Radiologist Career & Education Information
Radiologist M.D.'s : A Closer Look at this High Demand Job
Radiologist Job Description
A Radiologist M.D. is a physician with a full medical degree and doctorate who diagnoses and treats diseases using radiologic technology. Often this is a process of correlating various type of radiographic findings with other examinations and tests. Radiologists have a very high level of knowledge about various medical imaging modalities and how to utilize findings from many in order to properly diagnose. The means of obtaining images are many; however, some of the more common include x-rays (both CT and fluoroscopy), nuclear medicine techniques, ultrasound, or MRI's. The following are some sample bullet points from a Radiologist job description:
- Administers radiopaque substances by injection, orally, or as enemas in order to view organs using x-ray films or fluoroscopic screens, for example.
- Examines patients, obtains medical history, diagnoses illnesses based on imaging and related tests, and recommends additional exams or treatment plans.
- Often, radiologists work together with other physicians in order to use all the information and tools at their disposal while attempting to diagnose.
Interested in learning or comparing job descriptions of different radiology jobs?
What's the Difference between a Radiologist & Radiologic Technologist (RT)?
A Radiologic Technologist (RT) is the professional who specializes in the actual performance of the imaging techniques, while the Radiologist M.D. is the one who analyzes the findings and does the diagnoses. The differences in pay and education requirements are great. A Radiologic Technologist usually completes an associates or bachelors degree and becomes certified through the ARRT, while a Radiologist must undertake an entire medical education, complete a residency, and become a board certified M.D. Not sure where you could fit into the many options in the field of radiology? Browse the various career options. You can start at our radiology careers page.
How Much do Radiologists Make?
On average, Radiologists make $361,538 annually in the United States. The salary of Radiologists is highly varied depending on your specialty and your geographic region. To learn more about it, take a look in depth at our Radiologist salary resource.
How To Become a Radiologist?
A Radiologists must start by completing a bachelors degree, which will take four years. Then, they must complete medical school, which usually takes another four years. After the formal education, you must complete a residency which can take several additional years. Many M.D.'s indicate that it should be expected to be in a learning mode for an average of 12 years. In addition, some Radiologists choose to subspecialize, which could add a few more years to the learning phase of their career. Becoming a Radiologist takes perseverance, focus, and a passion for what you are doing.
If you want to be a Radiologist, here are some bachelors degrees that you should concider as the first step.
According the ASRT, the following is a list of sub-specialties that Radiologists can pursue:
- Interventional Radiology: Interventional radiology is the use of minimally invasive techniques to image and treat problems such as blocked blood vessels, biopsy procedures, angioplasty (stenting), tube placement, abscess drainage, and much more.
- Cardiovascular Radiology: This subspeciality is primarily concerned with the imaging and diagnosis of the heart and blood vessels.
- Chest and Abdominal Radiology: This area focuses on the chest region such as the heart and lungs.
- Gastrointestinal Radiology: This is the subspeciality of radiology which images and treats the digestive tract, stomach, intestines, and abdomenal region.
- Genitourinary Radiology: Focus is on the reproductive organs, bladder, and urinary tract.
- Head and Neck Radiology: Just as it sounds, its primary concern is the diseases and abnormalities that occur in the head and neck region and the role that radiology plays in treating these areas.
- Muscoskeletal Radiology: This is the specialty within radiology that is devoted to the imaging and diagnosis of the skeletal system and muscles.
- Pediatric Radiology: Pediatric radiology focuses on the use of radiology for treatment and diagnosis of problems with children and enfants.
- Emergency Radiology: Use of radiology in emergency conditions such as emergency trauma patients.
- Neuroradiology: Focuses on the use of radiologic imaging to diagnose problems with the brain and spinal areas using CT, x-rays, ultrasound, and MRI procedures.
- Nuclear Radiology: Use of radioactive materials to image, treat, and diagnose patients. The most common types of imaging performed are gamma imaging, PET and PET/CT scans.
- Radiation Oncology: Focus is on cancer treatment using radiation and various medical imaging technologies in conjunction with one another to seek out and eliminate cancer.
- Breast Imaging & Mammography: Specialization of breast imaging focuses on issues, conditions, and diseases of the breast, which include mammography, ultrasound breast procedures, biopsies, and MRI's.
The Shortage of Radiologists creates Opportunities
The baby boomers are aging and the number of Radiologists in the United States is not adequate to deal with the demand for their professsional services. In some cases, Radiologists from India have been either flown in or teleconferenced into meetings to assist with specific cases. According to the ASRT, Radiologists have reported a significant increase in workload including hours worked per week, and the number of cases they are dealing with on a daily basis has dramatically increased. Because of the shortage, the new Radiologist Assistant position was formed. Radiologist Assistants can help perform many of the more complex procedures and can decrease the burden for the Radiologist M.D.'s To learn more, visit our Radiologist Assistant page.