Do you want to know how to become a radiologist?
Radiologists are specialists who use the latest breakthrough in imaging technology to check cells and organs in the body in a non-surgical ways. Their proficiency in physics, disease research, and biology allow them to analyze illnesses and injuries so medication can begin.
Radiologists are experts in operating equipment like:
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- X Ray Radiography
- Nuclear Imaging
- Positron emission tomography (PET)
- Computerized tomography (CT)
Typically, they are the ones who do the analysis of the results that will aid doctors to diagnose an illness. They also plan with the surgeon a gentle approach when it comes to inserting instruments in the body, doing a body map of the disease and targeting the diseased tissues.
Radiology is an exciting field to get into as a physician. This field advances very quickly, and there are always new things to do and something exciting to practice. Radiologists are the first to test cutting-edge technology in medical imaging and they are also the first to develop treatment procedures based on laboratory research.
Work for radiologists is usually in outpatient diagnostic clinics and hospitals. These days, a radiologist can work anywhere as long as they have a computer, internet connection and a high resolution monitor. Since they have no limits on location as compared to those who are based in a hospital or clinic, they can work with doctors worldwide and get more income as a freelancer.
A radiologist who is based in hospitals usually works irregular long hours that include weekends, nights and holidays, while those who work in outpatient clinics are more likely to have a regular 9-5 shift work schedule.
How to become a Radiologist
The first thing to do if you want to be a radiologist is to get a bachelor’s degree. Pre-medicine undergraduate can take up a major in any curriculum provided that they meet requirements in math, organic chemistry, biology, physics and inorganic chemistry. Students can improve their chances in their application to medical school if they have achieved academic honors, did volunteer work, conducted scientific investigation and achieved great scores on the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test).
The next step is to go to medical school. Radiology is a totally competitive area of study and students are expected to excel in their subjects to be able to fight for available residency in medical school. Those who top the United States Medical Licensing Examination has a lot of advantages in getting prioritized in medical school residence.
Training on how to become a radiologist
Undergraduates should go for a 4 year diagnostic radiology residency during their last year of medical school. They should send their application through the NRMP, National Resident Matching Program. They are then scheduled to do the training job for 60 hours every week and even do some of the work in the evening to complete the training. After graduation, students can go a for specialty study for one to three more years.
A state license is required for all radiologists. Most employers require radiologists to pass board certification exam prior to employment. As of 2013, the board examination for radiology covers medicine, physics, anatomy and imaging procedures.
Required Skills and Character from a Radiologist
Students who are interested in pursuing radiology must be great with academics and consistently achieving top test scores. They also must have a strong interest in radiology and have a solid foundation in math and physics.
Most radiologists practice in critical operations like trauma, surgery, and CT scans. While practicing they can expand their education in Mammography, MRI and angiography. MRI is the favorite specialty study for 50% of practicing radiologists.
Those certified by the AART can practice ultrasound, radiation therapy and nuclear medicine as an alternate specialty.
A radiologist who wants to do management roles can apply for shift supervisor wherein they manage teams of radiologists. They can also advance to positions like clinical instructor or business director.
Salary and Job Outlook
The salary of a radiologist can go from $41,000 to $57,000 every year. The annual salary varies depending on the experience and specialty. A newly licensed diagnostic radiologist can expect a salary of $276,000 annually. The average yearly salary for diagnostic radiologist is around $385,000 regardless of work experience.
There are a lot of job openings waiting for radiologists graduates. Currently, there is a short supply of specialists in this profession in the United States because the numbers of graduates are not enough to meet the demand.
We have just outlined things on how to become a radiologist. It’s an exciting career to take and the innovations in technology in this field are getting more and more advanced. These times would be the best opportunity to become a radiologist.