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How Long Does It Take To Become A Radiologist?

Yes. You got the message. If you are a school student, it is true that the physician who specializes in psychology is called a psychologist, the one who does dental treatment is called a dentist, but the person, a radiologist is not one who plays with radios. He/she can be best described as a doctor specialized in interpretation of body images for diagnosing and treating medical conditions. For the question how long does it take to become a radiologist – valuable tips have been given on the educational and salary aspects of the specific job profile. Read on.

Radiology is, in fact, a medical special course or science which prefers the usage of images to diagnose/treat body challenges within the body. Radiologists use multiple equipments and techniques such as ultrasound, nuclear medicine positron emission tomography (PET), radiography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for various purposes. Some radiologists are proficient in reading X-rays while there are others who inject substances (radioactive) in the body, then follow the radioactive materials by means of specialized equipment. Since radiology career is most sought option, there is immense competition in med school. The acquirement of medical images is done by the radiographer. Depending upon the challenges of body, the radiologist then tries to interpret the images and makes the report based on their findings or diagnosis. The report is sent to the specialist who referred for imaging to diagnose an underlying physical condition. There are specialists in some field who diagnose the images themselves by means of their experience. Some of the examples are orthopedic surgeons who read X-rays and Magnetic Resonance Imaging of bones and joints, cardiologists reading images of the heart etc.

Radiology is a profession where you have minimum contact with your patients. You can go for a job profile directly after completing medical school and next, residency.

How To Become A Radiologist?

Since you are dealing with human anatomy, you have to have subjects in biology, chemistry and mathematics before enrolling in college for a degree in science. For getting scholarships, for getting admission in degree programs, you need to have excellent grades on ACT (American College Testing) and SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) exams.

You can start your degree preparation in high school by enrolling for a pre-med degree as it can provide the foundation for Med school. You can finish four years of study in a science subject like chemistry, biology or pre-med. You can do internships while studying college. A letter of reference can help you go a long way in getting the seat for radiology at a top college.

You should have a high GPA, completed challenging research projects and awards – these can help you reach to Med school. If you have made a career plan in school along with the help of your family seniors, school counselors, you can get a good score in the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test). The grades can give you a head-start as you start applying for medical school before you complete your degree.

Gaining entry to medical school is a challenging process. You could have gained good grades throughout your school career, but your other qualities such as social work or volunteer in a local hospital will also be considered. If you have got a Letter of Recommendation from a person of repute, it will be a bonus.

As in any medical school, you need to complete two years of coursework (general subjects such as physiology, pharmacology, biochemistry and anatomy and non-clinical courses such as English) and two years of clinical rotations of radiology subject.  The third year will be an eye-opener for you, as you will be working under a senior physician. The clinical rotation subjects can comprise of pediatrics, surgery and obstetrics.

The next step will be passing the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) or the other exam, Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Exam (COMLEX). The scores you get will function as gateway for the radiology residency.

The residency is of four years duration and the environment you work will be related to clinics or hospitals. Information is given on radiation safety, radioactive isotopes, radiation oncology and effects of radiation on the human body. You will be taught to handle radiology devices such as MRI, PET. After becoming a resident, be prepared to put long hours.

For special trained subjects such as Interventional Radiologist/Surgical Radiologist, you need to complete a Fellowship. Interventional Radiologist can create electronic maps for guiding their instruments. They perform various delicate procedures and are highly revered in the medical field.

If you have any specific places to start your practice, you can pass the practical and written exams. There are written and oral tests such as American Osteopathic Board of Pathology (AOBR) or American Board of Radiology (ABR).

You can work individually in a local clinic or you have to manage a team of technicians and other work related professionals.

How Long Does It Take To Be A Radiologist?

how long does it take to become a radiologist

For becoming a radiologist, you need to spend 12 year or 13-year in studies.


There are three main fields which you can choose from

Diagnostic Radiology

The popular type of this radiology is the one focusing on the brain as well as the nervous system. It uses different imaging modalities to assist in the evaluation of disease. Nuclear Radiology – Radioisotopes are used to highlight areas of injury or disease within the body. The other two types of radiology similar to Diagnostic Radiology are Radiation Oncology and Medical Physics.

Radiation Oncology

Radiation is given to the cancer affected cells, by means of ionizing radiation (as per cancer treatment). The sub specialty of oncology focusing on radiation or radio therapy is called as radiation oncology.

Medical Physics

As the name signifies, it is the application of theories, methods of physics in relation to medicine. As part of the medical team, the role will be to make sure that images are of superior quality. These technicians work with doctors/physicians in determining the risks of radiation any patient could gain from an imaging procedure.

Job Salary

The Labor Department has predicted a growth of 18 percent from 2012 to 2022. The salary can vary depending upon your experience, age and the number of years you have spent at a certain level.


Your contribution in the treatment of accident victims will be noteworthy if a report is given in the shortest possible time. You can easily investigate the normal cause of injuries or a fracture that has missed the human eye. There might be instances of emergency in which you would have to resort to telemedicine. You can connect to a location with a high-resolution monitor and computer with internet connectivity. This technique proves useful for emergency situations and is used for consultation from physicians all over the globe.

Salary Benefits

You can reap the harvest after putting years of hard work. A radiologist profile will fetch you a decent salary, and less responsibility. Compared to surgeons who answer every call from their patients, most professionals of the writing profile has set schedules especially in hospitals or clinics. They can spend more time with their families.

But if you are a fresher, kindly take the chance to put in as much work as possible, because you will gain valuable information in a local clinic rather than an MNC where the processes are already streamlined.


Remember, there might be situations in which you have to make a firm decision depending on the case. Your decision can vary the kind of further treatment for a patient.

A look at the images should tell you about any condition that has not been detected. Your evaluations should be fool-proof and an eye for detail can be helpful for the physician. You need to have good professional relationship with all the departments. Kindly keep in mind, that all kinds of health departments have only one goal – promote the well-being of the patient. Your report should be in a manner that views have been properly translated into words. Your reports will then be part of medical records for a patient.

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