Monday, November 30, 2009

Does Radiologist Salary Matter?

Before answering the question does radiologist salary matter, it is important to know what we are discussing in the first place, namely the salary range for a radiologist. The question is more complex than it seems on the face of it, as there are many factors that play into what a radiologist's salary ultimately is. Do they work in the Southwest or the Northeast? Is it fair to compare the salary of a mammographer to the salary for an interventional radiologist? How much experience does the radiologist have? All these questions enter into the equation. However, to simplify, most people would agree that most radiologists earn between $300,000 and $500,000 across sub-specialties and regions. Clearly, a good salary by any standard, but that brings us to the questions posed above:

Does Radiologist Salary Matter?

The knee-jerk response is, of course! Sure it does! Would all these doctors be radiologists if salary did not play a role? And yes, of course, salary mattters - it is doubtful that most radiologist, or most doctors in general, would work for free. However, the point of this question isn't to question the amount of salary radiologists receive, but whether a higher salary is correlated with higher job satisfaction.

Like radiologist salary, many factors play into radiologist job satisfaction. These factors include scheduling flexibility, opportunities for career advancement, job security, and workload. Interestingly though, another factor to consider that is more intangible is the work environment. Across practice settings, having a sense of teamwork and camaraderie based on mutual respect can enhance the work experience for everyone involved, from x ray technician to the senior parter or chair of the department. This concept cannot be overstated - you will be around these people for a majority of your day, so you might as well like them.

If salary were the only consideration, you would expect to see all radiologists competing for the jobs with the highest compensation, but clearly this is not the case. In fact, some commentators view an excessive emphasis on income as a sign of job dissatisfaction. The sense that salary is all that matters implies that the physician has lost interest in the work itself and is looking for other outlets in order to feel a sense of worth. Fortunately, practices and hospitals are increasingly likely to provide resources these issues earlier instead of letting them fester and affect job performance. Ultimately, salary is only one of many items that play into a radiologist's job satisfaction.