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Jobs in Radiology

5 Reasons Why You Should Work in Radiology

Choosing your profession hinges on so many factors. You will need to look at your personal interests, talents, and skills, and know what inspires you or makes you want to push yourself to train, advance your education, and achieve your ambition.

There are careers that are more appropriate for driven, determined individuals who like structure and hectic schedules, while other professions nurture the more creative, independent free spirits who are attracted to versatile settings.

The demand for health care professionals within radiology is expected to continue to grow as more advances in equipment and treatments are being introduced. But before you jump in and enroll in radiology courses, you should be absolutely sure about this commitment that you are about to make. Here are several reasons why you should choose a career in radiology:

1. Radiology is for people-oriented personalities.

5 Reasons Why You Should Work in Radiology - BecomeaRadiologist.orgIf you are a radiology technician or radiologist, you will be dealing with people in a very personal way every day and have the chance to make a difference in their health and way of life.

Radiology and imaging techniques are now being more effectively used to pinpoint medical issues as early as possible, allowing for prevention or more efficient treatment.

If you are someone who likes to interact with people in a very personal way, know their stories, and get to know them very well, radiology could be a great career for you.

2. Radiology offers something new all the time.

How many people in other professions can say that they get to look inside the human anatomy and see the workings of the body on a daily basis? Radiology is hardly like a mundane office job that settles you into a desk in front of the computer most of the day.

3. Radiology offers job growth and advancement potential.

It offers exciting prospects for health care professionals, and is projected to continue to grow. In fact, there is a considerable shortage at the moment of qualified radiologists, radiology technicians, and radiology technologists all over the world. This surplus of radiology jobs makes the field of radiology attractive to prospective med students.

If you are determined and get the right training and experience, finding stable employment with the prospect of advancement would not be much of an issue.

4. Radiology does pay considerably well.

Of course, when we look for possible career options, we always consider how financially rewarding and viable it will be to maintain our way of life. The average salary for health care professionals working in the field of radiology would prove to be quite lucrative.

The average annual radiologist salary would be right between $250,00 – 300,00 yearly. Meanwhile, for radiology technicians and technologists, the pay grade averages $54,180. It does pay off to invest time, money, and effort into a career in radiology.

5. Radiology is an important aspect of health care.

Without radiology, doctors, surgeons, and other health care practitioners would be left in the dark and have a harder time trying to figure out patients’ needs and illnesses in an attempt to come up with the best solution. While all this imaging technology is now available, they do need skilled, qualified professionals to properly handle the tests.

If you like being part of something that means much more, and you like working with a team that has a common goal, radiology could be a career choice you would not regret.

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Radiology FAQs

Radiologist Salary: How Much Does a Radiologist Make?

Let’s be honest: one of the big factors that we consider in selecting a career or profession is the projected salary or earning potential in that particular industry or field.

We want to make sure that the career we invest our effort and education into is something that at least provides a return of the investment, and can provide us with our daily essentials and needs, allowing us to support our loved ones or family as well.

Medical science continues to be one of the more popular industries that people looking for careers are interested in.

After all, health care is always a need in society, and it provides steady and reliable employment for so many across different fields and areas of specialization.

Radiologist Salary: How Much Does a Radiologist Make?

Radiology, as one of the different branches of medical science, may be one of the areas of medical science that you are looking into. So what is the average salary for professionals who are employed in various jobs related to radiology?

On average, a radiologist’s annual salary is one of the highest among other medical professionals.

In the United States, the average radiologist’s salary is about $216,577 annually. Of course, various factors come into play, such as experience, geographic location, board certification, gender, and other variables.

Radiologists with less than 5 years of experience, for instance, average an annual salary of about $157,909, while those who have work experience of up to 12 years may be taking home up to $400,000 yearly.

Interventional vs. Non-Interventional

Now, there are also differences in the average salaries between interventional and non-interventional radiologists.

