The COVID-19 pandemic didn't seem to make a big dent in salaries for radiology professionals in 2020, at least according to the latest figures from SalaryScan, AuntMinnie.com's annual survey of benefits and compensation in radiology.
Salaries for both radiologists and radiologic technologists in 2020 were largely in line with SalaryScan figures reported in 2019, if not slightly higher. SalaryScan data for 2019 showed annual salaries for all types of radiologists exceeded $400,000 for the first time in the history of the survey.
As with the rest of society, the COVID-19 pandemic wrought seismic changes on the field of radiology in 2020 -- changes that continue to be felt. The first wave of the pandemic in early 2020 saw sharp declines in nonemergency imaging, a trend that took months to recover from. And there are some indications that both radiologists and technologists are having to work harder to maintain the same level of productivity, as measured by relative value units.
But they're still getting paid. The average base salary for radiologists across all imaging modalities was $421,776 in 2020, compared with $408,023 in 2019 and $394,034 in 2018. And all types of radiologists made more than $400,000 in 2020, as they did in 2019, regardless of the type of modality they tended to subspecialize in.
Interventional radiologists regained their position at the top of the heap in terms of highest-paid radiologists, after losing the honor to mammography specialists in 2019. Interventional radiologists responding to the 2020 SalaryScan survey reported an average annual salary of $438,647.
On a geographic basis, the U.S. Pacific region, usually a laggard in previous SalaryScan surveys in terms of radiologist salaries, surged to the top of the pack. Radiologists on the West Coast reported an average annual salary of $480,942. At the back of the pack was the U.S. South Atlantic region, at $390,439.
Regarding radiologic technologists (RTs), the SalaryScan data indicate that RTs hit a milestone in 2020. Technologists from one region -- U.S. Pacific -- reported an average annual salary of $103,897, marking the first time salary for any segment of RTs crossed the $100,000 threshold. Technologists from New England were the next best compensated, but at an average annual salary of $82,566, they were far behind their compatriots on the West Coast.
At the other end of the spectrum were technologists from the U.S. East North Central region, which at $68,729 represented the low end of compensation for RTs. Next up were technologists from the U.S. South Atlantic region, at an average annual salary of $71,462.
When it comes to modality specialization, technologists who worked in ultrasound pulled down the highest average annual salary, at $88,694. They unseated nuclear medicine technologists, who saw their average annual salary slip to $85,608 in 2020 from $86,702 in 2019. At the back of the pack were technologists in interventional radiology, who made an average annual salary of $76,778 in 2020.
SalaryScan is based on data acquired from AuntMinnie.com members in the U.S. from January to February 2021. AuntMinnie.com members can conduct searches on comparable salaries in their professions, regions, and states by going to the SalaryScan data query tool in AuntMinnie.com's Radiology Jobs section.