What is a PACS Professional and How Much Do they Make?
If you’re wondering how to put your technologically savvy brain to use, and earn a decent income while supporting patient care, we might just have the answer.
The medical world is undergoing a Digital Transformation. The field of medical imaging is quickly evolving. Medical Imaging and PACS professionals ensure a smooth transition of workflows into Healthcare Information Systems. These roles are critical in this age.
We’ll first define the field, break down the job titles involved, then discover how much each of these imaging professionals make. It would be helpful to understand the pay range for each of these roles as you begin interviewing. That way you can negotiate a salary that best fits your skills and experience.
To begin with, what is PACS, you ask?
PACS – is an abbreviation for picture archiving and communication system. It is a medical imaging technology that is largely utilized in healthcare organizations to safely store and digitally transfer electronic images and reports. Crucial to clinical care. By using PACS, confidential documents, films, and reports can be stored, sent, and retrieved automatically.
Since radiology has historically produced the most X-ray images, radiologists have usually used PACS; nevertheless, PACS and vendor neutral archive technologies have been introduced into other disciplines, including nuclear medicine imaging, cardiology, pathology, oncology, and dermatology. Medical imaging software has become an enterprise-wide solution.
As part of a patient’s care plan, medical images are captured and examined for clinical analysis, diagnosis, and therapy. The data gathered can be utilized to spot any physiological and anatomical problems, track the course of treatment, and give doctors access to a database of typical patient scans for future use.
A patient’s medical imaging, clinical reports, and history can all be accessed digitally to speed up treatment, enhance outcomes, reduce medication and treatment errors, and avoid unnecessary testing. Digital access can also increase patient safety while saving the hospital and the patient both money and time.
For a deeper dive into the daily duties and how to obtain these jobs, check out our two videos; What is a PACS Analyst? & How to Become a PACS Analyst. Like and subscribe to our Youtube to learn more about professions in Health Technology.
PACS Roles and Potential Income
The Qualifications: As there are a lot of technicalities you need to understand, you’ll definitely need a Bachelor’s Degree in either computer science, information systems, business, or healthcare. Or have clinical experience in the allied health profession. Some with no experience but a strong desire to learn.
The preference is relevant experience in healthcare and in a related analysis capability. PACS analysts must cooperate well with other analysts and function well on their own with little guidance. They must be able to multitask on a number of concurrent technology tasks, have high attention to detail and superior analytical skills.
General knowledge of DICOM is key for the position of PACS Systems Analyst. Understanding the clinical and workflow facets of the system is crucial to complete daily tasks. It’s helpful if you are a Certified Imaging Informatics Professional (CIIP) or a Certified PACS Systems Analyst (CPSA) to rise in the ranks.
PACS Analyst Earnings
Let’s talk dollars. PACS Analysts make an average salary of between $73,334 and $183,259.
The highest average total salary for is $119,416 in San Francisco, California, which is 51% higher than the US average. Next on the list are Boston, Seattle and L.A. The field is lucrative and one to look out for.
If you’re on the job hunt, don’t just stop your search at PACS Analyst. This title is interchangeable with a more commonly used title at several institutions.
The PACS Administrator
The Qualifications: Understandably, a bachelor’s degree in a medical or technological subject, such as computer engineering, electronics engineering, or radiology, is preferred by many institutions or organizations looking for PACS administrators. It would also help to be certified by either the American Board of Imaging Informatics or PACS Administrators Registry and Certification Association.
An ambitious PACS administrator may receive training at one of the medical technology-focused institutions or programs to prepare for a variety of PACS administrator positions.
There are a handful of certifications you can be expected to be skilled in. The following are offered by PARCA.
A comprehensive awareness of clinical technology and practices is required of a Certified PACS Associate (CPAS). An entry level cert.
The PACS and Radiology Information Systems can be connected and integrated by a Certified PACS Interface Analyst (CPIA). This is a very specialized position.
The Certified PACS System Manager (CPSM) is the highest PACS qualification offered by PARCA. The CPIA and CPSA certifications provide the foundation for this qualification.
There is an alternate and increasingly popular certification option. Rather than obtaining the 4 PARCA certifications you can just get one. The Certified Imaging Informatics Professional. Our website, PACS Boot Camp .com provides an imaging informatics study guide and a practice exam for those of you interested in taking the CIIP board exam.
PACS Boot Camp will release free course modules on each of these topics over time. However, if you cannot wait, PACS Boot Camp also provides a Premium course. The PACS Boot Camp Premium IIP Study Guide is based on the ABII Test Content Outline. The guide builds upon the March 2020 ABII Outline by providing additional context to each sub-topic. Individual topics from the content outline will be summarized into short and concise descriptions. The course is available here:
Available for Purchase Now Enroll Here
In addition to the study guide, we offer a 100 Question Study Guide to prepare for the ABII exam.
Available for Purchase Now Enroll Here
Finding a technical resource who is perfectly matched to the needs of the company is challenging for the majority of medical institutions due to the significant variation in requirements for PACS administrator roles. The position calls for in-depth radiological expertise, clinical knowledge, understanding of medical terminology as well as strong IT abilities.
