Although generating and interpreting images is still essential in practicing radiology and a radiologist salary is based on that ability, radiologists now play an expanding role in our healthcare system in order to enhance it. Today, they also help to ensure that medical resources are used effectively and properly. Along with primary care physicians, radiologists are often involved in a patient’s initial diagnostic workup, and the results of radiological imaging may determine if there is a need for referral to a specialist, more diagnostic tests, or even hospital admission.
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Career prospects in radiology
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the need for radiologists is expected to increase by 22% between 2008 and 2018, especial in rurally and low-income areas, where the population is underserved. Opportunity for employment should be even greater for radiologists who work with the elderly, because they often undergo radiological imaging in order to determine the state of their health and the care that should be given.
Becoming a radiologist
To be on your way to earning a radiologist salary, education for aspiring radiologists begins by earning a bachelor’s degree, preferably in some area of science, including chemistry or biology, followed by becoming a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) or a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.). The next step is a one-year transition as a clinical intern, and completion of a four-year residency program in diagnostic radiology or radiation oncology, which focuses on treating cancer patients, is also required.
Along with fulfilling the education requirements mentioned above, radiologists must be licensed by the state in which they practice. As a rule, they also become certified through the American Osteopathic Board of Radiology or American Board of Radiology. Some of them are also certified in a subspecialty, such as nuclear radiology or pediatric radiology.
Radiologist salary information
On average, they earn between $400,000 and $500,000 annually. However, this figure may vary greatly, based on their location, years of experience and chosen area of specialization—and the starting salary in this field may also range from $100,000 to $150,000. In addition, those who work in private-sector hospital jobs that pay well may even earn as much as $600,000 per year at some point.
It is also apparent that doctors who are in the early years of their career can expect their radiologist salary to grow, or perhaps even multiply, once they have fulfilled some additional education requirements and gained more work experience in their area of specialization.