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How to Become a Radiologist

Published by Nanni on Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Photo credit by eekim

A radiologist is a type of doctor whose specialty is using X-ray machines and other radiation equipment such as CT scan, Ultrasound, MRI, Upper GI test and nuclear medicine scans, to diagnose different kinds of diseases. Radiologists work with physicians to determine an illness and recommend a course of treatment with the primary physician. He is a doctor of medicine which means that there are many years of schooling and training ahead for a person who intends to become one someday. A profession such as a medical doctor should have a good foundation. To become one, you need to enter college.

Taking up advanced undergraduate courses in any science course such as organic and inorganic chemistry, biology, biochemistry, physics and math in college, do not guarantee entry in medical school. In fact, you can take up non-science courses, and still be able to apply for a spot in medical school. But these Pre-Medical Bachelor of Science degrees, though not necessary, can be helpful in securing a good spot in the Medical College Admission Test or MCAT. This is given during a student’s junior year.

So anyone can become a radiologist even without majoring in a science course. But one has to have good grades. After graduation in college, a person needs to apply in an accredited medical school if he wants to become a doctor. He needs to have good grades. Good grades are just one of the factors medical schools take into consideration before they accept potential student applicants. Medical school takes four years. You’ll then need to spend another five years on post-graduate training, also referred to as residency. The first year of residency covers General Medicine and another four years will be devoted to your specialty. In this case, it’s radiology.

You spend many years of training and school to become a doctor. This is not counting the exams given one after another while you are studying, and more exams even after medical school. There are exams you need to pass in order to become a certified radiologist. These exams are required in order to become certified and accredited by the American Board of Radiology. Medical Imaging Physics is just one of the exams given and is taken during the second or third year of residency. Another one focuses on diagnostic imaging, and is normally given in the third or fourth year. On top of all those exams, you still have to pass an oral examination that is given in the fourth year and only after you have taken the written examinations.

In effect, radiologists must receive years of training from an accredited medical school, pass licensing exams (written and oral), complete four years of residency and a year of internship. At which point, you may wish to get certified in two main radiology specialties which are diagnostic radiology and oncology.

It is a lot of hard work. The road to becoming a radiologist is truly a sacrifice. It requires years of training. If you don’t have the heart and the dedication to become one, don’t even waste your time. Radiology is such a noble profession that being half-hearted about it just won’t do.

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