Technically speaking, it’s a big plus to have experience with Windows Server 2008 and 2012 servers, Oracle database administration, and the HL7 and DICOM protocol domains. Also to be knowledgeable in security and quality control.
A PACS administrator must also be proficient in communication and it helps to have at least a year of experience in the field of medical informatics.
So, if you’re this experienced, the reward has to be nice.
PACS Administrator Earnings
In the US, a PACS administrator gets an average salary of $85,504. PACS administrators typically receive a bonus of $1,096 annually, or 1% of their income. In states like New York, you may even expect a 2-3% annual raise. PACS administrators in San Francisco earn the highest, with an average total salary that is 17% higher than the US average ($100,081). So, ready to move to San Francisco?
Next, you can plot a move to either New York or Boston to match these salary demands.
The duties and positions that are assigned will determine the PACS admin’s pay. The starting pay for recent grads is up to $80,000 per year. With a few years of expertise, the typical compensation is closer to $90,000. Senior level positions with extensive professional expertise can earn upwards of $100,000 annually.
If you work consistently for a minimum of 5 years, you could be promoted as PACS manager. While you will be answerable to a program director, you’ll still be supervising all analysts. With more extensive experience, you could be made Director. Earning upwards of $150,000.
Of course, with a higher post comes a requisite for more qualifications.
According to a Comparably.com report, the average income for the PACS professionals in the US is $73,321, with salaries ranging at the very minimum of $15,075 to a whopping $404,726. The low range for junior roles such as PACS associates, Junior Analyst. The high range for System Architects, Contractors and Consultants.
If this sounds like the right job for you, then visit our website PACSBootCamp.com where we provide a free STEP BY STEP guide on how to become a PACS analyst. Along with free course modules. No purchase necessary.
Radiology Information Systems Analyst
If you’ve got an eye for making sense of the black, white and grey in Radiology, then this one’s for you.
The Qualifications: At its core essentials, you’d definitely need a high school diploma or equivalency. Though a Bachelors is preferred. Strong HL7 and DICOM knowledge with some experience is crucial.
Bonus if you have completed an authorized X-Ray Technology course, or its equivalent, and two years of experience performing all types of diagnostic work in a hospital radiology department or a private radiology service, at least one of which must have involved systems analysis and development. These extra skills can help you negotiate a higher salary.
It goes without saying, that a thorough knowledge of techniques, practices and procedures of radiological operations; good knowledge of all aspects of computers and information systems including equipment, programs, systems and functional capabilities; is key to success in this role.
RIS Analyst Earnings
With an average yearly compensation of $65,544, the entry-level total pay for a radiology systems analyst in the United States is expected to be $75,033. However, if you had up to five years of experience, your average income would grow to 95,000 dollars, and you might earn up to 125,000 dollars.
We’ve identified 11 states with RIS PACS Analyst salaries that are higher than the national average. Tennessee is at the top of the list, followed closely by Hawaii and Minnesota in second and third. By 5.8%, Minnesota exceeds the national average, while Tennessee continues this pattern by exceeding the $77,441 by an additional $7,399 (9.6%).
With these 11 states paying on average more than the national average, moving seems to offer the best chance of advancing financially as a RIS PACS Analyst.
Cardiology PACS Analysts
Now, we’re dealing with matters and imaging of the heart; the qualifications naturally intensify.
The Qualifications: A Bachelor’s degree is necessary, although it may be replaced by at least five years of relevant work experience. But specific certifications are essential: Certified Application-specific qualifications are preferred; imaging informatics professional certification is the standard. Syngo Dynamics Cardiology PACS experience would make you stand out from the cohort of candidates.
You’ll be expected to be skilled in day to day management. Of course, you must be proficient in uploading pictures to the Cardiology PACS system. Maintain effective IT workflow in the clinic by collaborating with the manager of the Echo Lab and Ambulatory Clinic.
Cardiology PACS Analyst Earnings
Given the high stakes of the work, the salary is rewarding too. The salary might be as much as $137,500 each year, or if you’re a beginner in a smaller setup, you could be paid as little as $27,500. Cardiology PACS Administrator salaries presently average between $62,500 and $103,500, with the top 90 percentile earners in the United States getting $122,000 yearly.
There are a few cities where the normal Cardiology PACS Administrator salary is higher than the national average!
Cities in Nebraska, New York and California specifically. Deer Park, California exceeds the national average by $17,381, and Atkinson, Nebraska continues this pattern by exceeding the $85,173 norm by another $38,496. Moving seems to offer the best chance of advancing professionally as a Cardiology PACS Administrator.
That’s a wrap folks. Subscribe to our email mailing list to know what better opportunities await you.
PS. If you are interested in self study here are a few books to get started in the field.
We strongly recommend focusing on 3 books: Practical Imaging Informatics, Exam Cramp CompTIA Network+, Medical Terminology
If you were to only choose 1 out of the 3 recommendations then we would suggest the Practical Imaging Informatics book. This book touches upon the major components of imaging informatics. Please note the following links are Amazon Affiliate links intended to help us earn commissions on your purhcases. If you have an alternate way to obtaining these books at a better price, please do so.
12/2021 Update: Second Edition of Practical Imaging Informatics has been published. Link below