earn when you go into this line of work, but it’s an idea to help you determine whether you want to go into this line of work and the education that goes with it. You can earn anywhere from just over $150,000 to more than a half-million per year based on your personal job preferences, where you live and work, and how much you choose to work. This is a career field with exceptional growth, and it’s one in which you have options.
From working in a private practice with a specific type of medical doctor as your partner to working in a large hospital in a major city to a small hospital in a small town, you can choose what works for you and who you want to help. The salary in this field makes the time it takes to acquire your education worthwhile. The outlook and satisfaction you receive working as a radiologist also make this job worthwhile. Helping patients discover and diagnose their health issues so they can find the correct treatment to help them live a longer, fuller life is a rewarding bonus.
Working as a radiologist means you get to help people, work as a medical doctor, and specialize in the diagnostic imaging field. You will always have job options because the medical field is always in need of people who are highly trained. The salary is more than enough to allow you to live well, and the benefits of the job are numerous.