How To Become A Radiologist


Video About How To Become A Radiologist

Choosing a career in the field of medicine is always a tough decision. Jobs in this field are extremely demanding and they require a lot of hard work on part of the student to make for a successful career. Radiology is no exception.

Apart from hard work and perseverance, it also requires a lot of skill in terms of doing research and completing other projects if you want to succeed in the field. But at the end of the day, being a radiologist can be very rewarding. After all, you're helping to save lives.

Radiology - A Brief Job Description:

A radiologist is a doctor who performs and interprets diagnostic tests. The types of tests that a radiologist may have to perform or interpret includes X-ray, CT scan, ultrasound, Positron Emission Tomography (PET), upper GI tests, MRI, barlum enema and even nuclear medicine scans.

The radiologist is then responsible for interpreting the results found in the various tests and giving a diagnosis.

But the role of a radiologist is not limited to diagnosing & interpreting test results. Depending on the hospital, he may also prescribe treatments. A radiologist specializes in safely administering radiation or radiologic testing to perform radiation oncology, inverventional radiology or image guided surgery.

Qualification needed for becoming a radiologist:

In order to become a radiologist one needs to have a four years bachelors degree, four additional years for an M.D degree, a five year residency in radiology and good grades on the state medical board exam.

Upon completion of course studies one can pursue degree programs for advanced studies or participate in voluntary certification exams through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).

How Do You Become a Radiologist?

To persue a career in radiology, follow these steps.

Step One

Since it takes a massive amount of hard work to succeed in the medical field, it is always a better idea to start your prep early.

Try preparing both mentally and academically right from your high school. Pay particular attention in classes like Biology, Chemistry and Physics to get a head start on your medical education. If possible, sign up for honors of AP classes in those subjects. This will help you secure a spot in your target college.

You can volunteer in a radiological center to become accustomed with the systems and way of work there. It will do two things for you. Firstly it will give some valuable insight in the field of radiology, and it will also help you with your resume once you start to apply for seats in medical colleges.

Step Two

Since you're trying to become a radiologist, it's a good idea to get a four years Bachelors degree in biology or chemistry.

While doing this continue with your voluntary work at the radiological center or a hospital. Take the MCAT test. After the MCAT tests you can start applying for seats in colleges. You need to do well in your college in order to get admission in a medical school.

A GPA score of at least 3.0 is required for most med schools. In the MCAT you would need to score about 30 to 36 to get admission in a reputed college.

Months before taking the exam consult the Medical College Admissions Test website to practice taking the exam. We would recommend that you take the MCAT tests in your junior years so that you can apply for med schools while you are still in college.

Step Three

After taking the MCAT exam you can start applying to med schools of your choice. Apply through the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) which is accepted by 117 med schools in USA.

The criteria that the schools will look for in a student is his or her dedication towards the subject, what knowledge you have about radiology, your written essay, the scores you have managed in your MCAT and your college GPA. To get a spot in a med school of high reputation, it's crucial that you have a GPA of more than 3.0.


You will have to go through a five grueling years of residency to complete your med school. This period is considered as the most demanding period in the life of a medical student. You will have to spend one year finishing a non-radiology residency and then four years of radiology residency.

During this time you will learn to diagnose problems such as gallstones, kidney stones, broken bones, torn ligaments, pneumonia, internal bleeding etc.

This is the period when you will gain a lot of hands on experience in radiology. You'll move beyond academic knowledge to actual real-world experience.

Step Five

Upon graduation from medical school and completion of your residency you will have the prestigious M.D. tag attached to your name.

If you scored well on your medical board exams you can apply for a fellowship program in radiology. Most of these fellowship programs take one to two years to complete.

Here also you will get hands on experience in doing things like biopsies, draining abscesses, treating aneurysms etc. After you are through your fellowship program you can start a full fledged practice of your own or work in a reputed hospital.

This is the basic process of becoming a radiologist. The best next step is to talk to a few radiologists to get first hand accounts of the process and to plan your studies accordingly.

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