Radiologists’ $401,000 starting salary lands specialty in the top 5

Radiologists’ $401,000 starting salary places imaging among the top-five highest paid physician specialties, according to a new report published Monday.

Interventional cardiology leads the way at $611,000 followed by orthopedic surgery ($546,000) and gastroenterology ($453,000). Physician search firm Merritt Hawkins has seen demand for imaging grow as safety conditions and the economy improve, and radiologist have benefitted.

“Whether it is a diagnosis or a procedure, little happens in healthcare without an image,” the group said in its 2021 Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives.

Radiology also landed in the top-three most requested searches by specialty, behind only family medicine and nurse practitioners at No. 1. Merritt Hawkins said this is the first time in the report’s 27-year history that NPs have topped the list, supplanting family medicine, which held first place the last 14 years.

“COVID-19 and other forces are changing the dynamics of physician and advanced practitioner recruiting,” President Tom Florence said in a statement. “NPs are coming into their own in a market that puts a premium on easy access to care and cost containment.”

Radiologist salaries ranged from a low of $150,000 to as high as $825,000. The $401,000 average — which does not include productivity bonuses or benefits — is a 3% drop from $423,000 tallied in the 2019-2029 report. Separated by geography, rads in the West tallied the highest take-home total at $490,000, while the Midwest/Great Plains fell last at $375,000. And the specialty earned an average signing bonus of more than $23,000.

The review is based on extrapolations of a representative sample of nearly 2,500 ongoing or concluded search engagements during the 12 months that concluded March 31.

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