Radiology, radiation oncology among highest paid medical specialties

Radiology and radiation oncology are among the top 10 highest average annual compensation medical specialties, according to a May 23 report by Doximity.

The report found that the two specialties range between $500,000 and $600,000 in compensation. The report also highlighted challenges regarding overworking, burnout, and physician shortages among all medical specialties.

“The U.S. health care system continues to face significant challenges that are taking a toll on even the most dedicated medical professionals,” said Nate Gross, MD, co-founder and chief strategy officer of Doximity in a company statement. “Physicians are increasingly tasked with achieving more with less. The goal of this report is to empower physicians to advocate for themselves and make better-informed career decisions.”

Radiology and radiation oncology are not immune from these challenges. Previous studies have indicated that burnout impacts radiologists in all settings and subspecialties, from private practice to medical education. And this can negatively impact patient safety in imaging.

Doximity highlighted the following findings among physician respondents:

  • 81% reported being overworked, with 59% considering an employment change and 30% considering early retirement.
  • 75% suggested reducing administrative burden, a response more prevalent than increasing compensation or reducing patient caseloads.
  • 88% said that their clinical practice has been impacted by the physician shortage, with 74% describing the shortage as “moderate” or “severe.”
  • 67% said they have experienced overwork or burnout as a direct result of physician shortages, while 60% said they have diminished job satisfaction. Meanwhile, 27% reported experiencing anxiety or depression.

However, radiation oncology and radiology have maintained a higher level of average annual compensation in relation to other medical specialties. In the Doximity report, radiation oncology has an average annual compensation of $569,170, which represents the sixth-highest compensated specialty. Radiology, meanwhile, saw an average annual compensation of $531,983, which was the ninth-highest on the Doximity report’s compensation list.

Both specialties jumped one spot each up the rankings compared to their respective 2022 positions.

The compensation data draws from nearly 150,000 survey responses over the past five years, including responses from more than 33,000 U.S. physicians in 2023 alone, Doximity stated.

The report also found that in 2023, the gender pay gap for physicians decreased to 23%, down from 26% in 2022 and 28% in 2021. However, it also noted that female physicians earned less than male physicians in every medical specialty.

Finally, Doximity highlighted that 40% of surveyed physicians reported satisfaction with their current salary and compensation package. And rather than negotiate a pay increase, 75% of the physicians said they are willing to accept or have already accepted lower pay for more autonomy or work-life balance.

The full report can be found here.

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