5 Best Radiology Residency Programs (Key Info & Data)

Radiology is a medium-level competitive specialty in the US with a match probability of 93% with a STEP 1 score above 240.

At an average of 5 years in residency length, it’s similar to specialities like general surgery (5 years), otolaryngology (5 years), plastic surgery (6 years), and others.

Doctors choosing radiology as a career can look forward to image diagnostics, using cutting-edge tech and playing a critical role in the care process.

But with an average US base salary of $430,000 for qualified radiologists, the lengthy (and expensive) training could be worth it.

The best radiology residency programs offer those interested in the field the greatest training possible.

This article takes a look at the top programs in the country, taking a deep dive into what’s offered by each and what you can expect if you’re lucky enough to match.

We’ve also included key info on facts/stats for each program (where publicized) too.

Ready to get started? Let’s go.

Before you dive into our article on the best radiology residency programs, make sure you take a look at our Best Residency Programs page to get all the critical info on other medical specialties.

1.  Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore) 

Length of Accredited Training:4 years
Positions by Year:12
PGY1 Annual Salary:$65,000 (approx)

The highest-ranked clinical facility in the US and the winner of the 2015 Minnie Award for Best Radiology Training Program; Johns Hopkins University is no stranger to outstanding titles. 

The Radiology Residency Program lasts 4 years and aims to ease residents into taking responsibility and decision making. 

Residents are actively involved in program organization, from making their own schedule to having deciding votes in the resident selection process. They meet regularly with the chair and have monthly meetings with program directors to discuss methods to improve the program. 

Every morning, 7:30-9:00 am is free and the faculty organizes regular lectures and case conferences. These are in line with exam requirements of the ABR CORE, done at the end of PGY-4. 

All residents have full access to a large variety of online educational resources like STATdx and RADPrimer. 

Check out the video below for an inside look into their program…


2. University of Pennsylvania 

Length of Accredited Training:4 years
Positions by Year:17
PGY1 Annual Salary:$75,353

Penn provides a variety of clinical settings including a quaternary care center, community hospital, and Level 1 Trauma Centre providing a well-rounded education for residents. 

The traditional clinical track is a 4-year program consisting of a 3-year core curriculum with a focused 4th-year 10-month concentration in all subspecialty areas. The core curriculum includes basic/advanced procedures and image interpretation. 

Residents are trained to master general radiology and the Core Exam. This includes rotations in CT, US, MSK, and many more. 

Every morning begins with 90 minutes of dedicated teaching time for residents to address any queries/questions they may have. 

Related: Interested in radiology? Check out this list of the best free radiology learning websites

There are “Personalized Teaching” sessions twice monthly, where subspecialties host residents for small group case-based teaching. There are also annual mini-courses that highlight the needs of each year of residency so you can feel well prepared in advance. 

PGY-1 residents interpret radiographs under the supervision of staff attending radiologists. Penn maintains an independent call for PGY2-4. Residents evaluate acutely ill patients, including patients presenting after trauma. 

Interestingly, all trainees are provided feedback on their interpretations by attendings within 24 hours through an electronic system.  

The video below provides really useful insight into what life is like as a Penn Radiology Resident…


3. University of California (San Francisco) 

Length of Accredited Training:4 years
Positions by Year:N/A
PGY1 Annual Salary:$60,719

The Radiology Residency at UCSF spans 4 years. 

The Department offers high ranking clinical training programs with patient centred research training. It is one of the most diverse in the US and provides many opportunities for postgraduate education. 

The PGY-2 year is spent rotating through core imaging services like thoracic imaging, abdominal imaging and neuroradiology. It builds the foundation for resident on-call experience in the PGY-3 year. There is continuous expert backup at all hours. An additional backup call pool is available via pager for emergency interventional radiology. 

Up to 12 months of elective time can be taken where residents choose a focused experience in a clinical field or area of research interest. 

There are daily conferences in the morning/noon at UCSF Medical Centre. These range from lectures to case based conferences. They prepare residents for clinical practice and to pass the ABR (American Board of Radiology) CORE exam. 

Check out the video below to find out whats makes radiology at UCSF unique…


4. Washington University 

Length of Accredited Training:4-5 years
Positions by Year:N/A
PGY1 Annual Salary:$60,719

The Diagnostic Radiology Program at Washington is rigorously reviewed to provide teaching and experience to residents. 

Residents rotate through all subspecialties of Radiology and complete their core requirements in the first 3 years of Radiology training. In the PGY-5 year, there is the chance to do 4-6 months of electives for further in depth education. 

