Jul 3, 2013
6
0
Status
Medical Student
I am a third year medical student interested in Radiology. I really like radiology, but my test scores are pretty low for this field. After talking with others (attendings, advisors, residents), people have made it seem like I shouldn't be too concerned about my test scores and that I could still do radiology if I wanted. I find that hard to believe since statistics say that matched radiology students have an average step 1 of 240 and mine is 213. I'm hesitant to pursue radiology if I don't really have a shot of getting in. What are your thoughts on this? How important are your scores when it comes to matching? Or what is something to have on your resume or under your belt that could make up for low test scores? Thanks! :)
 

MU420

7+ Year Member
Feb 18, 2010
73
73
42 out of 44 people in your score range matched this past year. Apply broadly (I wouldn't bother with top programs to save yourself some money) and you'll be fine.

Radiology still has a lot of self selection going on because it used to be highly competitive until fairly recently but the fact is that there are enough spots to go around for just about everyone now.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RJGOP and DermViser
OP
D
Jul 3, 2013
6
0
Status
Medical Student
That's good to hear! Where did you get that statistic? And what's the best way to determine the competitiveness of a particular program?
 

evilbooyaa

Staff member
Moderator
7+ Year Member
Oct 10, 2011
5,463
4,300
Status
Resident [Any Field]
As others have said, you can definitely match into radiology SOMEWHERE, but it won't be radiology at the top places.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DermViser

Raryn

Infernal Internist / Enigmatic Endocrinologist
10+ Year Member
Apr 25, 2008
7,701
6,614
Status
Attending Physician
Radiology is the least competitive "competitive" specialty. The last 3 years, there were more unmatched spots in rads than in any other specialty (surgical prelims nonwithstanding) and it has the highest % match rate for US grads of any specialty. That's right: a higher percentage of applicants who apply match radiology than match FM.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Winged Scapula

Hemorrage

Ambrose
7+ Year Member
Sep 4, 2011
1,568
236
Status
Medical Student
Why the decrease in radiology interest? Job market?
 

eablackwell

It Wasn't Me
Moderator Emeritus
7+ Year Member
Nov 17, 2009
1,791
132
The Land of Sleepless Nights
Status
Resident [Any Field]
...declining reimbursement, increasing litigation
I hear this as an issue for every specialty, unfortunately. I'd say talk to a good variety of radiologists/residents, do some research on your own, and weigh all the pros and cons.

As for your score, rads had a 99% match rate last year (as many have already said), so as long as you aren't set on Hopkins, you'll be fine (although I know of someone who recently matched there with a 219...but that's basically unicorn-style rare, as most top-tiers will screen out a low step score and not even know you exist).
 

Winged Scapula

Cougariffic!
Staff member
Administrator
Lifetime Donor
15+ Year Member
Apr 9, 2000
39,596
28,103
forums.studentdoctor.net
Status
Attending Physician
I hear this as an issue for every specialty, unfortunately.
True, however the decline for rads is very steep.

For example, one of the image guided biopsies that rads and I do paid over $1200 just a few years ago. In 2014, it's about $135.
 
  • Like
Reactions: sazerac

DermViser

10+ Year Member
Apr 4, 2009
17,559
12,907
Status
Resident [Any Field]
True, however the decline for rads is very steep.

For example, one of the image guided biopsies that rads and I do paid over $1200 just a few years ago. In 2014, it's about $135.
:wow::wow::wow: How is that even possible?!!? Does Rads have certain codes that no other specialty uses?
 

DermViser

10+ Year Member
Apr 4, 2009
17,559
12,907
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I hear this as an issue for every specialty, unfortunately. I'd say talk to a good variety of radiologists/residents, do some research on your own, and weigh all the pros and cons.

