two views radiology career

Is Learning Radiology a Good Career Path?

Why or Why Not?

September 8, 2022

Does an American radiologist’s mean annual salary of over $301,700 imply it is a good career choice? According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), that is the mean yearly salary as of May 2021. Before deciding on a new career, take a closer look at a computed tomography (CT) scan.

Selecting a career path can seem as stressful as CT scan anxiety. What is the overall outlook for radiologists? What are some reasons to follow a radiology career path? Why consider training for a different occupation?

This article discusses the outlook of radiology as a career, and the benefits of working as a radiologist, including the high demand in the radiology field, flexible working environments, and research and innovation. We also cover some drawbacks of a radiology career, including possible repetitive work and radiology technology changes.

Outlook for Radiology as a Career

When considering a radiology career, it is critical to review the overall outlook.

The BLS reported in May 2021 that over 29,500 U.S. individuals worked as radiologists. The mean hourly salary was $145.06, while the mean annual salary was $301,720.

The BLS revealed that as of May 2021, states employing the most radiologists included New York, Washington, and Florida. The mean annual salary for New York was $224,970.

Meanwhile, the Royal College of Radiology projected that artificial intelligence (AI) would play a significant role in the future of radiology. It will likely have a more integral part in radiologists’ daily work, helping improve diagnostic capacity and efficiency.

Hence, radiologists will have additional time for direct patient care and crucial research.



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The Key Benefits of a Radiology Career

Some of the various benefits of a radiology career include the following:

two views radiology high demand

High Demand

Medical degree graduates frequently select fields like a general practitioner, surgery, and pediatrics. Hence, this situation can provide greater demand for radiologists.

In addition, the U.S. population continues to age significantly. The number of Americans at least 65 years old will possibly double during the next four decades. The age group may reach a projected 80 million by 2040.

Experts also project the number of Americans at least 85 years old will almost quadruple by 2040. This age group frequently requires personal care.

Meanwhile, the number of Americans with chronic diseases continues to surge. In 2000, an estimated 125 million Americans possessed a minimum of one chronic condition. Experts project that number will increase yearly by at least 1% until 2030.

Another critical factor is the U.S. government projects the number of cancer survivors in the U.S. will increase by 24.4% from 2022 to 2032. These patients require continued medical care.

two views radiology flexible work environment

Flexible Working Environments

Radiologists can sometimes work remotely or anywhere with a computing device and reliable internet connection. Hence, when you are on call, you can interact with the customer from virtually anywhere.

Working remotely allows radiologists to avoid the risk and stress of commuting to a physical workplace. Telecommuting allows doctors to reduce their total commuting time and decreases wasted time.

Working from home is also a “green” option that helps reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Hence, it is ideal in terms of a radiologist’s social responsibility.

two views radiology research and innovation

Research and Innovation

Radiology provides individuals with access to innovative technologies and informatics. For instance, AI and machine learning can improve the accuracy of radiologists’ work.

Machine learning plays a critical role in several radiology applications. For example, it identifies complex patterns automatically. Machine learning also helps radiologists make good decisions.

However, humans will always be required to make challenging decisions that computers cannot.





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The Key Drawbacks of a Radiology Career

You should also weigh the following potential drawbacks when considering radiology as a career path:

two views of radiology repetition stress

Work Can Be Repetitive

Some radiologists experience job-related burnout due to their workload’s repetitive nature. For example, radiologists can experience symptoms like headaches and muscle strains due to long work shifts.

Research shows that burnout can affect over 50% of healthcare workers. However, a 2019 survey reported 71% of diagnostic radiologists reported workplace-related stress. Various factors included:

  • Unclear job expectations
  • Lack of control
  • Work-related activity
  • Work-life imbalance
  • Workplace dynamics
  • Lack of social support

When considering a radiology career, you should weigh such factors.

Medical students have several options. Whether a student considers radiology boring is based on various factors.

Radiologists often spend much of their workday operating radiology equipment. Hence, some individuals can perceive the work as repetitive. However, radiologists also have contact with patients. The amount of contact can still vary among different radiologists.

two views radiology technology

Radiology Technology Changes

As noted, technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning continue to impact the radiology industry.

Meanwhile, such advances require radiologists to learn and utilize the latest innovations. This requirement is often greater for radiologists than for other healthcare specializations.

One factor is how tech-savvy you are. However, if you struggle with learning technologies, you may want to consider alternatives to radiology.

two views radiology open mri ct scanner

Another factor to consider is after becoming a radiologist, you can still take steps to make your practice more tech-savvy. Hence, if you struggle with learning new technologies, it may be practical to consider other healthcare fields besides radiology.






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Author’s Bio

Casey Bloom’s field of studies is concentrated in language and literature. She aspires to become a mother who raises a naturally healthy family. You can find her insights at MotherhoodCommunity.com. She has recently taken an interest in what happens inside the body and how our bodies change. Casey writes for W-Radiology regularly.

References

1. Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021, 29-1224 Radiologists

2. The US population is aging

3. The Number of People With Chronic Conditions Is Rapidly Increasing

4. Statistics and graphs

5. A New Working Paradigm for Radiologists in the Post-COVID-19 World

6. Machine learning and radiology

7. Satisfaction at work among radiologists





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