Non-interventional radiologists generally perform the examinations on patients, interpret results, and discuss findings and possible treatments or courses of action.

Interventional radiologists, on the other hand, not only interpret test findings but also perform minimally invasive procedures and treatments. Because the role of interventional radiologists is more complicated and with more responsibility, they earn, on average, more than their non-interventional counterparts.

According to a 2011 study conducted by the recruiting firm Profiles, interventional radiologists earned about $5,000 more than non-interventional radiologists in their first year of practice. Meanwhile, according to a salary survey by American Medical Group Association, overall median income for interventional radiologists stood at $478,000 yearly compared to $454,205.

Salaries Can Vary By State

Where you eventually practice is a major factor in your average salary as a radiologist. In some states, the median salary for radiologists is much higher, due to different variables such as demand and state requirements for practice.

As of 2013, here are some of the figures for average radiologist salaries in certain states:

  • California – $190,000 annually
  • Georgia – $189,000 annually
  • Massachusetts – $198,000 annually
  • Mississippi – $202,000 annually
  • New York – $203,000 annually
  • Washington – $197,000 annually

With the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting that the employment growth for physicians and surgeons up to 2020 will increase by 24 percent, the radiology career would seem to be a wise choice if you are in the middle of selection.

In particular, radiologists will continue to be highly sought-after as an aging population requires diagnosis and treatment of age-related illnesses and other conditions.

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Radiology Schools

Top Schools to Study Radiology

If you do a quick search on the Internet for the top schools and universities offering radiology degrees and programs in the United States, you will be inundated with lists that vary from each other, some only slightly, while others with completely different choices.

Different sites and reviewers, of course, have different criteria that they look for when choosing the best U.S. schools that offer programs to become a radiologist.

Top Schools to Study Radiology - BecomeaRadiologist.orgWe went through the Internet, compared different reviews and lists, and compiled the different universities and colleges that seemed to always show up on the lists of the most recommended radiology programs.

The institutions are generally selected based on their facilities, research programs, residency opportunities, proximity to top health care facilities, and other criteria.

Here are several of the most recommended schools for radiology programs in the United States (in no particular ranking):

  • Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Maryland) – The Russell H. Morgan School of Radiology consistently ranks as one of the top radiology programs in the U.S. They offer a flexible research option, four-year residency program, and assist students with work placement after completion of requirements. Johns Hopkins also has distinguished faculty that work hand in hand with students taking clinical and academic courses.

  • Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minnesota) – The Mayo School of Health Sciences has a balanced, multi-faceted, multidisciplinary approach in its radiology program. The school has a 24-month program for a radiography degree, with employment offered to all entry level students after graduation at a local Mayo Health facility.

  • University of Washington – Seattle (Seattle, Washington) – The School of Medicine at UW-Seattle was ranked as the best medical program in primary care by U.S. News & World Report in 2010. The school’s mission is to train physicians for rural and undeserved municipalities. After completing a residency program, students have a choice of a fellowship program in areas such as neuroradiology, oncology radiation, cardiac imaging, pediatric radiology, or musculoskeletal radiology.

  • University of California – San Francisco (San Francisco, California) – Located in the downtown area, UCSF placed 5th among the best medical primary care programs in 2010 as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. Diagnostic imaging is offered as an elective, and for students who want to specialize in radiology two residency programs are offered. General radiology and nuclear medicine are both offered in programs. Additionally, the highly selective residency program allows residents to work at the UCSF Medical Center, one of the best-ranked in the country.

  • Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston, Massachusetts) – Among the programs offered here is the 18-month medical imaging program, an accelerated course which is open to Bachelor’s degree holders who are interested in a radiology career. The MGH Institute also allows students to intern at one of the nine health care locations of the hospital, considered one of the best in the country.

