How do you become a radiologist? A radiologist is an important part of the medical field, and is also expected to have a detailed knowledge of the human anatomy and the various medical illnesses and conditions that normally require radiologic imaging and treatments.
On the average, a radiologist-to-be would have to commit at least 13 years of his or her life to the education and training required to become a practicing radiologist.
The First Step: a Bachelor’s Degree
Your career path to becoming a radiologist will usually start with a bachelor’s degree, with the prerequisite courses including biology, physics, or chemistry.
If you are looking to gain more experience in working in medical settings, you can opt to find part-time work or volunteer options at local hospitals or health care facilities even during your undergraduate education; many institutions offer work programs for undergraduate students in medical school prerequisites.
After you get your undergraduate education, the next step is medical school, which is another four years of your life.
Medical school will let you learn the sciences in a classroom setting, including anatomy, biochemistry, pathology, pharmacology, and other areas of learning. Then another two years will consist of clinical rotation learning and experiencing the various areas of internal medicine, pediatrics, surgery, and more.
Four Years of Radiology Residency
Once you have completed medical school, it will be time for your radiology residency. This is a four-year period of specialized medical education, clinical rotations in the different specializations within radiology, paid internship and training, lectures, research, and other tasks.
The residency will allow you to immerse yourself even more in the day-to-day activities and responsibilities which you will have to perform on your own once you are a licensed radiologist.
During residency, you will also have to master radiation safety and precautions. Most radiologists also continue with up to two more years of specialized training with a fellowship, a more personalized and rigorous form of mentorship in a specific area of radiology such as nuclear medicine.
Radiologists need to have licensure or board certification in order to practice. Board certification and requirements vary from state to state, and even by country. Generally, however, there are oral and written exams that applicants must pass, and these exams encompass everything learned so far in all those years of training and education.
Once licensed, the certification does not end for radiologists, as the license must be renewed regularly. The exams that need to be passed for licensure include the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) or Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Exam (COMLEX).
Learning Never Stops
Now, the medical industry is constantly changing and being revolutionized by advances in research and technology. Even when a radiologist has finally completed the required training and education, the road to learning never stops.
A radiologist who wants to remain relevant and updated with the latest developments in the field of radiology can take it on himself to take continuing courses, refreshers, or even online classes to enhance skills and information. Any opportunities to develop one’s knowledge and skillset should be maximized in order to stay competitive and aware of the continuing growth in radiology.