Medical Specialty

How Competitive is a Diagnostic Radiology Residency? Updated for 2023

You want to become a diagnostic radiologist? Here's what it takes to match into residency.

If you want a career as a diagnostic radiologist, here is how competitive the medical specialty is to match into a diagnostic radiology residency. Diagnostic Radiology is the branch of medicine that involves the use of medical imaging, such as x-rays, CT-scans and MRI to diagnose and sometimes treat a patient.

Statistics on the Diagnostic Radiology Match

In 2022, diagnostic radiology had a total of 1,232 applicants and 1,146 spots. This equates to 1.08 applicants per position. Of the 911 U.S. MD seniors who applied, 153 did not match.

Total Positions Total Number of Applicants Number of Applicants per Position
1,155 1,568 1.36

Osteopathic (DO) Students Matching into Diagnostic Radiology

In 2022, the total number of DO Senior Applicants was 253. Of those, 169 matched, for a 66.80% match percentage. This makes diagnostic radiology a medium friendly field for osteopathic students.

Total DO Applicants Matched DO Applicants DO Match Percentage
253 169 66.80%

International Medical Graduates (IMGs) Matching into Diagnostic Radiology

Because there are only 0.79 U.S. MD applicants per 1 program spot, diagnostic radiology is considered to be Friendly for IMGs students.

Honors, Research and Awards for Diagnostic Radiology Residency Candidates

The average matched U.S. applicant had 6.9 volunteer experiences and 3.3 work experiences. They had 3.8 research experiences and 6.4 abstracts, presentations and publications. That makes this specialty on where the number of publications needed is Medium.

Research Experiences Abstracts, Presentations and Publications Work Experiences Volunteer Experiences
4.6 8 3.2 7.2

Average Step 1 and Step 2 Scores for Diagnostic Radiology

The mean U.S. Step 1 score for matched medical students in diagnostic radiology was 245. The mean USMLE Step 2 CK score was 253.

Overall Competitiveness of Diagnostic Radiology Residency and Chances of Matching

The overall competitiveness level of diagnostic radiology is Medium for a U.S. senior. With a Step 1 score of 200, the probability of matching is 55%. With a Step 1 score of >240, the probability is 90%.


How long is a residency in diagnostic radiology? What is the lifestyle like for a diagnostic radiologist resident?

Compared to other residencies, diagnostic radiology has a Long training length. As far as lifestyle, diagnostic radiologists generally have a Low stress lifestyle. Of course, lifestyle is very subjective and if you love what you do, it does not matter! And if you hate what you do, it can still be rough no matter what. In medicine, you should find the specialty that makes you enjoy your everyday interactions with patients, staff and colleagues.

What is the average salary for of a diagnostic radiologist?

The average salary post-graduation from a diagnostic radiology residency is $427,000, provided one does not go on to sub-specialty training which can change the salary substantially. Academic versus private practice as well as location also play a large role in physician compensation.

What are fellowships one can do from a diagnostic radiology residency?

Following the successful completion of general diagnostic radiology residency, some physicians may choose to continue their graduate medical education with subspecialty training. Board-certified subspecialists complete additional training and qualifying examinations beyond those required for board certification in diagnostic radiology. Currently, the American Board of Radiology certifies the following fellowships:

What are the best diagnostic radiology residencies in the country?

The best residency for diagnostic radiology, or any specialty, is very driven by personal preference and situation. How close you are to family, loved ones, the type of training environment, the opportunities available are all things to take into consideration above and beyond name recognition of a program. However, there are some highly regarded names in the world of diagnostic radiology including:

    • MGH
    • Stanford
    • UPenn
    • UCSF
    • Johns Hopkins
    • Washington University in St Louis
    • Mayo Clinic
    • NYU
    • Brigham and Women’s Hospital
    • Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
    • Yale University
    • Northwestern

Much of the data above is available from the AAMC Charting the Outcomes report.

Explore Other Specialties:

SpecialtyAverage Step 1 Score (Matched)Average Step 2 Score (Matched)
Child Neurology233246
Diagnostic Radiology241249
Emergency Medicine233247
Family Medicine221238
General Surgery237249
Internal Medicine235248
Internal Medicine/Pediatrics236250
Interventional Radiology247255
Neurological Surgery248252
Obstetrics and Gynecology232248
Orthopaedic Surgery248255
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation228241
Plastic Surgery249256
Radiation Oncology243250
Vascular Surgery239247




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