Radiology also made the top five list of most requested specialties by U.S. region in 2019, with average salaries ranging from $300,000 in the West to $425,000 in the Southeast. Merritt Hawkins also found that the average signing bonus for radiology is $27,045, with a low of $10,000 and a high of $100,000.
The company's report, called the 2019 Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives, included a survey of 3,131 permanent physician and advanced practitioner search assignments Merritt Hawkins conducted between April 2018 and March 2019. The firm found that 78% of its searches were for specialists, an increase of 67% compared with four years ago. As for which specialty is getting paid the most, invasive cardiologists have the highest average starting salary at $648,000, while family medicine physicians have the lowest average salary at $239,000.
The firm received 148 requests for radiologist searches in 2018-2019, an increase of 12% from 2017-2018's 132 search requests but up a dramatic 572% from 2013-2014's 22 requests.
|Number of recruiting searches for radiologists by year
|Searches for radiologists
Although radiology topped the list of the company's most requested search assignments in 2003, demand for it dropped due in part to the 2007 recession and to the increased use of teleradiology services, Merritt Hawkins said in its report. But since imaging is crucial to diagnostic and procedural work in healthcare, renewed demand for radiologists is certain, the company noted.
"The importance of radiology is enhanced with each technological advance (including artificial intelligence) that makes imaging techniques more varied and effective," Merritt Hawkins wrote.
Facilities are looking for traditional, onsite radiologists as well as teleradiologists. And more jobs may be on offer over the next number of years as the existing pool of radiologists retires: 53% percent of all diagnostic radiologists are 55 years or older, compared with 42% of all physicians, the company said.
"Rising demand for radiology also is notable as it suggests that even with the widespread use of teleradiology ... healthcare facilities are again seeking the assistance of recruiting firms such as Merritt Hawkins to help them find radiologists," the report said.
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