Radiologist starting salaries up 13.5% over last year

Radiologists are receiving salary offers averaging $455,000 to start a new job in 2022, up from $401,000 in 2021.  

The 13.5% bounce is independent of signing bonuses and other onboarding incentives.

While strong, the radiologist numbers are well off the pace set by the leading specialty in the category, orthopedic surgery. There the average starting salary is $565,000 (up from $546,000 in 2021).

The findings are from the healthcare staffing firm AMN healthcare and its physician search division, Merritt Hawkins.

A report on the companies’ 2022 survey also shows average starting salaries for most specialties included in the report are up from last year.

Near the top after ortho surgeons are urologists at $510,000 to start (up from $497,000 last year) and gastroenterologists at $474,000 (up from $453,000).

The COVID Effect in Evidence

AMN’s president of physician permanent placement, Tom Florence, comments in a news release that the rising salaries reflect increasing demand for physicians in the wake of peak COVID-19.

“Virtually every hospital and large medical group in the country is looking to add physicians,” Florence says.

Also of interest and perhaps of concern to some, primary-care providers are not keeping up with the growth trend they’re seeing among so many specialized peers and colleagues.

AMN Healthcare/Merritt Hawkins reports that 64% of its search engagements over the past 12 months were for medical specialists. By comparison, only 17% were for primary care physicians.

The other 19% were for advanced practice professionals such as nurse practitioners (NPs), physician assistants (PAs) and certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs).

“The market has done a complete about-face,” Florence remarks. “Several years ago, primary care physicians were the priority for most hospitals and medical groups. While many still seek them, the emphasis has shifted to specialists.”

Fodder for Radiology’s ‘Generalize or Subspecialize’ Discussion?

Further chipping away at PCP demand is U.S. healthcare’s growing reliance on NPs and PAs to perform care duties that were once within the sole territory of MDs.

Meanwhile the aging of the population is driving demand for specialists to care for “ailing internal organs, musculoskeletal conditions and neurological problems,” Florence points out.

The latter development may have implications for new radiologists working through the generalist vs. subspecialist conundrum.

News release with link to full study here.

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