Radiologists Rank Among Highest Paid and Happiest Specialists

May 18, 2020

The industry is among the top five for salary and physician satisfaction.

Radiologists rank among the top-five highest paid specialties in healthcare, according to a new salary report published by Medscape.

According to survey results, the average annual salary of $427,000 is a 2-percent increase over last year.

For its 2020 Physician Compensation Report, Medscape surveyed more than 17,000 doctors, including more than 500 radiologists nationwide. Based on the responses provided, the report indicates that radiologists earn more than other specialists (who make an average of $346,000 yearly) and primary care physicians (who earn an average $243,000 annually).

Overall, the report shows physician salaries increased 2.5 percent over 2019 levels, with specialists, specifically, seeing a 1.5-percent rise. The report authors did note that the survey responses were gathered before Feb. 10 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country, directly impacting physician workflow and workforce.

According to Medscape, the pandemic led to the loss of approximately 43,000 healthcare jobs. Revenue has also been impacted -- with a patient volume drop of around 60 percent, practices have reported a roughly 55-percent drop in revenue.

“Specialists are currently having more troubles than primary care providers because they’re dependent on elective cases, which can’t be directly addressed by telemedicine,” said Joel Greenwald, M.D., chief executive officer of Greenwald Wealth Management in St. Louis Park, Minnesota.

Despite the impact of COVID-19, radiology continues to rank among the top five specialties for average incentive bonuses. At $77,000, radiology ranks behind orthopedics, otolaryngology, and ophthalmology.

Similar to the majority of specialties, radiology has more room to incorporate women into the workforce. Currently, 21 percent of radiologists are women. Only pulmonary medicine, cardiology, plastic surgery, orthopedics, and urology have fewer female providers.

Overall, according to the report, radiologists are happy with their career decision. Roughly 70 percent said they were satisfied with their salary and bonuses, and approximately 93 percent said they would choose the specialty again.