As for your score, rads had a 99% match rate last year (as many have already said), so as long as you aren't set on Hopkins, you'll be fine (although I know of someone who recently matched there with a 219...but that's basically unicorn-style rare, as most top-tiers will screen out a low step score and not even know you exist).
The ones who I know liked Radiology, really liked the visual nature of that specialty AND absolutely hated, I mean HATED, the b.s. of patient care -- writing H&Ps, never-ending reams of documentation, annoying patient families, the whole rigamarole. The only ones who will leave Radiology are the ones who only did it due to perceived paycheck and those are the people that Radiology (or any specialty) wants to weed out anyways.
 
  • Like
Reactions: colbgw02

jazzman84

Destination darkroom
10+ Year Member
Jun 25, 2006
83
19
The potassium mines
Status
Fellow [Any Field]
I think people get way too caught up in the idea of "competitiveness" or "prestige" of a given specialty. I mean, if it's a field you are generally interested in, would you really change your entire career path because it may not have cache it did a few years back? For me, radiology was the specialty in which I felt I could contribute the most to patient care. Also, the stereotype of the rad sitting in the dark room never talking to another person is patently false. I probably interact with more clinicians from different services on a regular basis than I did as an intern.

The future of rads is uncertain, for sure. But, then so is a lot of medicine. One thing is sure, radiologists will always be needed. It is also one of the most immune fields to midlevel encroachment (the infrequent use of RAs in some states by some groups notwithstanding). The important question is what kind of radiologist do you want to be? That is, do you see yourself contributing to patient care by crafting succinct, accurate reports that clearly address the clinical question? Or do you see rads as an opportunity to avoid patients, rounding, social work and could not care less about the product you churn out? When you demonstrate that you can provide added value to the patient's care, that is how you earn respect as a radiologist in the eyes of your clinical colleagues. I've seen wall-of-text reports that neglect basic grammar, punctuation, and the question being asked. These garbage reports upset me because they do no service to the patient and taint people's perception of radiology/radiologists.

As a second year resident, do I have concerns for the future? Of course. However, whenever you see people posting about how they can't find a job after 2+ fellowships, etc, etc, these are either trolls or people with a sense of entitlement regarding where they will deign to work. If you are flexible in ultimate geographic location, there are jobs to be had. Not everyone can practice in NY, LA, San Fran, etc. I want to go into MSK and am looking all across the country at fellowships because I don't care where I end up as long as I get the training and connections to forge a happy career and life with my family.

That's more than I meant to write.
 

Winged Scapula

Cougariffic!
Staff member
Administrator
Lifetime Donor
15+ Year Member
Apr 9, 2000
39,596
28,103
forums.studentdoctor.net
Status
Attending Physician
:wow::wow::wow: How is that even possible?!!? Does Rads have certain codes that no other specialty uses?
It's image guidance.

You used to be able to bill for the image interpretation, image guided localization, placement of localization device/biopsy, placement of fiduciary marking clip, specimen image interpretation. Now it's all bundled and much less lucrative.
 

Etorphine

7+ Year Member
Mar 5, 2011
804
178
Status
Resident [Any Field]
As a second year resident, do I have concerns for the future? Of course. However, whenever you see people posting about how they can't find a job after 2+ fellowships, etc, etc, these are either trolls or people with a sense of entitlement regarding where they will deign to work. If you are flexible in ultimate geographic location, there are jobs to be had. Not everyone can practice in NY, LA, San Fran, etc. I want to go into MSK and am looking all across the country at fellowships because I don't care where I end up as long as I get the training and connections to forge a happy career and life with my family.

That's more than I meant to write.
This is one of the components that makes me most apprehensive about radiology. As a single guy/girl with nothing holding you back, it would be easy enough to go train anywhere in the country. Just pack your stuff and go. Once out into the workforce after fellowship, as you say there is probably a job somewhere in the US. The problem that worries me about the tight job market is if you are already settled and have a family in one area and have to relocate far away. What if you bought a house in one area, kids are in local school, your spouse has an established business that wouldn't be readily relocated, and you get let go after 3-4 yr due to downsizing? I feel like the tight job market specific to radiology might make it harder to stay local or even regional.
 
