How To Become A Radiologist

in order to enter the field of radiology, candidates must be prepared to invest several years in their education. the process for joining this field begins from as early as high school. if you are interested in joining this field, you would benefit from taking subjects such as physics, chemistry, and biology. for the next step, prospective radiologists have to pursue a four-year undergraduate degree. again, pre-medical courses are required. after graduating, students should focus on obtaining a good score on their mcats. this will help them to enter into an accredited medical school.

students will be spending four years in medical school. they will be instructed through a combination of classroom instruction and laboratory training. their instruction in medical school will focus on a variety of subjects including internal medicine, obstetrics, pediatrics, and surgery. the specific aspects of radiology are learned during the four year residency in radiology. this is taken at a hospital, and can be looked at as a form of paid on-the-job training. for a focus on a particular subspecialty in this field, most radiologists choose to take fellowship programs that last for about one to two years. they may select from the following areas:

  • pediatric radiology
  • radiation oncology
  • cardiovascular radiology
  • nuclear radiology
  • gastrointestinal radiology

most radiologists also choose to obtain certification such as the american board of radiology. they have to continue with their education and training in order to maintain their certification.

what do they do?
the medical field of radiology involves diagnosing, monitoring, and treating patients with radioactive substances, x-ray technology, and imaging equipment. radiologists perform the following tasks:

  • prepare patients for the x-rays
  • take x-rays and administer special medications for various procedures
  • diagnose illnesses by using  equipment such as ct scanners and  mri machines and reading the  results of fluoroscopes and ultrasounds
  • monitor and treat patients with radioactive substances
  • document and record procedures

what is the employment outlook?
radiologists are highly paid professionals. their salary increases substantially with the level of experience. they could earn as much as $900,000 per year depending upon their experience and work location. however, on average they earn between $400,000 and $500,000 annually. the us bureau of labor statistics has reported that the employment of these professionals is expected to grow faster than the average of all occupations. their demand will come from the ever expanding healthcare industry and an aging population.

what is the work environment?
they work in hospitals, private clinics, physician's offices, out-patient care centers, and medical and diagnostic laboratories. they have to work full time and are on call during holidays as imaging services are often required during emergencies.  radiation hazards persist and they may also be exposed to infectious diseases. although the risks may be substantially lowered by taking appropriate precautions such as using protective gloves, lead aprons, and other shielding devices. they also have to wear badges that measure and monitor exposure to radiation. in this way their cumulative lifetime dose is recorded.

Q:How long does it take to become a radiologist?

A:To become a radiologist, you must compete four years of undergraduate college education, four years of medical school, and a residency program in this specialty field that can range from 2-4 years. The duration will depend upon the academic path and training duration. Medical school is necessary to complete to pursue a career as a radiologist.

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