July 13, 2021

The Radiology Job Search

By Daniel Barton Booth, MD


You are either nearing the end of or have completed your radiology training. The next step is landing that dream job you’ve put numerous years of hard work toward since graduating from high school. But where do you start? This can be a daunting task as many of us have never had a “real” job. Perhaps the thought of having to travel and interview again … is not exactly on the top of your priority list.

Remember, this is the culmination of countless hours of preparation and commitment, and now is not the time to settle. I want to share three factors to consider as you begin searching. And yes, there’s a mnemonic to make this task more manageable. It’s simple — location, likelihood and leverage.

As real estate agents often remark — location is everything. It doesn’t matter how great the job is if you are unhappy where you live. I recommend that you begin with a fairly specific geographic location where you’d like to live. If you are unable to narrow it down to a state, at least have a region in mind.

When considering location, understand that different parts of the country (and world) will have varying costs of living, business models and possibly practice expectations. Keeping this in mind will steer you in the right direction as you contemplate location.

The second thing we need to consider is likelihood — a multifactorial approach to the job search that allows you to compare prospective jobs. For example, what is the likelihood that you will pursue academic vs. nonacademic radiology? What is the likelihood that you will be a good fit for a particular group? Moreover, what is the likelihood that you will still desire to be working there in five, 10 or 30 years? Although some radiologists change jobs multiple times in a career, applying the likelihood principle is especially important if you want to establish roots early.

Lastly, remain cognizant of the leverage you possess when applying for a job. As a relatively new radiologist, knowing your own worth can be challenging. I would strongly advise researching the average regional starting salary before you begin any negotiations.

Negotiating with an employer can be intimidating, but this is a normal — and even expected — part of the process. Other attributes of a job may be negotiable as well, such as vacation, benefits and partnership track length. As you begin to reach out to potential employers, remember to exercise discretion and good judgment, as the aforementioned things will often be commensurate with your level of experience.

In summary, I encourage you to carefully consider these three factors as you navigate uncharted waters. As we all have various goals and aspirations, the “one size fits all” job mentality does not apply. Don’t become disheartened if the first — or even second — interview doesn’t work out as planned. Keep searching, and know the right job is within reach.