Careers in healthcare have been a popular path to take for decades. This is largely because of the “calling” that many individuals feel leads them to help the sick and injured, and for the high salaries associated with healthcare careers.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for healthcare workers across the globe has risen dramatically just within the last year, and this trend is forecast to continue. Even as more and more people are getting vaccinated, the virus continues to produce variants that still need to be studied and treated.
While some careers in healthcare might seem less than glamorous, those which require long-term educational commitments continue to earn the most money. In fact, radiologists, despite an average salary of around $400,000 per year, actually remain the 10th highest-paid career in healthcare.
Here, we’ll explore the field of radiology, and the path to landing a job as a radiologist.
What Is Radiology?
Radiology employs the use of medical radiology imaging technology which is used to assist in diagnosing illnesses and injuries. Some of this equipment includes the following:
- Computed tomography
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
- Ultrasound technology
- Nuclear medicine
Radiology technology is used in many areas of medicine and is more commonly associated with any source of imaging technology, such as what is used to view a fetus in utero, mammograms, and head trauma, though the application of this technology covers a broad area of illnesses and injuries.
What Is A Radiologist?
Radiologists are highly trained medical doctors who use radiology imaging technology to diagnose and form treatment plans for illnesses and injuries. These medical doctors, due to their intense medical training and high skill levels, earn much more than average within the healthcare industry.
In order to become a radiologist, a long educational path is required, and this can span for longer than a decade in most cases.
Most radiologists earn a Bachelor’s degree in a specific field of science, usually biology, anatomy, or another major within the science or healthcare space, then a candidate will advance and attend a 4-year medical school.
After completion of medical school, a 4-year residency is then required. And, after residency, it is usually common for a prospective radiologist to take a 1 to 2 year fellowship within a specific discipline of radiology.
All in all, it can take between 13 and 14 years of education and training in order to become a working radiologist.
After a radiologist completes a fellowship study in a specific field, a candidate then must be certified by the American Board of Radiology. In addition to this, throughout a radiologist’s career, he or she must complete continuing educational requirements as more advances are made within the field.
A radiologist also chooses a subspecialty, and the more common of these are as follows:
- Diagnostic Radiologist – A diagnostic radiologist conducts image testing on the human body, diagnoses the problems, and then recommends treatment. Diagnostic radiologists also act as consultants to your primary care physician, and the two may work in tandem when assessing treatments.
- Radiation Oncologists – A radiation oncologist is a highly trained medical doctor who specializes in prescribing and treatment of a cancer patient. These doctors use radiation therapy to treat cancer and continue to monitor the path of treatment.
- Interventional Radiologists – Interventional radiologists are highly trained doctors who use imaging technology, sometimes through invasive diagnosis such as making incisions in the body and guiding imaging equipment to find the source of a problem. This is common practice in the case of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and the like.
Radiology subspecialties cover a wide array of medical applications, but the skill level of these doctors is so great that landing a job as a radiologist generally comes with a salary approaching near a half-million dollars per year in most states. You just have to find where the top-paying radiologist jobs are located.
As the need for healthcare providers continues to grow, so too does the need for highly trained medical doctors such as those trained in the field of radiology.