  • Harbor-UCLA Radiology School (Torrance, California) – The school offers a highly-competitive and intense four-year residency program, with only 23 students accepted each semester (the acceptance rate for applicants is 1%). The school keeps class sizes small and student-to-teacher ratios at one-to-one, with a very hands-on program that lets students work alongside UCLA medical staff.
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Jobs in Radiology

Become a Radiologist: Training & Education Requirements

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.

Medical School

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

Become a Radiologist: Training & EducationOnce 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.

Get Certified

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.

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Radiology FAQs

Radiologist vs. Radiology Technician: What’s the Difference?

Perhaps you have noticed that there are several titles or job descriptions that are related to radiology, and you are curious to know what the differences are.

If you have had to have an X-ray, CT or MRI scan before, it is possible that you have noticed how there are radiologists and radiology technicians who work in hospitals, clinics, or other medical facilities, and they seem to have different job descriptions of their own.

While both are considered as health care professionals, working side-by-side in hospitals and other medical and healthcare facilities, and dealing with much of the same aspects of radiology and its purpose of diagnosing and combating illnesses, radiologists and radiology technicians differ based on their level of training, experience, and duties.

What Do Radiology Technicians Do?

Radiologist vs. Radiology Technician: What’s the Difference?Radiology technicians specialize in handling the equipment and in conducting the various imaging tests such as ultrasounds, X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, etc.

Generally, radiology technicians focus on specializing in one type of procedure, but it is more advantageous to aim for certification in more than one procedure so the radiology technician can perform several.

If you walk into a clinic or hospital, the radiology technician would be the one to assist you with the procedure based on the doctor’s instructions and the patient’s needs.

The radiology technician is also responsible for making sure that the patient is properly shielded and prepped for the examination. Most importantly, the radiology technician must operate the equipment correctly, aligning and adjusting the imaging equipment appropriately and assisting the doctors or radiologists with the test results.

What Do Radiologists Do?

On the other hand, the radiologist is trained for more advanced responsibilities such as using radiation equipment for treating illnesses, and analyzing results and discussing them with the patient in order to come up with the best possible solution.

They have a higher level of understanding of the medical imaging procedures and test results, so they are expected to fully interpret and discuss them with patients. While in smaller clinics or facilities, the radiologist may also be the one to handle the examination itself, in larger facilities it is usually the radiology technician’s duty to carry out the examination, while the radiologist handles the results.

Education and Training: More Required for Radiologists

Radiology technicians can usually complete an associate’s or bachelor’s degree to prepare for the job, and be able to earn a state license (requirements vary by state) as well as pass a comprehensive examination.

Many vocational schools or community colleges have fast-track courses and programs for radiology technicians, averaging about two years of schooling.

Radiologists, on the other hand, go through a much longer process of acquiring an undergraduate and graduate degree, completing internship and residency, before being able to practice as full-fledged radiologists.

Aspiring radiologists are looking at an average of 10 years of training.

Salary Comparison: Radiologists Earn More

Of course, the hard work does pay off in the end.

On the average, radiologists have an annual salary of around $356,885 yearly, while radiology technicians average $54,340 yearly.

That said, job growth prospects for both radiology technicians and radiologists are expected to continue to grow yearly, with the demand projected to increase to 28 percent by the year 2020.

Want to learn more about Radiologists and Radiology Technicians?

Check out:

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Types of Radiology

Radiology 101: Types of Radiology

Radiology is a large branch of medical science, and within radiology there are also specializations and subcategories that deal with specific diagnoses, treatments, and analysis of various areas of the human body.

As you decide which specialization within radiology to pursue as your career path, you should also know the different subcategories within radiology in order to differentiate them and make a clear, informed choice of what you would like to do.

Choosing Your Expertise

Radiology 101: Types of Radiology - BecomeaRadiologist.org

During your first few years in medical school, you would have a more detailed understanding of the human body in general, which would also give you a better idea of what to expect later on.

