Educational Outlook for Becoming a Radiologist Reply

Choosing the right college or university isn’t the easiest decision, especially if you’re not sure what career path you want to follow after graduation. If you’re looking to land a lucrative job, then you’ve probably considered getting a degree in the medical field, to set yourself up for career growth and a comfortable income. There are so many different specialties you can choose from if you want to become a doctor—including some you may never have considered, like the growing field of radiology. But what does a radiologist do, and is this career path a good option for you? What does it take to become a radiologist?

Radiology: The Basics

A radiologist is a physician who uses imaging technology and extensive medical knowledge to diagnose, treat, and monitor illness and injury. Devices a radiologist must master include the x-ray, MRI, ultrasound, PET, and CT, among others. Imaging is becoming increasingly important in the medical field as more powerful technology allows radiologists to diagnose more precisely and help deliver patients the best care possible. Imaging also helps to reduce the need for exploratory surgery and other invasive procedures that put patients at risk. Radiology is growing rapidly, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates a 14% growth rate for physicians and surgeons, meaning that graduates will have excellent career opportunities after graduation. As for most physicians, the average salary is also attractive—the median salary for 2016 was $286,902 annually.

Types of Radiology

The field of radiology involves both diagnostic and interventional work. Radiologists are medical doctors who specialize in radiology, but there are also sub-specialties that radiologists can pursue. Some of these specialties include:

  • Breast imaging
  • Neuroradiology
  • Pediatric radiology
  • Radiation oncology
  • Emergency radiology
  • Chest radiology

Each specialty appeals to a different type of person, of course—people who are interested in helping cancer patients would be suited to radiation oncology, while people who are good with children might like to explore pediatric radiology. No matter which specialty you choose, radiation can be a fulfilling and interesting career.

Traits of a Radiologist

So what traits and skills do you need to be a successful radiologist? As with all medical personnel, a high level of responsibility and compassion are important traits for radiologists. Radiologists take and study complex images, so they must have an eye for detail and the ability to spot anomalies within images.

Becoming a Radiologist

If you are interested in becoming a radiologist, you’ll need to follow all the steps of becoming a doctor. After completing a bachelor’s degree in a scientific major, you’ll need to attend medical school for four years and obtain a medical license. Then, you will need to complete a residency, which takes an additional four years. Additional training in the specialty and board certification are also important steps to becoming an in-demand radiologist. The whole process takes years, and students should expect rigorous demands.

Students who are interested in becoming a radiologist should begin their education by majoring in a subject such as chemistry. Different medical schools have different requirements for admission, but most students will need chemistry (including organic chemistry), physics, biology, and English at a minimum. It’s a good idea to think ahead to medical schools you might want to apply to and check their requirements while earning your bachelor’s degree, in order to help you plan your coursework.

Becoming a radiologist isn’t easy. It takes a lot of dedication and hard work—medical students and residents often have difficulty coping with the pressure. That’s why it’s so important to make sure becoming a doctor is what you really want before you commit.

Not Ready for Medical School?

Getting through medical school is a long, expensive, and difficult process, and if you’re not sure you want to go through all the steps of becoming a doctor, there are other fulfilling career paths you can take within the field of radiology. Becoming a radiologic technologist or radiologist assistant can provide a stable and fascinating career in the growing field of radiology. People in these roles help to take clear and accurate images and work directly with patients and radiologists, without going through the rigor of medical school and residency. Growth in these support roles is strong—20,700 new jobs for radiologic technologists are expected to be created through 2024, and the field will be in need of qualified candidates in the next few years. Other positions are growing at an even faster rate—diagnostic medical sonographers and cardiovascular technologists are expected to see 27,600 jobs added.

These positions do require certifications and education, which can include a certification program, bachelor’s degree, and sometimes a master’s degree. Radiologic technologists, for example, must complete a two-year hospital program or a two or four-year university program before passing certification exams. It’s up to you as to which direction you want to take your education and your career, but regardless of which path you choose, you’ll be helping patients lead their best, healthiest lives!


Ryan Ayers has been a consultant for over five years within multiple industries including information technology, medical devices and logistics. Many clients call him the BizTech Guru. He is a freelance writer on the side and lover of all things related to business, technology, innovation and the LA Clippers. Read more from Ryan: @TheBizTechGuru


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com.

MCAT Prep: How to Rock Your Exam 2

The MCAT or the Medical College Admission Test is a computer-based, multiple-choice, standardized examination which all medical school applicants have to take in order to get into medical school.

If you’re currently trying to get into the med school of your choice, it is your responsibility to score as high as possible. The evaluation is the most important method for college committees to evaluate whether or not to accept someone into med school.

Scoring a 31 or higher on the MCAT may seem difficult to attain, but with the right MCAT prep, you’ll be rocking the MCAT in no time.

Study with an MCAT Prep Book

Surely you’ve seen those ridiculously thick prep books at your University bookstore. Most are printed by companies like Kaplan and Princeton Review. These prep books generally are a bit more explanatory than textbooks, containing practice tests as well as real-life applications.

Use Internet Resources

The internet takes MCAT prep to the next level. It’s refreshing to know that every subject that the MCAT covered is written about in detail somewhere in a video or a website on the internet.

However, at times is difficult to locate the correct information, making you waste hours of precious studying time looking for the right materials. It is best to go to a trustworthy source that you know has clear information for your studying needs.

Enroll in an MCAT Prep Class

MCAT prep classes generally meet once a week and offer you a chance to learn the material in a classroom setting. With the benefit of a proficient instructor, interested classmates, and a consistent schedule, your MCAT studies will be enriched by taking a prep course from Altius MCAT Prep or a similar provider.

Find an MCAT Coach

A personal MCAT coach or tutor can help you work through the harder topics as you study. Perhaps you keep scoring 10s at Verbal Reasoning and Biological Science, but have a solid 6 in Physical Sciences. An MCAT physical sciences coach will help you bring up your score on that subject.

However you prepare for your MCAT, it is up to you to get the highest score possible. Taking time to invest in your preparation will set you miles ahead when test day arrives. Dig in now and study harder by getting prep books, utilizing internet resources, enrolling in study classes, and investing a coach.

While the preparation process can be costly and challenging, it will all be worth it the day you receive your medical school acceptance letter.


About the author: Anica is a professional content and copywriter from San Francisco, California. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.