How to Become a
Radiologist

Woman radiologist examining plaques on a lightbox

If you are considering becoming a Radiologist, you first need to learn the skills and educational requirements needed for this role. This article will present that information, as well as typical job responsibilities, average pay and job forecasts.

What Does a Radiologist Do?

A Radiologist is a medical doctor who works with medical imaging. These professionals use CT scans, MRIs and X-rays to diagnose and treat patients. Most Radiologists work in public or private hospitals or in private practices. Many choose to enter into a Radiology subspecialty, such as breast imaging, cardiac imaging, etc.

Radiologists must be competent in medical knowledge to diagnose and treat medical conditions. They must also have advanced technical knowledge to work with medical imaging equipment and interpret results. They need to possess excellent writing skills to be able to provide a full report to the physician who ordered the tests.

Typical responsibilities of a Radiologist include:

  • Technical tasks, such as performing imaging tests

  • Medical tasks, such as diagnosing diseases based on imaging results

  • Administrative tasks, such as providing reports based on imaging tests

  • Communication tasks, such as conferring with referring doctors

Radiologist Skills

While it is essential for a Radiologist to possess medical and technical skills, other personality traits are imperative to be good in this role. This type of physician deals with potentially ill patients, who may be nervous, scared or upset throughout the process. Whether young or adult, the patients will require empathy, understanding, communication and compassion.

Other key Radiologist skills include:

  • Being detail oriented

  • Ability to work in a team

  • Work well under pressure

  • Critical thinking

  • Excellent listening, speaking and writing skills

How Do You Become a Radiologist

Education and Training

Becoming a Radiologist requires a commitment to education, as it can take at least 11 years to complete the required steps. The process starts with a bachelor’s degree, typically in physics or biology. After graduation, candidates must apply to medical school, which requires a high GPA, above average results on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), letters of recommendation, as well as clinical experience.

While in medical school, individuals are required to sit for two U.S. Medical Licensing Exams (USMLE), Steps 1 and 2, given by the National Board of Medical Examiners. After medical school, candidates must apply for a licensing exam, residency and internship, which can last anywhere from three to five years. After a successfully passing the examination and board review, candidates are ready to work as board-certified Radiologists with state licenses.

Finding a job

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a higher than average rise in jobs for Physicians, such as Radiologists, with a 15 percent increase in new jobs being created through 2025, which would amount to 14,510 new jobs in the U.S.

Perfect your resume with JobHero’s examples of Radiologist resumes before beginning your job search.

As aspiring Radiologists have spent years in medical school and in internships and fellowships, when searching for job openings, it is helpful to contact medical professionals in the network they created over time with help in securing employment.

A resume is only part of the equation when applying for jobs. A great cover letter is essential in telling prospective employers more about yourself and why you have what it takes to excel in the field of Radiology.

Insights from a Radiologist

It's always a good idea to ask professionals about their views on the subject you are interested in. Here are a few questions made to professionals in the field of Radiology. Find out what they answered.

What should someone consider before becoming a Radiologist?

A survey conducted by "U.S. News & World Report" reported that the average debt after completing medical school was around $145,000. This can be a disadvantage if you're not in it for the long run. It is estimated that the average medical student or any student in this particular industry can take up to 12 years before he becomes certified as a Radiologist. Time and money are the main factors to consider here.

What is the common career path for a Radiologist?

If you're looking for a career in radiology the most common path is an undergraduate degree. It can vary from an associate's degree in radiologic technology or a bachelor's in any science-related field. You can also find a school with a radiologic technology bachelor's degree program, but you won't find it in most universities. Afterwards, you attend medical school for 4 years and then complete a residency. Next, you can obtain licensures by taking the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)

What type of person excels in this job?

Extraversion, openness to new experiences, and consciousness. Another attribute that can be a good indicator that you will excel in this industry is the recognition of limits and rational decision making.

What are some of the most important skills for a Radiologist to have?

Some of the most important skills for a radiologist are a strong analytical mind, detail-oriented, and good observational skills. But for the most part a strong interest for physiology and pathology.

What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of being a Radiologist?

Impacting the people around you in ways not everybody can have the ability to do. Also, there is hardly any paperwork to turn in which minimizes stress. The salary is great as well and the variety of fields available to choose from.

How Much Do Radiologists Get Paid?

Physicians, such as Radiologists, make a median salary of $187,200, with the lowest paid making $57,800 per year, and the highest paid making in excess of $187,200.

Top 10 States for Radiologists Salary

    New Hampshire

    $432,204

    North Dakota

    $416,667

    Maine

    $401,682

    Kentucky

    $399,251

    Florida

    $384,818

    Alaska

    $382,353

    Minnesota

    $382,353

    Wisconsin

    $373,563

    Indiana

    $369,472

    South Dakota

    $357,143

    Radiologist Resources

    Use the resources below to find out more about working as a Radiologist.

    On the Web

    Radiology Industry Resources (vRad)
    Latest radiology industry news and changing radiology landscape.

    The American Board of Radiology
    A not-for-profit organization that is one of 24 independent national boards that are members of the American Board of Medical Specialties.

    On LinkedIn

    American College of Radiology
    A college with a mission to making imaging safe, effective and accessible to those who need it.

    Radiology Professionals
    Social networking group for radiology professionals with almost 19,000 members.

    Blogs

    Diagnostic Imaging Blog
    Opinions, advice and news from radiologists and radiology professionals.

    UCSF Department of Radiology & Biomedical Imaging Blog
    Latest updates on UCSF Radiology research.