While training to become a radiologist would usually entail learning about radiology’s various branches as a whole (much like any other medical science), radiology practitioners would train for one or more of these specific branches or areas of study for their practice:

  • Breast Imaging. This area of radiology deals specifically with the imaging and diagnosis of various breast diseases or conditions. Procedures that fall under breast imaging include:

Mammography – a process that uses low-level X-rays to diagnose and screen the breast area. A mammography is used to detect breast cancer and analysis of treatment strategy.

Breast MRI – A contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the breast area is used as a more detailed alternative to a mammography.

  • Cardiovascular Radiology. This subcategory refers to testing and diagnosis of the heart and blood vessels, checking for various diseases and conditions that usually show up in these areas ( arteries, veins, lymphatics, etc.). X-ray tests, CT or CAT scans, ultrasound tests, or MRI scans area usually utilized in cardiovascular radiology.

  • Chest Radiology. For the diagnotic imaging and diagnosis of different diseases of the heart, lungs, and other organs in the chest area, chest radiology is the specialization. This category of radiology also utilizes procedures such as lung biopsy and chest fluid drainage.

  • Emergency Radiology. This branch of radiology refers to the diagnostic imaging and diagnosis of trauma and non-traumatic emergency situations.

  • Gastrointestinal Radiology. Gastrointestinal or GI radiology deals with the gastrointestinal or digestive tract and the abdomen. Diagnosis and treatment procedures under GI radiology include:

Flouroscopy – This is the real-time use of X-rays to view images inside the patient’s body using a fluoroscope.

Fluid and Abscess Drainage – Radiation can be used to drain excess fluid or abscess build-up in the patient’s gastrointestinal or digestive tract.

  • Genitourinary Radiology. This specialization within radiology deals with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and conditions that occur in the reproductive and urinary tracts. Digital imaging techniques used in genitourinary radiology include x-ray, MRI, CT or CAT scans, and MRIs, while treatment procedures usually include kidney stone removal, uterine fibroid removal, or biopsy.

  • Head and Neck Radiology. Head and neck diseases are diagnosed and treated using a variety of techniques specific to head and neck radiology.

  • Musculoskeletal Radiology. The diagnostic imaging and diagnosis of medical conditions of the body’s muscles and the skeleton is referred to as musculoskeletal radiology.

  • Neuroradiology. A more detailed and intricate diagnostic imaging and treatment procedure for the head, neck and spine, as well as the brain and the nervous system, is referred to as neuroradiology. CT or CAT scans, MRI, and ultrasound are the usual imaging techniques used here.

  • Nuclear Radiology. This category of radiology diagnoses and treats patients that have been exposed to or have trace doses of radioactive compounds. For imaging, techniques such as gamma imaging, PET, and PET/CT are used. Nuclear radiology encompasses imaging of the heart, skeletal system, liver, spleen, lungs, kidney, thyroid or parathyroid glands, and most other areas and organs of the body.

  • Pediatric Radiology. This branch of radiology is geared specifically towards the diagnostic imaging and treatment of children’s diseases.

  • Radiation Oncology. This is the category of radiology that seeks to treat various forms of cancer in the body. Radiation therapy is delivered to the body through an outside X-ray source or injected to the area of the body. Because this area of radiology is more advanced, it is also among the highest-paying and in-demand types of radiology.
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Jobs in Radiology

X-ray Technician: What to Expect

So you are thinking of a career as an X-ray technician. This could very well be a promising path for you to take.

Many states have bright employment prospects for X-ray technicians and for radiology professionals in general, especially in places where there are higher numbers of seniors and patients needing medical care and diagnostic imaging.

What kind of career awaits you as an X-ray technician these days?

What You Will Be Doing

X-ray Technician: What to Expect - How to Become a RadiologistYour main job will be to procure images of a person’s body in order to see and diagnose various medical conditions.

Using modern imaging equipment, the images you take will provide physicians and radiologists with the necessary test results to base their medical findings on and to lay out a plan for treatment.

This makes the role of the X-ray technician extremely important, and training for this position is anything but simple.