Last edited:

MU420

7+ Year Member
Feb 18, 2010
73
73
This is one of the components that makes me most apprehensive about radiology. As a single guy/girl with nothing holding you back, it would be easy enough to go train anywhere in the country. Just pack your stuff and go. Once out into the workforce after fellowship, as you say there is probably a job somewhere in the US. The problem that worries me about the tight job market is if you are already settled and have a family in one area and have to relocate far away. What if you bought a house in one area, kids are in local school, your spouse has an established business that wouldn't be readily relocated, and you get let go after 3-4 yr due to downsizing? I feel like the tight job market specific to radiology might make it harder to stay local or even regional.
Keep in mind that Radiology's job market was very tight in the mid 90's, but just a few years later, everyone wanted a radiologist. Radiology was the most heavily recruited position even above all the primary care specialties at some point in the early 2000's. For the past few years, the specialty has dipped again.

By the time you're done with your residency/fellowship (finishing medical school then 5-6 years of additional training), radiology's landscape may change again. This really applies to all specialties.
 

DermViser

10+ Year Member
Apr 4, 2009
17,559
12,907
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Keep in mind that Radiology's job market was very tight in the mid 90's, but just a few years later, everyone wanted a radiologist. Radiology was the most heavily recruited position even above all the primary care specialties at some point in the early 2000's. For the past few years, the specialty has dipped again.

By the time you're done with your residency/fellowship (finishing medical school then 5-6 years of additional training), radiology's landscape may change again. This really applies to all specialties.
Except this isn't the 1990s and early 2000's. It will only get worse bc of health care reform and due to the cracking down on imaging and having to justify it, the govt. is finally getting involved in reigning in costs and the best initial way to do that is on imaging reimbursement.
 

hallowmann

Lifetime Donor
7+ Year Member
Mar 13, 2012
5,526
5,118
Status
Resident [Any Field]
A lot of medicine is uncertain. PCPs have to worry about NP encroachment, specialties have to worry about reduced reimbursements. I don't think rads is inherently "unstable", maybe slightly less stable than others in the medical field, but as a profession its still more stable than most.

In any case, I wouldn't choose a field solely for the current perceived condition of the job market. Sure that might be factor to consider, but not alone. Things change, fields go up and down. In a 30-40 yr career, you'll see peaks and troughs no matter what you do.

Why the decrease in radiology interest? Job market?
This probably has something to do with the fact that for some reason there was addition to the number of rads residencies (about equal to the numbers that go unfilled now), when essentially supply and demand were basically equal.
 

MU420

7+ Year Member
Feb 18, 2010
73
73
Except this isn't the 1990s and early 2000's. It will only get worse bc of health care reform and due to the cracking down on imaging and having to justify it, the govt. is finally getting involved in reigning in costs and the best initial way to do that is on imaging reimbursement.
My opinion is that it will probably never go back to the dreamland it was in 2003 for the reasons you quoted above. I don't know if I agree with you saying that it will only get worse though. Radiology has already taken a boatload of reimbursements cuts in a fairly short period of time and it still manages to stay on top of non-surgical specialties in terms of salary. With that said, nobody can predict the future with certainty and things could get worse.

What I was trying to address above is the job market issue though rather than salary/reimbursement as supply and demand tend to fluctuate over time. They are training too many radiologists and they will need to cut down the number of residency spots or at the minimum keep it at where it is for a long time. Will this happen? I don't know. When will the attendings who delayed their retirement after 2008 finally pack up and leave? I have no idea.
 

Mad Jack

Critically Caring
5+ Year Member
Jul 27, 2013
35,545
65,154
4th Dimension
Except this isn't the 1990s and early 2000's. It will only get worse bc of health care reform and due to the cracking down on imaging and having to justify it, the govt. is finally getting involved in reigning in costs and the best initial way to do that is on imaging reimbursement.
Even the future of healthcare reform is uncertain with Republicans predicted to take the house and senate this year.
 

