A Career Being a Radiologist

Alex Anderson

Career Overview

Radiologists are doctors who interpret x-rays and other medical images. They also treat disease with radiation.

Medical imaging allows doctors to diagnose problems more quickly and accurately using less invasive treatments. Radiologists use a variety of techniques for diagnosing diseases and injuries, including:

  • X-ray
  • Computed tomography (CT) scans
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Position emission tomography (PET)
  • Ultrasound

Radiologists supervise radiologic technicians who take the images requested by a patient's doctor or health care provider. Radiologists make sure images are of high quality and that all safety procedures are followed. After the images and tests are complete, they interpret the images.

Radiologists do not usually talk with patients. Instead they confer with the doctor who ordered the tests and images. Based on their findings, radiologists may recommend further exams or treatments to the doctor.

Radiologists may specialize in one area of medical imaging, such as:

  • Cardiovascular (heart and lungs)
  • Musculoskeletal (muscle and bone)
  • Body imaging
  • Brain imaging
  • Pediatric radiology

With two years of additional training, radiologists can also specialize in interventional radiology which uses radiation or minimally invasive procedures to treat diseases. This area also includes image-guided surgery. In this area, radiologists work directly with patients.

Career Skills and Interests


  • Express ideas clearly when speaking or writing.
  • Listen to others, understand, and ask questions.
  • Read and understand work-related materials.

Reason and Problem Solve

  • Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong.
  • Combine several pieces of information and draw conclusions.
  • Use reasoning to discover answers to problems.
  • Analyze ideas and use logic to determine their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Judge the costs and benefits of a possible action.
  • Identify problems and review information. Develop, review, and apply solutions.
  • Develop rules or follow guidelines when arranging items.
  • Make sense of new information or materials by studying and working with them.
  • Concentrate and not be distracted while performing a task.
  • Think of new ideas or original and creative ways to solve problems.
  • Determine how a system should work. Study how changes in conditions affect outcomes.

Use Math and Science

  • Use scientific methods to solve problems.

Manage Oneself, People, Time, and Things

  • Check how well one is learning or doing something.
  • Manage the time of self and others.
  • Motivate, develop, and direct people as they work.

Work with People

  • Be aware of others' reactions and change behavior in relation to them.
  • Teach others or self how to do something, using several methods..
  • Look for ways to help people.
  • Persuade others to approach things differently.

Work with Things

  • Watch gauges, dials, and output to make sure a machine is working properly.

Perceive and Visualize

  • Identify a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in distracting material.
  • Quickly and accurately compare letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns.
  • Imagine how something will look if it is moved around or its parts are rearranged.

Career Working Conditions

Interpersonal Relationships

  • Have a great amount of responsibility for the health and safety of others.
  • Have a medium to high degree of social interaction. They talk with patients and medical staff throughout the day but also spend some time alone running tests.
  • Communicate via telephone, face-to-face discussions, and email on a daily basis. They also write letters and memos, but less frequently.
  • Usually work as part of a team.

Physical Work Conditions

  • Always work indoors.
  • Are exposed to radiation on a daily basis. To protect themselves they wear special aprons and other safety gear.
  • Are exposed to the diseases and infections of patients on a daily basis.
  • May share work space with other radiologists and technicians.

Work Performance

  • Must be extremely exact and accurate when performing the job. Errors can impact the health of patients.
  • Repeat the same physical and mental activities.
  • Sometimes must match pace with the speed of equipment.
  • Make decisions on a daily basis that strongly impact patients. They consult doctors for some decisions, but make most without talking to a supervisor.
  • Are usually able to set their tasks for the day without consulting with a supervisor.
  • Work in a moderately competitive atmosphere. Their days are structured around patient appointments.


  • Usually work a set schedule.
  • Usually work at least 40 hours a week.
  • May work weekends and nights.
  • Work in a stressful environment where they must meet strict daily deadlines.

Career Wages and Outlook

Radiologist's median pay is $184,820.

Much of the demand for radiologists will be the result of a growing population. As the population grows, the number of people in need of care from radiologists will increase. In addition, an aging population will increase the number of people with conditions that require treatment from radiologists.

Related Occupations

Radiologist Technician

Family and General Practitioner

MRI Technician

Program of Study- Radiologist

Program Overview

Biomedical sciences programs use the combined study of biology, health, and medicine to teach people how the body reacts to disease and treatment.

Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language. For this program, schools recommend that you know how to use a computer and the Internet.

I have listed some courses that you will have to take to prepare yourself.

  • Advanced Biology courses
    •Anatomy and Physiology
    •Advanced Chemistry courses
    •Probability and Statistics

  • Program Typical Course Work

    This undergraduate program typically includes courses in the following subjects:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
    •Cell and Molecular Biology
    •Ethics and Health Policy
    •Laboratory Research
    •Organic Chemistry
  • Graduate programs that lead to a master's or doctoral degree typically include:

  • Required courses
    •Clinical and laboratory rotations
    •Thesis (master's degree)
    •Preliminary exams (doctoral degree only)
    •Dissertation and dissertation defense (doctoral degree)
  • Related Programs


    Osteopathic Medicine

    Schools that Offer my Program of Study

    Michigan State University

    Medical College of Wisconsin

    College Choice
    Michigan State University

    College Information


    Founded in 1855

    Prototype for 69 land-grant institutions established under the Morrill Act of 1862

    First institution of higher learning in the United States to teach scientific agriculture

    General Information

    Located in East Lansing, three miles east of Michigan’s capitol in Lansing

    5,200-acre campus with 2,100 acres in existing or planned development

    538 buildings, including 95 academic buildings

    Approximately 19,600 acres throughout Michigan used for agricultural and natural resources research and education

    Approximately 49,300 total: from all 83 counties in Michigan, all 50 states in the United States, and more than 130 other countries

    37,988 undergraduate, 11,355 graduate and professional

    50 percent women, 50 percent men

    16.6 percent students of color, 14.5 percent international

    Informational Interview

    Even though my interview doesn't relate to my program/occupation choice of being a radiologist I can make some similarities to what a Dental Hygenist and Radiologist do during the job. They both use radioactive tools to help discover problems that need to be fixed and then talk to the patient at what needs to be done to help correct the patient's ailment.

    And for a brief summary of my informational interview I can say that being a dental hygenist can be a considerable job choice for my career. Due to the increase of the world's population the increase of dental care is going to have to go up. That would make the dental field a good field to go in for a good job outlook.

    Plans to Reach My Goal

    Apprenticeships- Is for anyone interested in learning a craft or trade. Is a structured, formal way to gain skills on the job. Is always paid. Combines on-the-job training with classroom instruction.

    Career Networking- Getting to know people in the career field that I am planning to go into will help me gain valuable connections when I do complete school and head out into the workforce. This is when the saying, "It's not what you know, but who you know" comes into play.

    Internships- This will give me more of a hands-on working experience in the field I plan to go into. It also will look good on my resume if I already have job training and that will save the employer money on what he/she would have had to pay someone to train myself.

    Job Shadowing- This is much like an internship, except it is more of a one day experience instead of a few month course. This is a good way to dip my toe in the water to discover if I am even interested in my field by doing a trial run.

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