Did you often play as a doctor as a young child and developed your life goals from there? Has it always been your goal to work as a radiologist? If so, then it’s important to find out how to become a radiologist.

Radiology is one of the most lucrative specialities a physician can practice. On average, radiologists earn around $419,000 per year. If you took training in interventional radiology, the average pay bumps up to $507,508 per year.

Below, we have a list of steps to becoming a radiologist. Read on for more information on the preparations you need to earn an M.D. in Radiology.

1. What is a Radiologist?

Radiologists are the physicians that specialize in using and examining medical imaging. They are specialists who take a patient’s data through imaging techniques. They then determine a patient’s medical condition by analyzing the images and consulting with other doctors.

Often, radiologists use imaging techniques like x-ray, ultrasound, nuclear medicine positron emission tomography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and computed tomography (CT). They treat diseases through radiation and other image-guided therapeutic intervention techniques. They also look through patients’ medical histories and carry out physical examinations.

They are the first to diagnose and identify the conditions of a patient. Radiologists can also give recommendations for future treatment plans. Another duty of a radiologist is to direct radiologic technicians in their duties.

2. Preparation For Becoming a Radiologist

If you want to know how to be a radiologist, there are a few qualities you need to develop first. Like other doctors, you need a good eye for small details. It’s an important characteristic that will help you read and interpret images better.

Another skill that you should develop is people skills. You will be dealing with patients and family members face-to-face. Having good people skills will be a great benefit in your career as a radiologist.

There will be times when you must take long shifts. In other cases, you might be on your feet for a long time. Thus, you need to have a good physical condition to adapt well to this part of the job.

There might also be times when you need physical strength to move patients. As a radiologist, you will also be examining them by hand. As a doctor, it’s important to take care of your health so you can take care of others’ health.

One of the most important qualities of radiologists is to have good technical skills. You will be using technical machinery often in your line of work. The capacity to understand, use, and adapt to these machines is a big advantage.

It can take almost a decade or more to earn a radiologist Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree. The most you can do to prepare for radiologist school is to do well in your high school years. It will also be wise to get a bachelor’s degree that has a link to the medical field.

3. How to Become a Radiologist

The road to earning an M.D. degree or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.M.) degree is not an easy one. As we stated before, it can take you a decade of continuing education or more. So, how do you become a radiologist?

The first step to being a radiologist is to finish your high school education. The next one is to get a bachelor’s degree. In your 4-year course in university, you have the most potential in a STEM field.

Often, there is no specific degree necessary to apply to medical school. While in undergrad, you will need to take some prerequisite courses. Most medical schools will need you to complete the following:

  • English
  • biology
  • general and organic chemistry
  • physics

Many of these courses will also require a lab.

Medical School

The next step on how to become a radiologist is that you must take is to complete medical school. In medical school, you will undergo training for basic theory and practice of being a doctor. You will spend your first two years in the classrooms and labs.

In this time, you will be studying anatomy, medicine, biochemistry, and advanced physics. Here, you will also learn how to take a medical history, examine patients, and make a diagnosis. For the next two years, under the eye of experienced doctors, you will have clinical rotations and work in different areas of medicine.

Getting a Medical License

Before you can apply for your residency program, you need a medical license. Take the US Medical Licensing Examination or the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination. You will also need a resident’s license and later, a fellowship license.


After you complete your M.D., you need to pick up a residency to train in a specialized area of medicine. In America, radiology residency programs must have a curriculum accredited by the ACGME. These residency curriculums will provide explicit training in particular subfields of radiology.

You may often deal with patients in the curriculums focused on clinical practice. Most programs also include physics so you understand the tools you use. In the last year or two of residency, you can choose which elective to perform rotations in.

Post-residency, you have a fellowship that can take 2-4 years. You will work as a physician under the supervision of attendings. After you complete your fellowship, you can get the permit to work as a radiologist without direct supervision of others in the speciality.

4. Further Advancement

Even as a practising physician, you will still need to continue studying. There are online programs that can help you with this. The Scrubs Continuing Education online program offers online courses for continuing education.

Military training is a good choice for doctors if you want advanced training. You can take a scholarship for advanced medical training. In return, you may need to complete a period of military service.

Becoming a Radiologist

That’s our guide on how to become a radiologist. We hope our article helped and inspired you to take up radiology.

If you want more guides like this, all you need to do is to read our other posts today.