Physicians and surgeons diagnose illnesses and prescribe and
administer treatment for people suffering from injury or disease.
Physicians examine patients, obtain medical histories, and order,
perform, and interpret diagnostic tests.
There are two types of physicians: M.D.—Doctor of Medicine—and
D.O.—Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. M.D.s also are known as
allopathic physicians. While both M.D.s and D.O.s may use all
accepted methods of treatment, including drugs and surgery, D.O.s
place special emphasis on the body’s musculoskeletal system,
preventive medicine, and holistic patient care.
Most radiologists work in the hospital environment. Many are
also employed in outpatient care centers that provide specific
Radiologists are either self-employed or work within a group
practice environment. A growing number of physicians are partners
or wage-and-salary employees of group practices. Organized as
clinics or as associations of physicians, medical groups can more
easily afford expensive medical equipment, can share support
staff, and benefit from other business advantages.
Job growth is expected to be higher than average over the next
ten years as the population ages and the need to trained
According to the
American Medical Group Association 2007 Physician Compensation
Survey, physicians in the radiology field averaged an annual
salary of $371,218.
Self-employed physicians—those who own or are part owners of
their medical practice—generally have higher median incomes than
salaried physicians. Earnings vary according to number of years in
practice, geographic region, hours worked, skill, personality, and
professional reputation. Self-employed physicians and surgeons
must provide for their own health insurance and retirement.
Radiologic technologists held about 196,000 jobs in 2006, with 60
% of all jobs in hospitals. Other jobs were available in offices of
physicians; medical and diagnostic laboratories, including
diagnostic imaging centers; and outpatient care centers. Hospitals
employ most radiologic technologists. Employers prefer to hire
technologists with formal training.
Job opportunities are expected to rise more than average over the
next 10 years. This is due to the aging population and the higher
demand for radiological services as well as advancement in the
Technologists willing to relocate and who are experienced in more
than one diagnostic imaging procedure (CT, MR, and mammography,
etc.) will have the best employment opportunities as employers seek
to control costs by using multi-credentialed employees.
Experienced technologists also may be promoted to supervisor,
chief radiologic technologist, and, ultimately, department
administrator or director. Depending on the institution, courses or
a master’s degree in business or health administration may be
necessary for the director’s position.
Some technologists progress by specializing in the occupation to
become instructors or directors in radiologic technology programs;
others take jobs as sales representatives or instructors with
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, median
annual earnings of radiologic technologists were $48,170 in May
2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $39,840 and $57,940. The
lowest 10 percent earned less than $32,750, and the highest 10
percent earned more than $68,920. Median annual earnings in the
industries employing the largest numbers of radiologic technologists
in 2006 were medical and diagnostic laboratories ($51,280), gernal
medical and surgical hospitals ($48,830) and offices of physicians
Industry Demand for Radiologists:Advancements in technology over the past ten to twenty
years have created a boom in radiology careers and uses for medical
imaging. A variety of newly developed imaging machines and
radiologic equipment utilizes a wide range of technologies including
nuclear and radioactive materials, magnetic imaging, (MRI),
computers, cameras and digital imagery, and sound waves (ultrasound)
to name a few. Medical imaging allows doctors to more accurately and
quickly diagnose a variety of maladies, and do so in a much less
invasive way than exploratory surgery or other methods.
Salary and Compensation for Radiologists:
Radiology is one of the most lucrative medical specialties a
physician can practice. According to the Medical Group Management
Association, general diagnostic radiologists earn $470,939 on
average. Interventional radiologists, who have completed additional
fellowship training in interventional radiology, earn $507,508 on
What's to Like about Being a Radiologist:
Physicians enjoy the practice of radiology for a number of reasons:
• Compensation: As noted above, radiologists enjoy some of the
highest salaries and best benefits of all physicians.
• Vacation: Although being a radiologist is stressful, (a mistake
can be very costly, and radiologists read tens of thousands of
images annually), radiologists also enjoy a lot of perks.
Radiologists also have time to enjoy their salaries, as they have
more vacation than most physicians, at an average of 8-12 weeks,
nearly twice the average of 4-6 weeks other physicians typically
• Schedule and work flexibility: Due to the nature of their work,
radiologists can take call from home, reading scans on a computer
linked into a hospital network. Also, the portability of radiology
allows for additional flexibility in work schedules, including
"nighthawk" coverage. Nighthawk coverage is provided by radiology
services, sometimes overseas even, to cover overnight call for
radiologists, so they don't have to work in the middle of the night
like physicians of other specialties. Most traditional, full-time
radiology jobs still do require the physician to be on-site at least
part of the time, however, if not full-time.