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.
Training and Education

Become a Radiology Tech: Training & Education Requirements

One of the many exciting career paths within the world of radiology is that of the radiology technician.

If you are one of those people who are fascinated by the inner workings of the human anatomy, and love to look at how the different parts of the body are interconnected to each other, a career as a radiology tech might be something that could be very interesting to you.

Also, with radiology treatments and imaging technologies continuing to grow at a fast pace, becoming a radiology tech could very well provide you with a stable source of income with much advancement potential.

What Exactly Do They Do?

Radiology technicians work hand in hand with physicians or radiologists in health care facilities.

They are specifically in charge of the actual operation of imaging equipment, carrying out examinations, preparing the patients for the procedure, and then releasing the images and helping to analyze the results with radiologists or physicians.

While many radiologists are also trained in the carrying out of the examinations, in most larger medical facilities it is the responsibility of the radiology technicians to handle this, while radiologists and doctors discuss the findings and suggest treatments with patients.

In Charge of the Testing Process

Radiology technicians would explain to the patient the medical imaging process they are about to undergo, whether it is an X-ray exam, mammography, CAT scan, MRI, or other procedure.

Become a Radiology Tech: Training & Education Requirements

The radiology tech is also responsible for making sure that the patient is prepared to undergo the imaging process, which would mean removing clothing, jewelry, or other personal items that could become an interference to the test and skew results. The technician will also need to make sure that the patient is properly positioned so that the most accurate test results can be achieved.

One of the most important parts of the radiology technician’s job is making sure that all safety precautions are being followed, especially as the equipment being utilized uses various levels of radiation in the imaging techniques, and can become hazardous to people’s health if not handled correctly. Protective coverings such as gowns, lead aprons, etc. are used to protect the patient’s body areas that will not be tested.

Training Required

Because of the sensitive nature of the duties and responsibilities of radiology technicians, they need to be adequately trained and skilled prior to taking on the daily tasks. There are currently several different options that aspiring radiology technicians can choose from:

  • Certificate program. The first option is to take up a certificate program which, on average, takes about one to two years to complete. Many local community colleges, technical or vocational schools, and hospitals offer certificate programs, and these are also offered as online courses.

  • Associate’s Degree. The most common route that radiology technicians take is to finish a two year associate’s degree. Most private and public learning institutions offer at two year associate’s program geared for radiology technicians. Additionally, some larger universities offer a Bachelor’s Degree in Radiologic Technology, which is completed in four years.

Whichever route you choose to take in getting the right education and skills to become a radiology technician, make sure that the institution you select has the proper credentials and accreditation.

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.

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?

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Radiology FAQs

Radiology Training FAQs

Radiology is a viable career path for you to consider especially if you are interested in medical science and its various facets. Many exciting developments are and innovations are constantly being introduced in the field of radiology and imaging treatment, all geared towards earlier, better diagnosis and treatments of various illnesses and conditions.

The increase in applications and programs related to radiology has also caused a shortage in radiologists, so this field is one where you can find a placement if you are qualified.

As with most anything in life, people usually have a lot of queries regarding radiology and if it is the right career decision for them to make.

It is normal to have questions about anything you are thinking of embarking on. In fact, it is recommended that you do ask questions and find out as much as you can about radiology before you make the final call on whether this is something you are ready to commit to. The following are some common questions related to radiology training that people ask:

  • What types of Radiology Degree Programs are available?

Radiology Training - How to Become A Radiologist

There are different choices of degree programs depending on what you plan to do in the future as a radiologist. For instance, a technologist would require an associate’s degree in order to learn the technical proficiency skills.

If you are planning on becoming a full-fledged radiologist or physician, however, a bachelor’s degree is a must as it walks you through the foundational concepts, while a radiology doctorate degree gives you the training and experience needed in the use of imaging technologies.

You may also be curious about the different areas of specialization within radiology, and there are several to choose from as well.

Radiography, used in creating medical images used in computer tomography, magnetic resonance, mammography, or cardiovascular technology, is one of the more common imaging modalities. Ultrasound or sonography uses sound waves to reproduce images from inside the body. Meanwhile, nuclear medicine makes use of radioactive materials to emit radiation and illuminate body parts.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is another popular imaging technology; it combines radio frequencies and magnetic fields to produce images of body tissues and organs. The CT scan or Computed Tomography is another form of X-ray scanning, but it takes images from different angles, joining larger organs and tissues for a more detailed, thorough analysis.

Ultimately, the area you specialize in would be determined by your personal interest and skills. As you learn the differences between the different areas, you can have a better understanding and see which one fits you best.

  • How long does it take to get a Radiology Degree?

To become a radiologist, you have to be ready to sign up for a few years of studying and internship.

The undergraduate education would run about four years, after which you will need to get your medical degree (another four years of medical school), a year of internship, four years of residency, and the usual specialty fellowship training for an area of specialization. To become a full-fledged radiologist, you are looking at at least 10-12 years of training.

  • How much does a Radiology Degree cost?

The cost of getting a radiology degree would depend on where you will go to school, as well as all the other related expenses.

For students who attend a university and live on-campus, the average cost would be around $14,000 annually, and about half that cost if you decide to stay at home. Of course, the investment will come back as you complete your degree and begin to make an average of $50,000 annually. Another option you might be interested in is online classes.

  • What Type of Training is Available Online?

There are online providers and academic institutions that offer online learning programs and classes related to radiology. For the most part, educational institutions make the general education courses and programs available online for students.

