How to Become a Radiologist: Welcome to the Society of Invaluable Doctors
"The best radiologist has a balance between sciences and a truly caring attitude."
No doubt, radiologists are really invaluable doctors, contributing both to the treatment of patients and the progress of medical profession in general. Actually, this is a healthcare professional, who performs and interprets various diagnostic tests, including X-ray, MRI, ultrasound, CAT scan, barium enema, upper GI test, and even nuclear medicine scans. More so, a radiologist may also treat the found problem at times. Consequently, this career is either professionally satisfying or financially rewarding to choose. Indeed, radiographers are a heart of modern medicine.
Why Be a Radiographer & Choose This Kind of Job?
Radiology professionals provide so many essential services to millions of people over the globe each year. To be frank, radiography is the very center of the entire medicine. For instance, any diagnosis would be more difficult and treatments would not be effective without detailed and high quality inside body images. Actually, the skills of a radiographer help to identify a variety of injuries and diseases, cancer in particular. Besides, a therapy radiographer is seriously involved in treatment planning and its delivery. Day-by-day, they provide progress and support to patients. Also, these specialists are responsible for the most efficient equipment due to huge expenditure budgets. More so, radiologist salary opportunities are really excellent, being increased with moving up the career ladder. How much does a radiologist actually make? In fact, your annual profit will depend on whether you get a radiologist technician salary, radiologist assistant salary, interventional radiologist salary, etc. After all, radiologists are recognized among the most respectable medical workers in the world.
What Does a Radiologist Do, or Radiologist Job Description:
2 Sorts of Specialists to Become
Before learning how to become any of radiology specialists, one should get into the basics of this profession. To start with, there are 2 sorts of radiographers: either diagnostic or therapeutic.
Diagnostic radiologists are to be competent in a wide range of various imaging techniques, as well as sophisticated equipment, in order to produce a high quality image of any injury or disease. Besides, they have to take those images, report on them and give the correct treatment together with the referring doctor. Speaking of different techniques used by a diagnostic radiologist, these are the following:
- X-rays help to look through tissues for examining bones, cavities and other objects.
- Ultrasound is high frequency sound used in obstetrics, as well as in fetal monitoring during pregnancy, gynecology, and pediatrics, abdominal, cardiac, vascular and muscular-skeletal tests.
- Fluoroscopy images the digestive system and provides a live motion X-ray.
- Computed tomography, or CT, contributes to cross-sectional body views.
- MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, can build a 2-D/3-D map of various body tissue types.
- Nuclear medicine helps radioactive tracers to examine the functioning of the body and its organs (e.g. kidneys or heart), including treating particular cancers.
- Angiography investigates blood vessels.
Therapeutic radiographers are the only qualified professionals, who are responsible for planning and delivering radiotherapy services, constituting over 50% of overall workforce. They work with medical physicists, engineers and clinical oncologists. Each therapeutic radiographer also uses a vast array of technical equipment. Their specific degree in oncology makes them really uniquely qualified specialists, as well as extensively involved professional's at all possible stages of patients' radiotherapy course.
- Pre-diagnosis: Radiologists give health promotion advice and raise cancer awareness.
- Patient consent: Radiologists work with patients, enabling them to make some informed decision about their treatment methods.
- Pre-treatment preparation & planning: Radiologists use the most advanced equipment to scan patients, plus computer planning system to plan their complex required treatment.
- Treatment delivery: Radiologists use radiotherapy equipment for delivering accurate radiation doses to every patient. The most known external/internal radiotherapy machines are "linear accelerators" and "brachytherapy".
- Patient management within treatment and care after it: Radiologists perform regular assessment of patients, who are undergoing treatment. Many radiographers prescribe drugs and are simply responsible for psychosocial well-being of patients, attending for treatments.
Besides, therapeutic radiographers can undertake clinical practice at such levels as assistant, advanced, practitioner, consultant practitioner and radiotherapy service manager. A number of modern radiologists play specific roles, when they become a part of multi-disciplinary patient approach. Thus, they are also involved in all-level clinical research, ranging from trial recruitment to radiographer-led studies, evaluating newer technologies and techniques. In addition, radiologists can specialize as community liaison practitioners among all health care providers. Moreover, they may support and educate primary staff, being the so-called radiotherapy service managers. In this case, their professional expertise and training will be critical for providing safe radiotherapy services.
How to Become a Radiologic Technologist?
7 Essential Instructions & Educational Requirements
- One should prepare for an intense and long course of both study and training if willing to become a radiologist. The thing is that radiology deals with all areas of medicine; so training requires about 15 years. Perhaps, it may be necessary to take some advanced Math and Science high school courses. By the way, volunteer work in a certain hospital usually gives good experience, as well as looks good in college application.
- Enrolling in college, getting a Bachelor's degree (about 4 years), taking pre-med and other related to radiology courses are the must. It is essential to make excellent grades, particularly in science courses, in order to qualify. Also, creative communication and perfect writing skills are also required for becoming a good radiologist. A person will need to maintain a good grade point average at MCAT, Medical College Admission Test, because he/she will need a good GPA to qualify for a medical school.
- Once the accredited medical institution to enroll into is chosen, there will be 4 years of hard work and achieving excellence in advanced Biology, Physics, Chemistry and Organic Chemistry.
- Then, 4-5 years of residency, or "a post-graduate program", are waiting for a student. There will be both general medicine plus all about radiology. But a person should choose a residency program and a sub-specialty in radiology, for example, oncology, pediatric or interventional radiology, etc.
- Next, excellent grades at medical board exams can lead to qualifying for a fellowship program, which generally takes 1-2 years. Due to hands-on experience, most part of a 3-year BSc degree in radiology education is spent in either diagnostic radiotherapy or radiography departments. Of course, it is important to introduce the students to the "real world". Thus, some universities place them into hospitals; others have nearly 9 placements over the course duration, ranging from urban hospitals to small community hospitals. In fact, this is an excellent opportunity to sample pediatric radiography, perform biopsies, drain abscesses, do angioplasties and treat aneurysms. Indeed, radiography is not an easy option, as one has to work hard. Typically, students have 8 hours of classes every day.
- Speaking of qualifications one needs to become a radiologist, most clinical tutors say that the best students must have a balance between their good understanding of sciences, and a truly genuinely caring attitude. First of all, science skills are extremely important, as a significant part of degree courses involve physiology, anatomy and pathology. Ideally, a person should be interested in science, get good GCSE grades and total A-levels. However, this varies within a certain university or radiology school. Besides, students needn't be involved in only science elements, because this is simply a tiny part of a radiologist's role.
- Finally, there is getting either certification or license in radiology, after a few different tests taken, including oral, clinical and cognitive tests, as well as Medical Licensing Examination.
To sum it all up, becoming a good radiologist takes long and persistent years of schooling, it is compulsory for all doctors. Therefore, if you'd like to become a diagnostic radiologist, a radiology nurse, a pediatric radiologist, or just a radiology technician, here is how to step onto the noble and rewarding path of seeking for a desired radiology sub-specialty. Good luck!