What Is A Radiologist?

Looking to make a change in your future, or find your career path in life? If you are interested in the field of medicine, then you could train to be a radiologist. Radiologists work in a range of environments, and can specialize in various areas of medicine.

What Is A Radiologist?
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So, what exactly is a radiologist, what do they do, what types of radiologists are there, and how can you become one for yourself? Read on to find out more about radiology. 

What Is A Radiologist?

Radiologists are medical doctors that diagnose and treat injuries or ailments using medical imaging, or radiology procedures.

These radiology procedures could include working with X-rays, CT scanners, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET Scan) and of course, ultrasounds. 

As these medical techniques use equipment with radiation, radiologists have to undergo a lot of specialized training in order to use them safely, and with protection.

Therefore, they will also have experience with and a deep understanding of radiation safety and protection, the effects of radiation on the body, and be able to perform radiologic and medical imaging procedures and examinations.

What Does A Radiologist Do?

What Does A Radiologist Do?
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A radiologist is the person responsible for completing exams and diagnosing injuries through the use of radiology.

This includes ultrasounds, MRIs, CT scans and more. As a result, radiologists will be the expert consultants that you will see when you go for testing. 

You will often be referred to a radiologist by a doctor, so that they can examine you using medical images, and produce test results that can aid your recovery and care.

They will need to be highly trained in order to interpret the images, and comprehend how to move forward with your care. 

Not only this, but part of a radiologist’s responsibility is to treat patients through the process of radiation, or with minimally invasive imaging. This could be with radiation oncology, to help treat cancer and similar ailments. 

Radiologists will typically work in environments that provide medical care such as hospitals, private patient care companies, physician’s offices, outpatient care facilities, research centers and in diagnostic centers. 

What Types Of Radiologists Are There?

Radiologists work in a broad field of specializations. For instance, there are diagnostic radiologists, who use imaging procedures to look inside of the body to understand a patient’s overall condition. 

They may work within pediatric radiology, musculoskeletal radiology (skeleton and muscle imaging), emergency radiology, cardiovascular radiology or chest radiology, whereas others work in breast imaging for mammograms, or neuroradiology where they will examine the brain, head, neck, spine and nervous system. 

Interventional radiologists will work to diagnose and treat patients with image guided techniques that are minimally invasive. These are the radiologists that work with MRI machines and X-Rays.

They can also create incisions to guide medical instruments through the body to reach the source of the injury or issue. 

Then there are radiation oncologists, who are trained to work with cancer patients. They may prescribe medication, and use radiation techniques to treat the cancer.

They are also trained in the safe practice of radiation to treat diseases, and will oversee and manage the cancer patient throughout their treatment, taking care to understand any side effects the radiation may have upon them. 

What Is The Difference Between A Radiologist And A Doctor?

A radiologist is in fact a doctor by definition. Radiologists are trained doctors, but their medical field of specialization is radiology. Other doctors may specialize in pediatrics, or other aspects of medicine.

How Much Do Radiologists Earn?

According to Salary.com, Radiologists in the US can earn an average of $444,690 per year. However, this number varies depending on the education, certifications and experience level of the radiologist.

This seems to be the highest end of the scale for radiologists. 

Data from Indeed states that the average base salary for a Radiologist is around $145,226 per year across the states, with areas like Chicago offering salaries of $243,241 per year, and Los Angeles offering around $139,554 per year. 

There are many opportunities and roles available for Radiologists, as it has been projected that there may be a shortage in the next few years. 

How To Become A Radiologist

How To Become A Radiologist
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To become a radiologist, you will need to complete high school and have a GED. Then, you can enroll in a college with the prerequisite courses for medical school. These courses could include anatomy, biology, chemistry, physics in a lab, math, and more. 

You will need to take the MCAT to get into a Medical School, before being accepted into one. Once you have graduated from medical school, you will be able to complete an internship and residency. 

According to the American College Of Radiology, radiologists will need to undergo at least 13 years of training, which involves going to medical school, completing a four year residency and often a fellowship for the specialized training in radiology. 

Once a radiologist has graduated from an accredited school, they will need to pass a licensing examination in order to practice. Most radiologists, as mentioned above will need to complete a fellowship, which is another 1-2 years of training in a speciality of radiology such as nuclear medicine or breast imaging, depending on what aspect of radiology they would like to work in. 


To summarize, radiology can be a diverse and interesting field to work in. As a radiologist, you can treat and diagnose patients with radiology equipment such as X-rays, MRI machines, PET scans, and CT scans, while also assisting in the treatment of cancer patients, depending on your specialization. 

Radiologists can work in a range of environments that provide medical care, as they are considered medical doctors. As a radiologist, you can earn upwards of $140,000 per year depending on experience level and specialization. 

If you liked this article, you might enjoy our post, ‘What Is A Phlebotomist?‘.

Jason Sullivan
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