Most degree programs by traditional institutions are still on-site, however. Online radiology schools offering degrees and programs via Web-based learning are growing at a fast rate.

  • What is Initial Certification?

Initial certification refers to the first important certification in a radiology candidate’s life.

The American Board of Radiology (ABR) officially defines initial certification as certification “for candidates who are not yet certified in diagnostic radiology, any of its subspecialties (neuroradiology, nuclear radiology, pediatric radiology, and vascular and interventional radiology), radiation oncology, or medical physics.”

To qualify for initial certification, the candidate needs to successfully meet requirements in basic education and exams.  Initial certification is very important as you look for employment, because most employers will ask for this.

Training and Education

Is the Cost of a Radiology Degree Worth It?

It’s a reality that many of us have had to come face-to-face with: the cost of a college education.

Whatever career or profession you are interested in pursuing, the college education and training that comes with it is definitely a major financial investment that you will have to consider, weighing the options and thinking about whether you will get your investment back, and be able to repay the student loans which you will inevitably have to incur as you get your college education.

Medical School Costs More

Is the Cost of a Radiology Degree Worth It?This reality is even more daunting if you are considering a medical profession. Many of the higher-tier medical careers require a Bachelor’s Degree in a related field of study, four years of medical school, at least a year of internship, a few years of resident training, and other field-related training and experience.

On the average, at least ten years of education is the requirement for many health care specializations, and this is the case for aspiring radiologists as well.

Naturally, if you are thinking of pursuing a career in radiology, you would want to know if this is actually something that would be worth your financial investment, as well as the time and effort you will put into the whole endeavor. After all, who wants to labor for so many years and work tirelessly to put oneself through many years of school and training, only to realize in the end that the profession itself is not as rewarding as one thought?

The Payoff

On the average, radiologists today enjoy many benefits and a higher average salary compared to other professionals in the medical industry. In the United States, the average yearly salary of a radiologist is around $216,000. If you are able to go through the many years of education and skills training and eventually become a radiologist, it is a financially lucrative profession.

Also, certain specializations within the field of radiology itself, such as interventional radiology or radiation oncology, command higher salaries because they are more complicated.

Outsourcing: Is There a Negative Effect?

A recent concern among some people interested in radiology careers is the growing outsourcing trend in radiology. Technology has made it possible for hospitals and other medical facilities to outsource films and other tests to other countries, and this is causing concern among locally-employed radiology professionals who fear that their jobs are at stake.

However, it appears that the trend is being spurred because there is actually a growing demand for radiologists and other radiology-related practitioners, and the supply of qualified professionals is not enough to meet the demand.

Different Careers Within Radiology

One thing to remember is that there are different careers within radiology that you can choose. While radiologists have to undergo lengthier and more rigorous training for their practice, other careers in the field such as radiologic technicians and technologists do not require you to have to go through the many years of medical school and resident training.

They are equally as in-demand and with much employment and advancement opportunities for qualified candidates, but without taking as big of an investment of time and effort.

Training and Education

How to Become a Radiologist: Step By Step Guide

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

How to Become a Radiologist: Step By Step Guide

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.

Training and Education

Radiology Training Exams

Examinations are part and parcel of any training program and curriculum regardless of what industry or field of study you will undertake.

Examinations are a means of testing your knowledge and understanding of the subject material, and assessing if you were able to successfully absorb concepts, procedures, and important information which will be absolutely critical to how you carry out your duties in your chosen profession.

Exams gauge your knowledge

Radiology Training - How to Become A Radiologist

In the medical industry, written examinations are also part of the training process.

While much of the training in the medical sciences revolves around actual application of stock knowledge, diagnostic tests and assessments are still a must for aspiring health care professionals.

They are a gauge of how much they have retained in their memory, something that would indeed be important especially considering how sensitive the nature of their job is.

Who Administers Radiology Exams?

Radiology training exams are prepared and administered by different certifying organizations and authorities within this branch of medical science. In particular, the American College of Radiology (ACR) administers two specific radiology in-training exams every year, namely the Diagnostic Radiology In-Training exam (DXIT) and the Radiation Oncology In-Training exam (TXIT).


The DXIT is a computer-based examination which is given out every January in the United States, with an exam window for Canada and International within the same month as well. This is a voluntary exam for radiology residents-in-training measuring their general achievement. The results are used to assess their progress, and also to gauge the residency program.


The TXIT, meanwhile, is more specific to the subcategory of radiation oncology and is usually administered in March.


A more rigorous examination that measures competency specifically in the area of cardiac imagery is the Cardiac CT Certificate of Advanced Proficiency (CoAP) Examination, also administered by the ACR. The exam’s format is entirely computer-based, combining both a knowledge-based multiple choice questionnaire format and practical, cardiac CT case assessments.

ABR-Administered Exams

The American Board of Radiology (ABR) also administers several examinations as part of the radiology residency training, namely, the Core Exam (taken 36 months after starting radiology residency) and the Certifying Exam (after diagnostic radiology residency is finished).

Both exams cover general aspects of diagnostic radiology. The Core Exam, in addition, includes a portion of the RadioIsotope Safety Exam (RISE).

The Certifying Exam, meanwhile, emphasizes on synthesis of information, differential diagnosis, and patient management, with three modules dealing specifically with clinical practice areas preselected by the individual. The Certifiying Exam also includes the second portion of the RISE.

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.