Becoming a Radiologist

A radiologist is a doctor who reads X-ray, MRI and CT scan images, among others. They diagnose conditions based on these images and can help make important treatment decisions. They are highly trained in this specialty, and the educational requirements usually take about fourteen years to complete. Learn more about how one becomes a radiologist and what the employment opportunities are.

Medical School

Anyone who wishes to become a licensed radiologist must first complete medical school training. To enter medical school, applicants must have a minimum of a four-year undergraduate degree. This is most often a bachelor’s degree in a science-based major. Upon entry into medical school, the doctoral degree typically takes another four years to complete.

Residency and Fellowship

After graduation from medical school, students wishing to further education must choose a residency program. A radiology residency may be undertaken at the same school one did medical training, or it can be done at another institution. A residency takes four years to complete on average, and in this time, doctors learn how to read specialized imaging. After the residency is complete, many choose to do another one to two years of additional training, which is called a fellowship.

Practice Setting

During residency and fellowship, most radiologists decide what sect of radiology they are most interested in. Once all education is complete, he or she must decide what type of practice setting he or she wishes to work in. This can be a private practice setting, where things like pre-owned MRI machines can be purchased to establish a practice. Alternatively, radiologists may choose to work in a public hospital or in a research facility.

Though becoming a radiologist is a long road, it can be a job that one flourishes in for years to come. Those interested in this field can ask to shadow a radiologist to see what a typical workday is like.

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