All You Need To Know About Radiology

  • By Like Hire
  • 25 Apr, 2021

  • Introduction to Radiology

Radiology as a medical discipline involves the use of imaging technologies/methodologies to manage the health condition of patients and provide them with alternatives of treatments and therapeutics. Practitioners of Radiology are known as Radiologists. Physicians who practice in the domain of radiology, obtain specialization in diagnostic radiology, interventional radiology, or radiation oncology. Practitioners of radiology also attain certification in a host of other subspecialties. 

Radiologists, essentially, are physicians that obtain specialization in diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders with the use of the following:

  • Medical imaging procedures like radiology;
  • Examining or testing procedures like
    • X-rays,
    • Computed tomography (CT),
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI),
    • Nuclear medicine,
    • Positron emission tomography (PET), and
    • Ultrasound.

  • Diagnostic Radiology

Diagnostic radiology involves the use of x-rays, radionuclides, ultrasound, and electromagnetic radiation for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders. A diagnostic radiologist is required to complete 5-year training that could be broken down as follows:

  • One year of clinical training, and then
  • Four years of radiology training.

Most trainees finish an additional year of training during their fellowship.

  • Interventional Radiology

Interventional Radiology is a combination of imaging capabilities, Image-guided, minimally invasive treatment processes, and procedural patient care. The objective is to diagnose and treat seemingly non-threatening conditions such as thorax, abdomen, pelvis, and extremities. After completing a minimum of three years of training in diagnostic radiology, an interventional radiologist has to also finish additional two years of interventional radiology, in order to receive a primary certification in interventional radiology.

  • Roles of a Radiologist


A radiologist acts in the capacity of a consultant. Physicians work in collaboration with radiologists and send the patients they are helping to radiologists, for the purpose of testing. Radiologists provide assistance to physicians by helping them understand the condition of the patient. Radiologists not only help physicians to choose the proper test or examination for the patient but also provide assistance in the interpretation of the test results and medical images so that a proper course of treatment could be decided and laid out for the patient.


When it comes to providing treatment of diseases, a radiologist is principally involved in using means such as radiation oncology or minimally invasive interventional radiology, which is basically an image-guided therapeutic intervention. The main role of a radiologist is to connect the dots between medical image findings with other tests and examinations. It is also the role of radiologists to course correct or recommend further course of action in terms of treatments and therapeutics, in congruence with the referring physicians. Radiologic technologists, who are the professionals responsible for operating the equipment, also work under the supervision and guidance of radiologists.

Responsibilities of a Radiologist

Below are the main responsibilities of a radiologist:

  1. 1. Diagnosing a disease or illness:

Radiologists are responsible for using imaging tools for the purpose of observing, examining, and diagnosing a particular disease or disorder. X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, nuclear testing, among others are some of the tools that radiologists use to capture the images of organs and tissues. The objective of medical imaging is to arrive at an accurate diagnosis of the patient’s condition.

  • 2. Working with referring physicians

The radiologist acts in the capacity of a consultant for the physician who is consulting a patient. Therefore, radiologists could be understood as consultant's consultants. Once, the results of diagnostic imaging are obtained, the radiologist has to create a report of all the findings and send it to the referring physician for consideration. The physician would then work with the radiologist to figure out what the proper course of treatment should be, based on the results. A radiologist can also recommend a treatment.

  • 3. Providing assistance in medical-related cases

Working with lawyers, patients, and physicians, Radiologists also weigh in when there is a case of a patient claiming personal injury. It is because imaging scans reveal the lack or presence of injury. Moreover, the date on which the scan was performed is also revealed in imaging scans. Knowledge of both of these facts is incredibly useful in the case of insurance claims. 

4. Additional Skills required by Radiologists :

Apart from the required educational qualification, knowledge, training, experience, and professional expertise, a radiologist can also use some of the below-mentioned traits:

  • A radiologist should be exceptional at verbal and written communication because only then he/she would be able to communicate effectively with patients and colleagues. Written communication would help a radiologist to prepare accurate diagnostic reports.
  • Good observational skills are a must for a radiologist. The ability to catch even the tiniest of details would be quite useful for a radiologist.
  • Having great organizational skills will also come in handy, as it would enable a radiologist to adapt quickly to a busy schedule, and manage things seamlessly.
  • A Radiologist should also be able to work in a team with other physicians of different specialities. In order to maintain efficiency in work, having some people skills could not hurt.

Current Required Educations for a career in Radiology

Radiologists are fully licensed medical doctors. And therefore, anyone pursuing to be a radiologist must complete a minimum of 13 years of education, which includes:

  • A bachelor's degree, oriented towards biology and physics requirements, like a pre-medical degree.
  • Once the Medical College Admission Test is cleared and admission has been obtained, a prospective radiologist is required to finish four years of medical school in an accredited medical program.
  • In this duration of two years, a prospective radiologist would have to take two examinations that would be conducted by the National Board of Medical Examiners. These exams are called United States Medical Licensing Examinations.
  • Prospective radiologists, after completing medical school, are required to take one final medical licensing exam, that would be conducted during the first year of residency. In the US, radiology training takes place during this five-year period of residency.
  • Most residency graduates proceed to enrol in a subspecialty fellowship.

Careers path for a Radiologist :

There are many career opportunities for a radiologist in the below-mentioned fields of practice:

  • Radiation oncology
  • Pediatric radiology
  • Interventional radiology
  • Abdominal radiology
  • Chest/cardiac and pulmonary imaging
  • Non-invasive cardiac and vascular imaging
  • Emergency radiology
  • Musculoskeletal radiology
  • Neuroradiology
  • Nuclear radiology
  • Breast, obstetric, and gynaecological imaging
  • Employment Sector

- Pay Scale as per the Experience

Radiologists with experience of 1 to 4 years are earning an average income of $300,182. Those who have experience of 5 to 9 years have an average total compensation of $260,000. The average compensation reaches $358,597 in the case of an experienced radiologist, who has been actively working for the past 10 to 19 years of experience. For those radiologists who have experience of 20 years or higher, the average earnings are around $358,752.

- Top companies to work with

  • RadNet (Los Angeles)
  • CDI (Minneapolis)
  • MedQuest Associates/Novant Health (Alpharetta)
  • SimonMed/Dignity Health (Phoenix)
  • Touchstone Imaging (Mesquite)

- Other Employment Opportunities

There are several other domains of sub-specialties in which a radiologist can build a career in. Some of them are as under:

  • Neurointerventional radiology
  • Pediatric neuroradiology
  • Vascular and interventional radiology
  • Pros & Cons of the Profession


  • Radiology is a domain that is at the forefront of imaging technology, and therefore, a lot of new developments keep taking place. It is very exciting and interesting work for Radiologists, as they get to learn about these new developments and technologies as a part of their job.
  • There is a good demand for Radiologists and hence, a lot of job opportunities.
  • Radiologists are paid really well.


Radiologists usually work behind the scenes. 

  • The work could become a bit repetitive.
  • As exciting it is to learn about the new technologies being introduced in the field, it could be challenging as well. The arrival of AI is changing the way radiologists work and they have to keep up.

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