W19

Membership Revoked
Removed
Removed
Account on Hold
Gold Donor
2+ Year Member
Sep 24, 2014
6,096
4,210
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Even the future of healthcare reform is uncertain with Republicans predicted to take the house and senate this year.
I don't think republicans will touch healthcare at all because they know it is a hot potato...
 

DermViser

10+ Year Member
Apr 4, 2009
17,559
12,907
Status
Resident [Any Field]
They have to. They are largely being elected on their promises to undo the works of Obama. They'll need to at least modify the ACA if they expect to do well in 2016.
One can only hope.
 

W19

Membership Revoked
Removed
Removed
Account on Hold
Gold Donor
2+ Year Member
Sep 24, 2014
6,096
4,210
Status
Resident [Any Field]
They have to. They are largely being elected on their promises to undo the works of Obama. They'll need to at least modify the ACA if they expect to do well in 2016.
I always think addressing issues in the US healthcare system is like 'damn if you do damn if you don't'. Expending access to healthcare will cost money and there will always be losers and winners IMO...
 
Last edited:

Mad Jack

Critically Caring
5+ Year Member
Jul 27, 2013
35,545
65,154
4th Dimension
I always think addressing US healthcare system is like 'damn if you do damn if you don't'. Expending access to healthcare will cost money and there will always be losers and winners IMO...
As long as I'm on the winning side, the Republicans can do whatever the hell they want.
 

hallowmann

Lifetime Donor
7+ Year Member
Mar 13, 2012
5,526
5,118
Status
Resident [Any Field]
:( - can't seem to delete this on my phone... I don't know why it's there.

They have to. They are largely being elected on their promises to undo the works of Obama. They'll need to at least modify the ACA if they expect to do well in 2016.
Yeah, being elected for a reason doesn't mean politicians will actually do what they promised. In fact it usually means they won't (unless maybe you're talking about small local positions). It's a talking point, nothing more.
 
  • Like
Reactions: W19

Mad Jack

Critically Caring
5+ Year Member
Jul 27, 2013
35,545
65,154
4th Dimension
:( - can't seem to delete this on my phone... I don't know why it's there.



Yeah, being elected for a reason doesn't mean politicians will actually do what they promised. In fact it usually means they won't (unless maybe you're talking about small local positions). It's a talking point, nothing more.
I've analyzed the policies pretty carefully. There is a solid chance that the Republicans are going to push a platform of modifying Obamacare, possibly to privatize Medicare/Medicaid. There won't be a repeal, but there is a good chance things are going to be very different by the time I'm done with med school and residency.
 

W19

Membership Revoked
Removed
Removed
Account on Hold
Gold Donor
2+ Year Member
Sep 24, 2014
6,096
4,210
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I've analyzed the policies pretty carefully. There is a solid chance that the Republicans are going to push a platform of modifying Obamacare, possibly to privatize Medicare/Medicaid. There won't be a repeal, but there is a good chance things are going to be very different by the time I'm done with med school and residency.
You really think republicans will privatize Medicare--a program their base (seniors) like so much! Do you remember when Bush proposed privatization of SS?
 

Mad Jack

Critically Caring
5+ Year Member
Jul 27, 2013
35,545
65,154
4th Dimension
You really think republicans will privatize Medicare--a program their base (seniors) like so much! Do you remember when Bush proposed privatization of SS?
They might or might not- the platform is exploring options of bringing Medicare and Medicaid into the insurance marketplaces, while simultaneously deregulating them. I'm not saying it'll happen, but usually they start with something extreme and then work back to something between their extreme original plan and what currently exists, so it is likely some change will come from them owning the house and Senate.

Also keep in mind that most of the Republicans that are taking Democrat seats and incumbent Republican seats this year are far-right Republicans, something their policy initiatives will reflect.
 

hallowmann

Lifetime Donor
7+ Year Member
Mar 13, 2012
5,526
5,118
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I've analyzed the policies pretty carefully. There is a solid chance that the Republicans are going to push a platform of modifying Obamacare, possibly to privatize Medicare/Medicaid. There won't be a repeal, but there is a good chance things are going to be very different by the time I'm done with med school and residency.
Now modify and improve is possible, it's what they should've been doing over the last 4 years rather than repeated repeal campaigns to show that politicians "stand up to Obama" so they get reelected.

