Organizing our thoughts and plans into structured lists often helps us to better manage our time and maximize our actions into the most effective strategies.
If at the moment you are considering what career to take, or you are wanting a career change from the one you are involved in right now, perhaps you are considering becoming a radiologist because of the many opportunities that are available in this field.
Before making any final decision, you would want to have a clear layout of expectations in order to prepare your plan of action.
Here is a simple step-by-step guide that you can use as you prepare to become a radiologist, starting from the basics:
Step 1: Select a school for your undergraduate course
Before you enter medical school, you will be required to complete an undergraduate course in a related field of study first.
A undergraduate degree in biology, biochemistry, physics, organic and inorganic chemistry, etc. will prepare you for medical school. It is very important that you also choose the right school that will give you the best training possible.
Some universities and colleges now offer a dual program that combines the bachelor’s degree program and the medical degree, and this can help you save a few years of medical schooling and expenses. Try to look for programs that specifically have a pre-med focus as this will be an advantage for you entering into medical school.
Step 2: The MCAT Exam
After getting your bachelor’s degree, your next step will be applying for medical school.
The first hurdle will be taking the Medical College Admission Test or MCAT, where your skills in science, communication, and writing will be assessed. When you apply to medical school, most institutions will look at the results of your MCAT Examination.
Step 3: Medical School
You can choose between two types of medical degrees, the Medical Degree (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.).
Your first two years in medical school will be spent mostly in classroom study and laboratory work, as well as clinics and research programs. You will learn the intricacies of neurology, immunology, emergency care, patient care, epidemiology, and other areas of study.
During your third and fourth years in medical school, you will have the chance to perform supervised contact with patients in hospital and outpatient settings.
Step 4: Residency
After medical school, you will have to complete at least four years of radiology residency. An additional year (minimum) of residency in the subspecialty of radiology you selected will also have to be completed. Many large teaching hospitals and health care institutions offer residency programs for the different specializations of radiology. During this time, you will also be paid while undergoing your residency.
Step 5: Board Certification
In the United States, you are required to have state licensure to be able to practice medicine. Additional radiology certification is obtained through the American Board of Radiologists.
If you choose to become an osteopathic doctor, certification is through the American Osteopathic College of Radiology.