How To Become A Radiologist
Do you know how to become a radiologist
The steps on how to become a radiologist are difficult and require many years of education. But once you’ve achieved your goal, you will enjoy using your education to help save lives and enjoy the fruits of your profession. Radiologists enjoy the flexibility of being able to work from home thanks to technology. This combined with a very comfortable living financially is very appealing for many and make the years of required training worth it.
Before we get into the actual steps to becoming a radiologist, let’s take a quick look at what a radiologist does.
A radiologist is a medical doctor who reads and interprets images from CT scans, MRI, x-ray, ultrasound as well as PET scans to diagnose illness in patients. Additionally if an individual practices Interventional Radiology they will also be instrumental in treating patients.
Radiologists also treat disease using radiation along side oncologists in the treatment of cancer. As a radiologist you will confer with other physicians when deciding on the best course of treatment for patients.
How to become a radiologist : Education Requirements
To learn how to become a radiologist you will have to attend a college or university and be prepared to take several courses in the life sciences of biology, chemistry, math, physiology and anatomy. Your next course of study as you continue through the education process will be devoted to more intense study of radiography. These courses will include but are not limited to courses in radiation therapy and diagnostic medical sonography.
The process overall will take several years. On average expect 12 – 13 years to complete your education and training.
Here’s how it breaks down.
You will spend 4 years getting your undergraduate degree. The typical graduate will have a bachelor’s degree in biology or chemistry. Additionally if you are planning to practice as a diagnostic radiologist you will be required to attend an additional 4 years of medical school.
An additional 5 years of post graduate training is also required after you receive your bachelor’s degree. This is referred to as residency. During your first year as a resident is a preliminary year in medicine or surgery. In some case it can be both. The education and training to learn how to become a radiologist doesn’t end here.
Next, you will spend another 4 years as a resident in radiology. While you are still in residency you will need to take the oral and written board exams in order to become certified in diagnostic radiology. You will take two separate exams required by the American Board of Radiology. One will test your clinical diagnostic imaging ability and the other will test your knowledge on the physics of medical imaging.
As you continue in residency learning and refining your skills, you will continue to learn how to become a radiologist and in your fourth year you will take the oral exam. You can only take this test if you have passed both of the written exams mentioned earlier.
Once you have finished your residency you can choose to enter into your own practice or consider a fellowship program in one of several specialties. These include, interventional radiology, pediatric radiology , MRI, abdominal CT, and musculoskeletal imaging plus there are several other specialties you might consider. A fellowship usually lasts between one and two years.
As you can imagine, the path to becoming a radiologist is very challenging and will take several years to do successfully. Some individuals find themselves in over their heads early enough in the process and opt to try another profession completely. Still others decide that even though they may not have what it takes to become a radiologist or even a doctor, they still have passion for the medical field.
Many enroll in medical technician schools and study to become medical technicians. The coursework has it’s own challenges but many are able to finish and still enjoy a career within another area of medicine.
Radiologists must be extremely motivated and patient. The many years of training and education will require focus and passion in order to one day become a successful Doctor of radiology.
Learning how to become a radiologist is going to be a very different experience from one individual to the next, if you believe in your abilities and can stay the tough course you will be well on your way to becoming an excellent radiologist.
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