Anyways, hopefully anything will be better than the current Congress. Remember when Congress used to pass laws... yeah I don't either...
 

Mad Jack

Critically Caring
5+ Year Member
Jul 27, 2013
35,545
65,154
4th Dimension
Now modify and improve is possible, it's what they should've been doing over the last 4 years rather than repeated repeal campaigns to show that politicians "stand up to Obama" so they get reelected.

Anyways, hopefully anything will be better than the current Congress. Remember when Congress used to pass laws... yeah I don't either...
Oh, it won't get repealed, that is a certainty.
 

W19

Membership Revoked
Removed
Removed
Account on Hold
Gold Donor
2+ Year Member
Sep 24, 2014
6,096
4,210
Status
Resident [Any Field]
They might or might not- the platform is exploring options of bringing Medicare and Medicaid into the insurance marketplaces, while simultaneously deregulating them. I'm not saying it'll happen, but usually they start with something extreme and then work back to something between their extreme original plan and what currently exists, so it is likely some change will come from them owning the house and Senate.

Also keep in mind that most of the Republicans that are taking Democrat seats and incumbent Republican seats this year are far-right Republicans, something their policy initiatives will reflect.
Once the dems start pounding on that plan, they will abandon it entirely... You know how politics work. Republican privatizing Medicare is akin to democrats ending food stamps IMO...
 

Mad Jack

Critically Caring
5+ Year Member
Jul 27, 2013
35,545
65,154
4th Dimension
Once the dems start pounding on that plan, they will abandon it entirely... You know how politics work. Republican privatizing Medicare is akin to democrats ending food stamps IMO...
It's not about the push for what they actually want, it's about the middle ground they eventually settle on. There is zero chance that the ACA will survive in its current format with Republicans controlling both the House and Senate.
 

W19

Membership Revoked
Removed
Removed
Account on Hold
Gold Donor
2+ Year Member
Sep 24, 2014
6,096
4,210
Status
Resident [Any Field]
It's not about the push for what they actually want, it's about the middle ground they eventually settle on. There is zero chance that the ACA will survive in its current format with Republicans controlling both the House and Senate.
Controlling house and senate does not mean anything in american politics... All of these people want to get reelected and if there is any issue that would threaten their reelection, they won't touch it... Medicare, SS, the military complex, Immigration are among these issues...
 
  • Like
Reactions: notbobtrustme

Mad Jack

Critically Caring
5+ Year Member
Jul 27, 2013
35,545
65,154
4th Dimension
Controlling house and senate does not mean anything in american politics... All of these people want to get reelected and if there is any issue that would threaten their reelection, they won't touch it... Medicare, SS, the military complex, Immigration are among these issues...
I'll gladly place a friendly wager on whether the ACA gets modified ;)
 
Jun 20, 2014
855
698
I'll gladly place a friendly wager on whether the ACA gets modified ;)
I don't think it will be. When the next President is elected, regardless of candidate or party, it will be repealed. Then, the president will probably implement their version of it. I don't think it will really be a modification.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Noomm
OP
D
Jul 3, 2013
6
0
Status
Medical Student
Thank you all for all the advice! It's greatly appreciated! Someone mentioned the issue of whether or not you are willing to relocate. That is an issue for me as I am married and we would like to start having children in a few years. I'm not looking to end up in an urban area or big city. Are more jobs available, in general, in more suburban areas?
 
Mar 1, 2011
338
6
Status
Medical Student
What about interventional radiology? Is the competitiveness and job market for IR the same as the competitiveness for DR (i.e. is there a good chance I'll have to relocate if I want to do IR)?
 

