How To Become A Radiologist

Thinking of following a career in radiology? Thoroughly understanding how to become a radiologist prepares you for a time-consuming yet rewarding profession. A radiologist is, in effect, a physician who performs imaging diagnosis on a patient using radiography and radiation techniques such as ultrasonography, mammography, computed tomography, or radionucleic imaging.

Job Description

The tasks of a radiologist include the following:

  • undertake imaging procedures on the human body for diseases, injuries, or potential health problems for clinical diagnosis.
  • interpret these results through written reports. monitor patient’s progress and development.
  • supervise radiologist assistants.


A person who wants to become a radiologist must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Have attended at least 3 years of college or possess a bachelor’s degree

Although any bachelor’s degree is valid as a prerequisite to medical school, taking an undergraduate or pre-medical degree increases your chances of making it through medical studies. In this regard, courses in physics, mathematics, biology, and chemistry in addition to humanities and social sciences are helpful when seeking admission to a medical school.

Complete 4 years in an accredited school of medicine

Entry to a medical school is quite competitive. You must have good grades to back up your application. Admissions are based on your transcript of records, the outcome of the Medical College Admission Test, and letters of recommendation. Expect an interview from a member of the Admissions Committee to evaluate your qualifications taking into account other factors such as personality, commitment, and interest.

Finish 3 to 8 years of residency

Once med school is successfully completed, you are required to undergo paid internship in a hospital or medical facility under the supervision of practicing physicians. You will work with senior physicians to acquire practical diagnostic imaging and care experience.

Pass the licensure and certification exam

Radiology is a licensed occupation in all US states. All radiologists are required to pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). To take the exam, you must be a graduate of an accredited medical school and must have completed all the academic and residency requirements. Board certification is voluntary.

Salary Data

The average annual wage of a radiologist is $186,044. The upper range of salary goes up to $339,738 (May 2010 BLS figures).

Occupation Prospects

Job growth potential as a radiologist looks promising and expected to increase by 22% in the period 2008-2018. Various factors contribute to this healthy projection such as new employment generated in the health sector and expected retirement of aging radiologists.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also cites the increasing need for imaging procedures as a diagnostic tool to detect heart diseases and cancer, a rising trend in the US. Radiologists and physicians are likely to find lots of job openings in rural areas.

Radiologist Video Intro

Take a look at this video that introduces the job of a radiologist. The video does a nice job of highlighting the requirements it takes to advance.


The decision to become a radiologist is not an easy one. As an occupation, it requires practical diagnostic skills, patient experience, commitment, and stamina. However, knowing how to become a radiologist is a first step to lay out the scenario and make sure that you are aware of the work before you. If you are in it for the long haul, a career as a radiologist is quite rewarding both financially and personally.

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