Mammography pays well despite reputation, SalaryScan survey says

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Mammography may well be the most maligned subspecialty in radiology, with many radiologists discouraged from entering the field due to its low reimbursement, high liability risk, and growing regulatory burdens. But those who have the perseverance to make breast imaging their area of emphasis are likely to be rewarded with some of the highest salaries in medical imaging.

At least that's what's indicated by the most recent data from's SalaryScan survey of compensation and benefits for medical imaging professionals. Radiologists in the U.S. who specialized in mammography reported an average base salary of $407,297, an average salary higher than radiologists who specialized in any other modality and 22% higher than radiologists who reported no specialization.

Mammography's rise to the top of the SalaryScan standings is all the more remarkable considering that two years ago mammography languished near the bottom of medical imaging salaries, with only nuclear medicine physicians reporting lower average base pay. Since then, salaries for radiologists specializing in mammography have risen 19%, while salaries for other types of radiologists have grown more slowly.

Overall, U.S. radiologists of all specializations reported an average base salary of $343,032, compared with an average base salary of $332,955 reported in the 2006 edition of SalaryScan.

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The latest SalaryScan data, collected in a survey of thousands of imaging professionals from January to March 2007, also show some shifts in regional salaries for radiologists. As in the 2006 survey, the highest salaries were reported in the U.S. Rocky Mountain region (Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona), with an average base salary of $368,083.

In another repeat, the second most lucrative region for radiologists was the U.S. South Atlantic zone (Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Washington, DC), with an average base salary of $362,596 (both the U.S. Mountain and U.S. South Atlantic numbers represent declines relative to 2006 numbers).

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Making the biggest upward move was the U.S. Pacific region (Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, and Hawaii), which moved up three spots from its doormat position in the 2006 survey. Radiologists in the region reported average base salaries of $339,624, compared with $286,868 in the 2006 survey.

RTs enjoy strong growth

For radiologic technologists, the average base salary regardless of modality specialization in the U.S. was $61,512, compared with $57,717 reported by RTs in the 2006 SalaryScan survey. For technologists, it paid most to specialize in nuclear medicine/PET, with nuclear medicine technologists reporting an average base salary of $69,373. For those with no specialization, the average base salary was just $49,267.

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On a regional basis, the U.S. Pacific repeated its position from the 2006 survey as the most lucrative locale for RTs, with technologists there reporting an average base salary of $70,753. Meanwhile, RTs might be examining their options in the U.S. West North Central area (North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri), where the average annual salary was $55,053.

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For other medical imaging professions in the U.S., SalaryScan offers the following data:

  • Radiology administrators reported an average base salary of $83,240
  • Radiology practitioner assistants/radiologist assistants, $89,405
  • PACS/RIS managers, $68,560 members can conduct searches on comparable salaries in their professions and regions by going to the SalaryScan data query tool on the Job Boards home page, at

By Brian Casey staff writer
May 10, 2007

Related Reading

Radiologists ride Rocky Mountain high in SalaryScan survey, June 1, 2006

Radiologists in growing demand as locum tenens, November 15, 2005

Rads are still in demand, recruiting survey shows, June 7, 2005

Radiology's class war? SalaryScan reveals red state/blue state divide, May 31, 2005

Radiologists are hot, but no longer red-hot, July 26, 2004

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