Now that I’m just over a month into this second semester of radiology, I have to say, I am glad I am here. I always was glad, but now things are relevant, interesting, you can place any good adjective you would like here. It really is a great lifestyle and contradictory to what most people might believe, this is way more interesting than any general dentistry ever was to me. Yes I was good at it and yes I made a great living, but I am actually happy here. The cases are interesting, complicated, and all of them are a puzzle to me. Maybe it’s because I’m still new to the whole field, and I’m running across things I have not seen before. Still, I feel right at home being involved in radiology.
I also have to be thankful that I am in the program that I currently am in now. I’m treated with great respect, the faculty is second to none, the clinical experience is excellent and I honestly do not feel I am lacking much here. In fact, I am confident that by the time I graduate I will be proficient enough to pursue private practice. I also realize that I do love to teach. I enjoy the one to one interaction and enjoy being able to explain things to students. I think an academic career might be in the works for me. It really depends on the financial situation but I have always wanted to go back and teach, even if just part time. Several faculty have pointed to my interactions with other students/residents and they have all agreed that I could be an effective instructor.
For those who send me questions and read the blog regularly, I have to say, this is one of the best decisions of my life. I was nervous before starting (leaving a great office, a great staff, a great job and lots of money) but now that I am here, I can’t imagine having done anything else.
Glad to hear you are so happy with your decision. Its especially encouraging as i have actually been recently accepted into an oral radiology program and am excited to start.
You have mentioned private practice on more than one occasion. Are there private corporations that hire oral radiologists to read scans? I know you have mentioned working from home to pay your loans and was wondering what your source of referrals in that case would be.
Congratulations, which program will you be attending and what year are you starting?
Currently there are several radiology group practices that you can join who will have scans for you. These scans come from private practice, hospitals and imaging centers. I believe that I will likely go this route in the beginning and then decide whether I want to become a partner or petition doctors and centers surrounding my immediate area for referrals. I prefer the second option better, but the first option also has many advantages, for example, having to not deal with billing and concentrating strictly on interpretation and diagnosis. For me it strictly depends on financing. The service is exactly the same, if being in a group practice nets more money, then great, if not then the other option is just as well. Ultimately I would like to split my time between teaching and private practice.
I’ll be starting at UCLA this year. It’s the first year of the program.
Just to follow up on your last comment. When you say radiology group practices do you mean a group practice of mainly medical radiologists who might hire a OMR to read scans relevant to the oral and maxillofacial regions?
No, I mean an OMFR group practice. Although the other scenario isn’t unheard of but it really is a different base of referring doctors. For the most part, medical tends to stay with medical and dental tends to go with dental. Every once in a while you might get referrals from an ENT doctor.
Approximately how many hours were you working in general practice? If you were to only work in private practice (no teaching), how many hours would you expect to work after your residency?
By the way, I didn’t see if you mentioned how you were paying for school. You said that you could not take loans and you were hoping to work part time, did you find employment?
Thanks again for your work.
In general practice I worked two different offices, the first one I worked three and a half days a week. I was very successful there, and made a lot of money, more than most do in five day weeks. The second office I wasn’t in very long, but I worked five days a week with the idea of buying the office and hiring some associates to work for me. It just so happened that I got accepted into the radiology program much sooner than I had intended and put that idea on hold and here I am.
As far as loans, I did manage to get approved for a loan, so that has helped me, but I also have saved quite a bit of money and I am living a completely opposite lifestyle than I did when I was in practice. Basically I only spend money when it is absolutely necessary. I have also been day trading to help mitigate the bills. I am looking to find a part time, weekend type practice that I might be able to join. If I can find something, then this really will be the ideal situation.
Update: I missed one of your questions, I’m not sure how many hours I expect to work private practice. It really depends if I decide to go to an imaging center or work from home. Imaging center I likely would do a regular 8 hour work day. If I’m working from home I guess I can choose to work any number of hours, but my understanding is that most tend to work four to six hours a day. I can’t imagine being in a dark room any longer than that myself.
Just looking back at your last comment here. Are you saying that most people who are involved in teleradioloy, ie working from home, work 4-6 hours per day? What sort of salary do people make doing that?
Also, if for most 4-6 hours of interpretation is the maximum people would like to do, how is it different from working at an imaging center? Is it that at an imaging center there are other responsibilities besides strict interpreation?
Seems that that’s the case. My understanding is that you would be able to work whatever hours you want to work. As far as salary is concerned I don’t think there is a real consensus out there just yet. Estimates are from 160 to 180 a year. If you can keep busy I can imagine a salary of over 400, the math does add up. The trick is getting enough scans to be read. At this specific point in time, I don’t think there are enough to manage that kind of salary. It just depends on the deal you work out with the dentists and how many referrals you can get.
Working in an imaging center isn’t much different, if I were to open one I would simply hire a radio tech to take all the scans for me and I would do the readings myself. Again, depending on your speed you might work 4 hrs, 10 hrs and anywhere in between. The thing with radiology is that everything I’m talking about work wise is just what I’ve heard. I’m not out there practicing yet.