When deciding on a medical career, many questions come to mind. While the position and status of being a doctor seems glamorous, you must be ready to handle the training and education that it requires. With regard to becoming a radiologist, one of the most common questions that arise is “how long does it take to become a radiologist?” We will discuss this, as well as other important questions about this rewarding career, in this article.
What Does a Radiologist Do?
A radiologist produces a diagnosis of a patient from medical images. These can include ultrasounds, x-rays, and MRIs. The radiologist works together with other doctors to make a diagnosis and advises what should be done for treatment.
What Is a Radiologist?
A radiologist is a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disease by using medical imaging techniques. The radiologist is an expert in medical imaging.
A radiologist needs to have a complete knowledge of human anatomy and health. Other radiology positions include technologists, assistants, and therapists.
The parts of a radiologist’s job description include:
- Deciding on the right type of images for a patient
- Serving as imaging consultant to the referring physician
- Instructing equipment operators
- Interpreting medical images
- Providing reports of exams to physicians
- Treating benign and malignant growths
- Advising on treatments
Radiologists many times work in hospitals. However, a radiologist might work in private practice.
Radiologists may work in various sub-specialties. These can include pediatrics and obstetrics.
Radiologists many times work behind the scenes. This means that they will more often work with other doctors than with patients.
Nowadays, with the advent of digital technology, it is possible for radiologists to transmit medical images electronically. This allows then to work out of most any location. This also allows emergency departments to receive after hours consultations. It permits long distance communication between radiologists and doctors as well.
Imaging techniques can reveal irregularities that the examining physician does not have access to. There are specific kinds of breast imaging that can detect cancer early. It is recommended that women over 40 years of age get a mammogram every year.
This kind of radiology involves taking images to detect problems in bones and joints. These images are used for the diagnosis of various problems.
In this area of radiology, radiologists take images of the digestive tract.
In this specialty area, radiologists use imaging techniques to create representations of the heart. These techniques are used to diagnose diseases of the heart and blood vessels.
Radiologists are currently making excellent salaries. In this country, the average income for a radiologist is $254,000 per year. The starting salary is around $125,000, and an experienced radiologist can pull in as much as $400,000per year.
Radiologists can make more money as they gain experience. Also, geographic location affects how much you will make. The best paying region is the Southwest, and the lowest paying region is the Northeast.
Income for radiologists is one of the highest among medical specialties. The salary tends to be even higher for the sub-specialties.
Gender also impacts how much a radiologist will make. Males make more than females. Those employed by group practices usually earn more than those in individual practices.
How to Become a Radiologist
The profession of radiology is a growing one in the United States.
To achieve the job of a radiologist, you must first become a physician. This is a difficult thing to do. It is highly competitive, and you must have a high-grade point average.
The following qualities are a good start to take this path:
- Great eye for detail
- Great analytical skills
- Superb memory
- Good understanding of anatomy
- Good facility with technology
- Medical knowledge
- Scientific understanding
The road to becoming a radiologist is a long and arduous one. To become a radiologist, you need to get through a licensing exam at medical school, followed by at least four years of residency. You may opt to take a four-year undergraduate degree or combine your undergraduate program with your medical program.
The topics that you will study include anatomy, pharmacology, physiology, and pathology. A high level of performance must be attained on the United States Medical Licensing Examinations.
One or two years of additional specialized training is completed by some radiologists. In the United States, strenuous training needs to be achieved to achieve certification. In the United States, state licensing is mandatory and board certification is usually required. There is a lot of competition in the field. So, high grades and general performance is a must. Also, you will need excellent references and exposure.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Radiologist?
All told, the educational requirements for becoming a radiologist are as follows:
- Undergraduate Degree (four years)
- Medical Degree Program(four years)
- Residency (four years)
- Sub-specialization training (one year)
The job satisfaction level for radiologists is very high. It is around 72%. This satisfaction from the job seems to come from the high annual income plus a tendency to be in the heart of the action on a daily basis.
Radiologists tend to work extended hours and irregular shifts. This may include nights, holidays, and weekends.
Jobs for radiologists are expected to grow at an average rate of 24% to the year 2020. The need for radiologists is also very high, and a shortage of them is anticipated in the near future.
The prospects for radiology jobs are considered better than that of other physicians.
If you enjoy learning new things on the job, then a career as a radiologist could be the thing for you. Since technology is advancing so quickly nowadays, there is always a new aspect of the field for you to learn.
Radiologists many times advance in additional skills and experience in order to promote their careers. Experienced radiologists many times will choose lifestyle improvements over pay increases. This includes working more regular hours and shifts. It is also typical for a radiologist to take on teaching or research positions as he or she gains more experience.
In this article, we have discussed a lot of important information about what the job of a radiologist is like and the training that is necessary for the job. We have seen that the field is highly competitive, and the path to the position is a long and arduous one. If you have what it takes to become a radiologist, then the financial and personal rewards of this career are truly great. What one must remember is that such an undertaking is a life commitment.