Through the PGY-2 to PGY-4, there is a standardised curriculum with a few electives available each year. Standard rotations include but are not limited to: 

  1. Thoracic radiology 
  2. Abdominal radiology 
  3. Ultrasound rotation 
  4. Pediatric radiology at Seattle Children’s Hospital 
  5. Nuclear medicine 

See a sample schedule here.  

From PGY-3 onwards, residents are responsible for on-call coverage.

Every resident participates in a “Competencies Rotation” at Harborview Medical Centre. This is a quality improvement project over 2 months. Each resident is in a team with a co-resident and mentor to guide them. 

Residents have access to daily noon conferences at all sites. The conference curriculum includes a “Core Series” once a week which is taught by PGY-3 residents, geared towards PGY-2 residents. PGY-5 residents have a separate lecture series dedicated to real world radiology practice. 

A typical day at Washington is busy- interpreting cases, performing procedures, seeing patients, studying and more.

A typical day could be:

  • 7:30-8:30: Morning conference or case conference 
  • 8:30-12:00: Assigned clinical service 
  • 12:00-13:00: Noon conference or case conference
  • 13:00-15:00: Assigned clinical service 
  • 15:00-15:30: Teaching on service sharing interesting cases 
  • 15:30-17:00: Wrapping up clinical service 


5. Duke University 

Length of Accredited Training:5 years
Positions by Year:10 Diagnostic and 3 Interventional Radiology 
PGY1 Annual Salary:$66,193

Duke Radiology is a pioneer in residency education. It is a 5 year combined residency and fellowship program. A one year preliminary or rotating internship is a prerequisite. 

Exposure to a wide breadth of pathology is offered, ranging from complex transplant patients to common problems like pneumonia. 

The “Duke 3/2 Program” provides 3 years of rigorous training in general diagnostic radiology and the option of 2 years of subspecialty training in general diagnostic radiology with a flexible fourth year. 

Residents are offered up to 10 months in PGY-4 to 5 for research investigation. 

Residents rotate through 13 clinical rotations. The curriculum covers topics such as Cardiothoracic, Abdominal CT and GI (Fluoroscopy). See the full list here

Autonomous independent resident call is a core component of Duke’s curriculum to allow residents to mature into independent radiologists. 

For those committed to a career as physician scientists, there is a tailored Duke R38 Research Pathway. It provides 18 months of sponsored research time. Once finishing residency training, residents are guaranteed a 1 year subspecialty fellowship of their choice. They can also stay at Duke afterwards for a mentored instructorship in Radiology. 

Check out the video below for more on radiology residency experiences at Duke…


How Do Radiology Residency Programs Work?

Training in rads involves completing four years of graduate medical education first before moving on to dedicated residency programs.

Radiology programs are medium in training length, averaging 4 years.

After residency common subspecialties (fellowships) pursued include breast imaging, chest, nuclear and pediatric radiology, pain medicine, and emergency radiology.

How Many Radiology Residency Programs Are There?

There are over 197 radiology residency training programs according to the AMA.

The examples provided in the programs above are considered the finest offered and are ranked on criteria via peer assessment, residency director assessment, student selectivity, the mean MCAT score for the institution, the mean GPA of its matriculants, faculty resources, research activity and more.

The exact methodology is detailed in the U.S. News Best Medical Schools Rankings pages

How to Get Accepted Into a Top Radiology Residency Program

Gaining admission into the top residency programs involves submitting a competitive application via ERAS, The Electronic Residency Application Service.

This is a centralized online application service that you’ll need to use in order to “match” into the programs above.

Most programs begin reading applications over the first couple of weeks of autumn/fall and invite applicants to interview in the weeks following.

Generally, radiology residency program applications include the following:

  • A completed ERAS application
  • Personal statement/s
  • Supplemental statement/s (where requested)
  • Letters of recommendation
  • A full, official medical school transcript
  • Your USMLE Step 1/COMLEX transcripts
  • Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE)

Selection criteria are specific for each program but commonly applicants are scored on a combination of grades, clinical and research experiences, special interests, and anything else surgical departments/programs find relevant.

To be competitive, and stand a chance at matching into the best programs, you’re going to need great Step 1 and Step 2 scores, research experience, impressive extracurriculars, and a solid letter of recommendation.


  • https://www.salary.com/research/salary/alternate/radiologist-salary
  • https://www.prospectivedoctor.com/how-competitive-is-a-diagnostic-radiology-residency/