7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Dec 14, 2003
Visit site
Sorry if this has been discussed.
Can someone tell me what are benefits and disadvantages of academic radiology and what are the opinions on which is better between academic and private radiology?
Many thanks


1K Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 30, 2005
There are two different type of academic jobs: real and fake

fake academic (State-U medical center. no research, little teaching)

- lower workload (4-5 of you can stand around a monitor with an interesting case for 20 min and BS about it while a PP rads would have to read out a stack of plain films in the same time)
- typically a residency program --> little call responsibilities
- 9-5 job
- academic environment, varied caseload, intelectually challenging
- medical student and resident teaching

- lower pay than PP
- dealing with a university buerocracy (the person determining your salary will be a part-time internist who thinks that all radiologists earn too much. you might have to watch how someone takes your collections, deducts all kinds of 'deans taxes' and 'assigned overhead' and in the end tells you that you are not earning your keep.)
- medical student and resident teaching

real academic (Havad, Hopkins, institutions with radiology research money)

- academic life. lots of travel, lots of conferences
- residents, fellows --> little call responsibilities
- limited clinical responsibilities
- medical student and resident teaching

- immense pressure to publish and bring money
- high workload (spending evenings and weekends writing grants)
- little pay (compared with PP or 'fake academic')
- medical student and resident teaching
- dealing with a sadistic academic buerocracy

private practice

- mulah
- short lines of command. depending on your practice structure, you are pretty much your own boss

- high workload
- often boring work. lots of normals, lots of inappropriate imaging
- unless you contract it yout (nighthawk) lots of overnight and weekend call work.
- putting up with your clinical colleagues. smiling at them while you are thinking 'ghee, if I had a choice I would run all your non-indicated requisitions through the shredder, but hey, I live on non-indicated imaging'.
- limited job security. Stable radiology groups can go down the drain if the hospital hires a new despotic CEO.


Senior Member
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jan 20, 2001
Baltimore, MD
Visit site
Here's a gross oversimplification:

Academic pros:
- Great variety of cases, odd pathologies
- Usually get some "academic" time (research, etc)
- Prestige
- Educate residents and fellows
- Residents/fellows take most/all your call
- University benefits package typically very competitive
- Wide open job market right now

Academic cons:
- Salary often <50% of private practice
- Huge shortage of academic radiologists = too much work
- Too much work = may cut into academic time
- Fight for promotions/tenure at big centers
- Pressure to publish, get grant support
- Salary may be supported by grants at big centers
- Push for overnight attending call at many hospitals

Private pros:
- Job market still hot (though cooling a little)
- Great salary, benefits, vacation most places
- Geographic flexibility
- Teleradiology option
- Greater leverage to negotiate w/private group

Private cons:
- Work very, very hard most places
- Caseload not as interesting as academic practice
- Turf threats have greater impact than at academic center
- Congressional budget cuts hit your bottom line
- Can be expensive or difficult to become partner in some groups
- Knowledge base will dull more over time vs constant academic exposure