What You Will Need To Learn

The X-ray technician-to-be will have to learn medical terminology and concepts during training. Even though you may not be directly involved in the treatment of diseases or conditions, you do have to be familiar with them, as a working knowledge of the different conditions will make you more effective and insightful in your role.

The most important part of the training of the X-ray technician is learning how to operate the imaging equipment, something which he or she will have to operate on a daily basis once out of training and performing actual work. X-ray equipment can be either stationed or portable, and the X-ray technician will need to learn how to operate both efficiently.

Interpersonal Skills Required

Another part of your training is knowing how to put the patients at ease and make them as comfortable as possible during the examination. Many people have apprehensions regarding medical procedures.

Part of the X-ray technician’s responsibilities may include explaining to the patient what needs to be done to correctly perform the test, and how to position them correctly to get the right images. Some patients may also need appropriate adjustments or considerations with regard to physical limitations or mobility issues.

Safety First

Safety precautions are also part of the X-ray technician’s duties, and this is taught during training. The goal is to minimize radiation exposure to as little as possible.

Lead sheets, protective clothing, and other blocking devices are utilized in order to minimize the exposure to X-rays. The X-ray technician must see to it that the patient is adequately protected, and during training this is taught and practiced.

Opportunities Await

X-ray technicians are in demand in many parts of the country because of the growing medical care industry and the many treatments and equipment the require their expertise. One of the biggest advantages of the X-ray technician is the fact that they need less years of education and training in order to be able to find employment.

Many two-year vocational courses and programs allow an X-ray technician to find gainful employment in hospitals, doctor’s clinics, radiology clinics, dental offices, and other places.

The average salary of an X-ray technician starts at around $45,000 annually, and many X-ray technicians command salaries of up to $55,000. Also, as you begin to work as an X-ray technician you can choose to continue your education and make yourself more competitive.

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Radiology Schools

Radiology Schools in California

Rankings of radiology schools in the United States vary based on who is doing the ranking, of course. Some lists focus on facilities and whether the institution is linked to a well-recognized hospital facility where students can learn the ins and outs of radiology, while others take degree programs, faculty members, and residency into more consideration.

In the state of California, particularly, there are radiology schools that are considered as some of the best in the country, and it would be an advantage for you to be aware of what the schools offer and which one is the best for your needs.

  • University-students-5493724

    Stanford School of Medicine’s Radiology Department. Consistently ranked as one of the best in the state as well as nationwide. Stanford Radiology boasts of a world-class group of faculty and instructors who are involved in various innovations and breakthroughs in research and engineering within the field of radiology.

The training program offered by Stanford Radiology is divided into two parts: Clinical Training and Research Training. Students can also take part in ongoing seminars, conferences, and continuing medical education to further enhance their skills in radiology.

  • Cabrillo College. Recognized for its Radiologic Technology Program, a two-year Associate in Science Degree program designed specifically for training radiologic technologists professionally. Cabrillo College’s Radiologic Technology Program has been given the highest level of accreditation by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology.

Students are trained in patient care, X-ray equipment operation, film quality assessment, and other duties and responsibilities of radiologic technologists. In addition, California has 35 accredited radiology technology schools.

  • The City College of San Francisco. Its Radiologic Sciences Department currently offers two different programs for full-time students: Diagnostic Medical Imaging (DMI) and Radiation Therapy Technology (RTT). Once the student completes the program, graduates are qualified to take the national credential exam administered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.

According to the school, 100% of their RTT graduates have passed their first attempt at the examination since 2010.

Community Colleges

In Southern California, community colleges that prepare students for careers in radiology technology include

  • Cypress College
  • Long Beach City College
  • Chaffey College.

Their programs are similar to each other in duration (two-year programs), and their radiology technology programs all combine classroom and clinical training.

Long Beach City College, in particular, offers certificates of accomplishment in the areas of MRI, mammography, and fluoroscopy.