Radiologists perform an indispensable role in modern medical science. The medical imaging that radiologists are responsible for helps diagnose complex diseases and internal injuries with greater accuracy and precision. This, in turn, leads to more effective treatment and swifter recovery of patients. Moreover, with the global COVID-19 crisis wreaking havoc, the importance of radiologists has only risen.
But what exactly is the remuneration statistics of radiologists all over the world? With an intensive training period that can very well last ten years or even more than that (depending on the field of radiology you represent), it is certain that being experts in such a highly specialised branch of medicine, radiologists earn what they deserve.
Simply put, how much you can earn as a radiologist depends on a number of determining factors such as your area of specialisation, your location, the institution that you work for, your work experience and so on. Following is a list of certain important factors that, in varying degrees, decide the range of monetary compensation you are likely to obtain as a radiologist:
The hospital, clinic or any other kind of medical establishment you work for hugely influences your salary. It also depends on the nature of the establishment you are employed in, i.e. whether it is a government-owned institution or a private one. They also determine the nature of your pay, i.e. whether it is a fixed salary or one that is subject to change.
For example, in the All India Institutes of Medical Sciences, better known as AIIMS, which are a group of reputed autonomous public medical colleges of higher education in India, radiologists of the radiodiagnosis division are paid a minimum of ₹ 1 lakh per month. This can rise to as much as ₹ 2 lakhs per month, depending on your designation and work experience.
In private medical institutions like Fortis Healthcare or Siemens Healthineers, the salaries of radiologists tend to be just as high or even higher than those offered by government medical colleges. ₹ 1.5 lakhs per month is a common standard remuneration provided in respected private medical establishments. But in a private institution, salaries are often subject to frequent fluctuations depending on institutional policies and other factors. Government salaries are almost always fixed in nature.
Apart from monthly salaries, many private medical centres also pay radiologists on the basis of the number of scans and reports that they do. This is called pay-per-case or case-basis payment. Unlike the usual system of monthly salaries, pay-per-case salary is subject to change and varies from one period of time to another. Under normal circumstances, however, this is a viable alternative and can actually match or even go higher than payments received on a monthly routine.
Area of Specialization
A majority of radiologists opt for diagnostic studies, better known technically as radiodiagnosis, as their chosen field of interest. X-rays, CT scans, USG, PET scans, etc. are their forte. But there are two other major branches of radiology, namely interventional radiology and radiation oncology. The salary you can get as a radiologist also largely depends on the field of radiology you are an expert in.
Diagnostic radiologists mostly work as consultants to physicians, surgeons and radiology equipment operators or technologists in government and private medical institutions. The remuneration statistics provided in the ‘Institution’ sub-heading above in this article give you an idea of the kind of salary you are going to get if you work as a diagnostic radiologist.
If you work as an interventional radiologist or an interventionist, your job description would be slightly different than that of a diagnostic radiologist and your salary will be determined accordingly. Being in charge of procedures that include both diagnosis and therapy, you will be working as a part of a team. Therefore, your salary would not be as high as a diagnostic radiologist. Recent reports put the range of salary between ₹ 2.5 – ₹ 3 lakhs per annum to as high as more than 10 lakhs per annum depending on the institution and the location of your work.
Being highly trained radiologists who take on the responsibility of treating individual cancer patients, radiation oncologists naturally receive high salaries. Annual payments meted out to radiation oncologists in the US range from $303,561 to $529,433. As far as India is concerned, the average salary for a radiation oncologist is just under ₹ 18 lakhs per year, or ₹ 1.5 lakhs per month. This can increase based on your experience and location.
Knowledge and experience account for a lot in the medical profession. And the field of radiology is not an exception to that rule. The greater number of years you put in as a professional radiologist, the higher your reputation grows. The reliability of both physicians and patients on your job increases and consolidates with time. So do your skills and expertise in your chosen vocational field.
Establishing and strengthening professional as well as personal contacts with your colleagues and your patients boost your job security. At the same time, it also ensures a steady flow of income. Thus, together with the growth in your reputation and recognition as a radiologist, your salary prospects also experience a lift.
This factor must be taken into consideration if and when you start a scan clinic of your own as a radiologist. While most radiologists choose to work for an institution because individually owned scanning and testing centres require a lot of initial investment and capital, they are not entirely unheard of.
If your practice is a successful and well-established one, which mostly is the case when you have acquired professional experience of a considerable number of years, your salary, or rather your income as a private practitioner would be substantially high. The biggest determiner of your income than would be the number of patients you examine regularly. This is similar to the system of pay-per-case remuneration practised in large, private medical institutions.