radiologist looking at x-ray

How to Advance Your Career as a Radiologist: 7 Tips

As a radiologist, you’ve committed yourself to helping people interpret, diagnose, and treat various diseases and injuries. Your work earns you respect and a healthy salary, which averaged $371,000 in 2018. The radiologist job outlook remains strong, too, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 4% growth through 2029. Technological strides in imaging, along with the aging population, have created a rise in demand for radiologist services.

Advancing your career in radiology might lead to a salary increase, but it could also mean opting for a more flexible schedule, studying different specialties, or pivoting to research or teaching.

These seven tips will help you learn how to advance your career in radiology.


1. Choose a Specialty

Carve out a successful radiologist career path by specializing in a particular area, which may lead to a higher salary as you gain experience. Many radiologists choose a specialty to train in via a one- or two-year fellowship program following the completion of their medical residency.

You may specialize in pediatric or emergency radiology, or a sub-specialty, such as the breast, chest, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, or musculoskeletal system. Another popular specialty is interventional radiology, in which you’ll use minimally invasive image-guided techniques to help diagnose and treat illnesses. These techniques include angioplasties, stents, biopsies, and fluid and abscess drainage.


2. Work From Home — or Anywhere

Teleradiology is a fast-growing radiology specialty that allows you to set your own availability and work inside your home while providing the necessary imaging interpretation and diagnostic services your patients value. As a teleradiologist, you can also choose which imaging centers and hospitals you work with. You’ll earn about the same as you would in an on-site role, but you’ll enjoy significantly more flexibility and a more manageable schedule.


3. Join Professional Organizations

Network and collaborate with other professionals in your field by researching professional organizations for radiologists, such as the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). LinkedIn is a great resource for searching for professional organizations in radiology. As you meet other professionals, you can exchange ideas and research, search for mentors, and potentially learn about new career opportunities.


radiologist with patient in MRI machine


4. Beat Burnout

Radiologists tend to work in more isolated settings and contend with fast turnaround times as well as ever-increasing workloads. That adds up to a recipe for burnout — and in fact, 44% of radiologists admitted to feeling burned out in 2019.

As you pursue career advancement in radiology, don’t neglect your mental health and wellness needs. Request to work as a medical team member or in a clinical setting, so you have regular contact with patients and colleagues. Consider workplaces with flexible work arrangements that offer a healthy work-life balance. Prioritize breaks and self-care when you’re feeling overwhelmed.


5. Hone Teaching Skills

If you work in a hospital with a residency program, you may have to take on teaching new residents along with your other tasks. Your teaching abilities may not be as finely tuned as your analytical and technical skills, so it’s a good idea to take some teaching courses to help you feel more comfortable and develop your abilities.


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6. Plan for Re-accreditation

You’ll need to pursue re-accreditation to maintain your radiology license — on top of an already demanding schedule. Research what you need to do to fulfill these requirements as well as how long it will take. Then, carve out the time on your calendar and set up alerts on your phone to ensure you’ll get it done on time.


7. Consider a Career Pivot

If you want to work outside the clinical setting, there are many opportunities for career advancement in radiology. You may decide to pursue a doctoral program so you can delve into research opportunities or take a teaching position. Radiologists may also choose to work as a medical science liaison for a pharmaceutical company, which involves interpreting the results of medical studies for physicians and publication in medical journals. Or you can build a successful secondary career as a medical director in charge of utilization review for insurance companies.


You’ve worked extremely hard to achieve your position as a radiologist. As you focus on career advancement in radiology, look for a workplace that values your important and life-changing work. Search for your next radiology job on iHireRadiology.

By iHire | June 15, 2021
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