Radiology's class war? SalaryScan reveals red state/blue state divide

By Brian Casey, AuntMinnie.com staff writer

May 31, 2005 -- The 2004 U.S. presidential election revealed deep fissures in the American electorate, between the "red states" that voted Republican and the "blue states" that voted Democratic. But do those fissures extend to radiology as well?

AuntMinnie.com's 2005 SalaryScan survey of radiology salaries found interesting parallels between the incomes of different radiology professionals and the states they live in. Radiologists tended to garner the highest salaries in red states and the lowest in blue states, while the situation was reversed for radiologic technologists.

The SalaryScan data were collected from some 4,000 radiology professionals who filled out an online survey between January and March 2005. The survey covered 15 job categories, with radiology professionals from around the world participating.

The data indicate that radiologists in the U.S. West North Central region (North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri) were paid the highest, with an average base salary of $396,174 a year. The next most lucrative region was the U.S. East South Central region (Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama), where radiologists earned an average base salary of $369,582.

Of the 11 states represented by these two regions, all but one (Minnesota) voted Republican in the 2004 presidential election.

Bringing up the rear for radiologists was the U.S. Pacific region (Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, and Hawaii), where radiologists earned an average base salary of $307,844, according to the SalaryScan results. Radiologists in the U.S. New England area (Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut) were the next lowest paid, with an average base salary of $319,909.

Of the 11 states in these regions, only one (Alaska) voted Republican in the 2004 presidential election.

The tables were turned for radiologic technologists, who did better in the blue states than in the red ones. The most lucrative region for RTs was the U.S. Pacific, where they had an average base salary of $65,785, followed by the U.S. New England zone, where RTs had an average base salary of $59,655.

At the back of the pack for RTs was the U.S. East South Central region, where RTs earned an average base salary of $48,395. The next lowest salaries were in the U.S. West North Central, at $49,331.

The disparity could be due to the fact that radiologists are usually considered to be businesspeople, while RTs are salaried employees, according to Phil Miller of recruiting firm Merritt, Hawkins & Associates of Irving, TX. Physicians usually end up in private practices, where their income is tied to their personal production and to the reimbursement rates where they practice, he said.

"Doctors in the blue states, which are largely coastal, often have proportionately smaller case loads because these areas have a higher ratio of physicians per population than places like Kansas and Nebraska," Miller said. "With less competition in the red states, the physician's production is likely to be higher, leading to higher incomes."

For radiologists from other countries, SalaryScan offers the following data:

  • Canadian radiologists reported an average base salary of $351,212 (U.S. dollars).
  • Australian and New Zealand radiologists, $234,338.
  • Western European radiologists, $170,274.
  • Middle Eastern and Central Asian radiologists, $42,420.

As in past SalaryScan surveys, radiology professionals benefited when they had specialized skills. Interventional radiology once again led the pack, with interventional radiologists reporting average base salaries of $364,780. Nuclear medicine/PET specialists again found themselves at the bottom of the scale, with an average base salary of $324,107.

For radiologic technologists, those with specialized skills in nuclear medicine did the best, with an average base salary of $65,136, while those in mammography reported the lowest average base salaries, at $49,167.

AuntMinnie members can conduct searches on comparable salaries in their professions and regions by going to the SalaryScan data query tool on AuntMinnie's Job Boards home page, at jobs.auntminnie.com.

By Brian Casey
AuntMinnie.com staff writer
May 31, 2005

Heartland imaging pays for U.S. radiologists, May 11, 2004

Survey says rads are working harder for less, April 15, 2004

Survey predicts big loss of practitioners to retirement, changing work patterns, December 23, 2003

Radiology salaries rise again in south, October 23, 2003

AMGA finds solid radiologist compensation gains, August 12, 2003

Copyright © 2005 AuntMinnie.com

 

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