Radiology is an exciting field in medicine which has had many advances in the past 10 years. As a radiologist you are a physician that uses imaging technology to look at organs and tissues in a noninvasive manner. These doctors have great expertise in disease processes, anatomy and physics which allows them to diagnose medical conditions so that therapy can begin. If you’re interested in going into a specialty area, you might consider becoming an interventional radiologist because they can do surgeries while making use of imaging systems for guidance.
You might be thinking that a radiologist just does X-rays but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Radiologists still perform X-rays but can also do ultrasound, computerized tomography (CT) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), Positron emission tomography (PET) and nuclear imaging. There’s a wide range of possibilities.
You’ll need a high school diploma or a GED along with the college entrance exam (ACT/SAT) to get into a bachelor’s program. If you’re still in high school consider taking physics, chemistry, biology, math and anatomy to help prepare you for college. During your bachelor’s program, you’ll be taking anatomy and physiology, patient care management, radiographic procedures, equipment operation, radiation protection, clinical practice and image production. You may be able to find a B.A. program that offers a major in Radiologic technology and that’s a great start. Once you get your bachelor’s degree you can take your MCAT and apply to med school. If accepted into med school you will earn a doctor of medicine (MD) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) degree. You’ll need to pass a licensing examination and then you can go on to do a residency for at least four years. Quite often these doctors will complete a fellowship for one to two years after the internship to get some specialty training such as nuclear medicine or cardiovascular radiology. Radiologists tend to be board certified by the American Board of Radiology.
Also know that advances are made on these technologies often so this requires continued training to be able to properly use the equipment safely and accurately.
Radiologists have to be licensed and they must be renewed periodically. You’ll need to pass the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) or the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Exam (COMPLEX). Board certification is optional but can be acquired through the American Board of Radiology (ABR) or the American Osteopathic Board of Radiology (AOBR).
As a radiologist, you’ll be interpreting info acquired through various imaging techniques and communicating this information to patients and other doctors, explaining treatment risks and writing medical reports. Generally, you will oversee a group of imaging techs and assistants.
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Susan has studied at the University of Texas Medical Branch Marine Biomedical Institute in Galveston, Texas and the University of South Florida in Tampa and received a Ph.D. in Biology with a major in Neuroscience and minors in physics and mathematics. Area of research is in brain transplantation and behavior testing with twenty years of teaching experience. Fields of interest include the physical basis of memory and learning, brain repair and regeneration as well as neuro-development. As an educator, has taught thousands of students at the college level in anatomy and physiology, biology, microbiology, marinebiology, nutrition, communications, radiography, ultrasound, mathematics and physics. She enjoys reading current scientific literature and simplifying the material making it readily available to the public.