What Does It Take To Become A Radiologist in the US?December 6, 2013
Diagnostic radiology is a growing field in medicine. This is a sub-specialty of radiology. If you are interested in pursuing a career in this field you need to first become qualified as a radiologist. Here’s what it takes to become a radiologist in the United States.
After you’ve completed your 4 years of college and you meet all the eligibility requirements for medical school, you can start sending in your application for admission to medical schools. Remember, you will have to sit for and pass the MCAT as that is a necessary requirement for medical school admission.
While waiting for your application to be reviewed and for your invite to the interview, look for opportunities to shadow qualified radiologists so you get a better understanding of what is involved in this job.
Once you get admission into medical school, make sure you take radiology electives in your later years.
Upon completion of your 4 years of medical school, you will need to apply for radiology internship programs as well as radiology residency programs. All med students who are interested in specializing in radiology must complete one year of internship before they start their radiology residency.
After you complete a one-year internship, you will need to complete a 4 year residency in diagnostic radiology. During the course of your residency, you will have to sit for several exams conducted by the American Board of Radiology. This includes a written and an oral board exam and a physics exam.
With effect from 2014, the system is being changed to include 2 computer-based exams. The first exam is held after the third year (PGY 4) of the radiology residency, and the second exam is held after another18 months. Both exams incorporate physics and will have to pass both in order to be board certified.
After you’ve completed the residency program, you can opt to either enter into practice as a general radiologist or you can opt to complete a 2-year Fellowship in any one of the subspecialties of radiology such as neuroradiology, interventional radiology or mammography.
As a qualified radiologist you will be responsible for:
- Diagnosing and examining diseases using X-Rays and radioactive materials
- Consulting with patients to determine the best course of treatment
- Treating benign and malignant growths through exposure to X-Rays and radioisotopes
Radiologists are expected to be familiar with standard concepts, procedures and practices. As the job involves a wide range and variety of responsibilities, radiologists often depend on judgment and experience to plan and accomplish goals. Depending on the treatment involved or the healthcare setting, they may report to a medical doctor.
The average annual salary for a radiologist in the US is $250,000 with a start salary of $128,000 and the potential for more experienced professional to earn an annual salary of $396,000.
Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.