How to become a Radiologist

How to become a Radiologist

A physician who reads and then interprets X-rays, digital images and the like is called a radiologist. These images are obtained via camera’s, imaging equipment, and machinery. Using the information on the images, the radiologist can help to diagnose a patient and consult with the doctor regarding the proper course of treatment for the patient.

A radiologist is primarily involved in diagnosing medical issues, however, some of the radiologists are interventional and may also perform therapeutic procedures that are image-guided. These procedures are done to treat cardiovascular diseases and other health issues.

Education And Training

How to become a radiologist – A radiologist must complete many years of education and training including the following:

  • 4 years of an undergraduate degree (Bachelors)
  • 4 years of medical school with a medical degree
  • 4 years of residency training
  • 1 year (which is optional) fellowship training if they are making a specialization

The radiologist must also meet additional requirements in order to practice in the United States. This includes passing the USMLE examination and obtain the state medical license. They must also pass the board certification exam in Radiology and obtain hospital privileges and proper credentials. Many of the subspecialties will include such categories as interventional radiology, musculoskeletal, mammography, neuroradiology, and more.

Job Description And Skills

Many radiologists spend a lot of time in office settings. They are busy reading reports, interpreting images and consulting. They will record results and diagnosis that are to be reviewed by the physician that is treating the patient.

Unlike other physicians, the radiologist won’t be spending as much time in direct patient contact. If they’re not in the interventional part of the job they will be more often found in the office. They still require interpersonal skills to help them interact and much of their work is collaborative and as a consultant.

A good example of this would be an oncologist that orders a CT scan or an MRI of their patient to locate and determine a tumor prior to treatment. The tech will take the images and then the images will be viewed by the radiologist. After reviewing the images, the radiologist will interpret the imagery and write up a report that will be sent back to the oncologist. The oncologist will then review this information and determine the best course of action for the treatment of that particular patient. Occasionally, the oncologist and radiologist may have interaction as they discuss specifics of the imagery.

There are other specialties that radiology is used in. These include the heart, brain, digestive system and other organs of the body.

Like most doctors, a radiologist will have to have a strong comprehensive understanding of anatomy and medical scientific principles that relate to health. Also, a radiologist must be comfortable with technology and able to use it as they will be frequently using a computer. They should be able to focus and have excellent vision and a keen eye for details as well as superb analytical skills.

Industry Demand

With so many advancements in technology in recent decades, there is a huge surge of careers available in radiology. there are many important uses for medical imagery. Equipment is being constantly updated and introduced and there are also nuclear as well as radioactive materials and MRIs that have hit the market today. From computers and cameras to the digital imagery and even sound waves or ultrasounds, medical imagery allows doctors the ability to see what is going on in various areas of the human body so that they can make the proper medical decisions to diagnose and treat their patients. This reduces the need for exploratory surgeries and other means of finding out what is going on. 


As far as the medical field goes, radiology is one of the more lucrative specialties that a doctor can select from. As per the Medical Group Management Association, a general radiologist can earn an average of $470,939 annually. An interventional radiologist who has gone the extra mile and completed a fellowship training can earn $507,508 annually on average.


There are many reasons that a doctor may choose to become a radiologist.

  • Compensation: Clearly, this is one of the more lucrative positions in medicine. Radiologists enjoy a high salary and many great benefits.
  • Vacation: while a mistake can be very costly, the job is very stressful as they are reading tens of thousands of images on an annual basis. They do however get a lot of perks such as an average of 8 to 12 weeks off per year which is almost twice that of the regular doctor when it comes to vacation time.
  • Schedule And Flexibility: A radiologist enjoys a more flexible schedule and may even take many of their calls from home. They can read scans on computers that are linked to the network of the hospital and they can also offer services overseas online as well. Typically, they do the overseas jobs on an as needed basis but they are still employed by a regular hospital.

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