KinasePro

Das it mane
7+ Year Member
Dec 14, 2009
1,130
694
Snap city
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Remember when the dem senators went with the "nuclear option" earlier this year? That's gonna come back to bite them when GOP gets the senate.

Also, I agree with earlier posters that healthcare will not move in a "progressive" direction anytime in the near future. If anything, the reforms under Obama will be dialed back to a more moderate reform.

Healthcare is toxic politics right now, especially with how awful the ACA turned out to be. The middle class will remember the botched roll out, spiked insurance costs, and "if you like you plan, you can keep it" lie. Despite zeke emmanual and NYT's best efforts, I think healthcare reform as dems see it will be stalled for the next few presidential election cycles.
 

DermViser

10+ Year Member
Apr 4, 2009
17,559
12,907
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Remember when the dem senators went with the "nuclear option" earlier this year? That's gonna come back to bite them when GOP gets the senate.

Also, I agree with earlier posters that healthcare will not move in a "progressive" direction anytime in the near future. If anything, the reforms under Obama will be dialed back to a more moderate reform.

Healthcare is toxic politics right now, especially with how awful the ACA turned out to be. The middle class will remember the botched roll out, spiked insurance costs, and "if you like you plan, you can keep it" lie. Despite zeke emmanual and NYT's best efforts, I think healthcare reform as dems see it will be stalled for the next few presidential election cycles.
One can only hope. I'm perfectly ok with this being used as an albatross around the Democrats necks for at least the next few election cycles.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RJGOP
Mar 29, 2012
41
87
Status
4th year applying to rads. I've received 20+ interviews so far.

My Step 1 was higher than yours but not by that much. You'll be fine. Unless you want to go to UCSF/Mass Gen etc.
 
  • Like
Reactions: latinclubimperatus
Mar 30, 2014
88
65
Status
Medical Student
Remember when the dem senators went with the "nuclear option" earlier this year? That's gonna come back to bite them when GOP gets the senate.

Also, I agree with earlier posters that healthcare will not move in a "progressive" direction anytime in the near future. If anything, the reforms under Obama will be dialed back to a more moderate reform.

Healthcare is toxic politics right now, especially with how awful the ACA turned out to be. The middle class will remember the botched roll out, spiked insurance costs, and "if you like you plan, you can keep it" lie. Despite zeke emmanual and NYT's best efforts, I think healthcare reform as dems see it will be stalled for the next few presidential election cycles.
Literally reads like a Foxnews.com editorial

Watevs, im used to this after being in medical school for a while
 

Silent Cool

Member
Removed
10+ Year Member
Jan 30, 2005
2,772
654
Status
I'm voting for Rand in 2016 if he runs.

But if Hillary runs and wins, what will ya'll do? To what country would you move if she wins?
 
  • Like
Reactions: a runner

DermViser

10+ Year Member
Apr 4, 2009
17,559
12,907
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I'm voting for Rand in 2016 if he runs.

But if Hillary runs and wins, what will ya'll do? To what country would you move if she wins?
If you haven't figured out Hillary Clinton looks out for herself first. She goes based off what is popular. She's quite the corporate Democrat.
 

Silent Cool

Member
Removed
10+ Year Member
Jan 30, 2005
2,772
654
Status
If you haven't figured out Hillary Clinton looks out for herself first. She goes based off what is popular. She's quite the corporate Democrat.
Does that mean you will be joining me in voting for Rand?

;)
 

DermViser

10+ Year Member
Apr 4, 2009
17,559
12,907
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Does that mean you will be joining me in voting for Rand?

;)
As long as he doesn't go off the deep end, I'm fine. He's a physician who so far sounds normal.
 

Silent Cool

Member
Removed
10+ Year Member
Jan 30, 2005
2,772
654
Status
As long as he doesn't go off the deep end, I'm fine. He's a physician who so far sounds normal.
What if he goes of the deep end? For whom will you vote?

I was a HUGE an of his father, Ron Paul.
 

DermViser

10+ Year Member
Apr 4, 2009
17,559
12,907
Status
Resident [Any Field]