How to Become a Radiologist in 6 Simple Steps


Degree Level

​Medical School





What is a ​Radiologist?

Working in the medical field is one of the most rewarding sectors to work in. Being part of a team of professionals and making a difference to the lives of people on a daily basis is incredibly rewarding. Being a radiologist is no different, radiologists are often the first to diagnose and identify the ailment of a patient. Continue reading our complete guide and learn how to become a radiologist.

Radiologists are physicians that specialize in using and examining medical imaging. They use the imaging to diagnose all types of illness. From diseases to broken bones, and will offer a treatment plan or refer to patient in most cases.

They look through patient’s medical histories, carry out physical examinations, and request the necessary imaging that will help them see areas of the body in more detail. If you’re interested in training to be a radiologist, a long, fulfilling, and ever-evolving career awaits you.

Radiologists specialize in diagnosing diseases, injuries, and other medical concerns. This is done primarily by using imaging techniques such as x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, nuclear medicine positron emission tomography, and computed tomography (CT).

They are typically behind screens analyzing the images and consulting with other doctors to form a diagnosis. They can request to see the patient and perform some physical examinations, or take further images if they see cause to do so.

In summary a radiologist performs the following duties:

  • ​Reviews images of patients for further referral
  • ​Provides physicians with reports to help with treating the patient
  • ​Directs radiology technicians to help with patient care
  • ​Advises patients on their next course of action
  • ​Aids other medical professionals with diagnosing from images

​The average salary of a radiologist is $238,227

Important Qualities of a Radiologist

Attending to patients, using a wide range of imaging technology, and helping other healthcare professionals to diagnose and treat medical issues requires a diverse skill-set. Outside of the medical qualifications there are various qualities that make the role easier and more fulfilling.

Eye for Detail

Having a good eye for small details is very important. Being able to read and interpret the images of body parts isn’t always obvious. Having a good eye for detail to start with is an advantage, along with learning more the longer you are in the role.

Great People Skills

As with all medical professions that deal with patients face-to-face, people skills are a huge advantage. Realistically you have to have good people skills. Although it’s an area of your skill-set that can be worked on over time.

Physically Fit

Being a radiologist often requires long shifts and in some practices a long time on your feet. Being in good physical condition makes this aspect of the job a lot easier. Physical strength is also desirable and examining and moving patients will often need to be done by hand.

Good Technical Skills

Radiologists use technical machinery. There are frequent advancements in the tools available to members of the medical profession, and being able to learn how to use them quickly is an advantage.

Radiologist Working Environment

​Most radiologists typically work in hospitals and private practices. With access to modern technology, it’s also possible for radiologists to work remotely. Not all radiologists see patients face-to-face, some just analyze the images and make a diagnosis.

What is a Radiologist

Becoming a Radiologist

Step 1 High School Preparation

High School Courses for Radiologists

Anatomy and Physiology

Anatomy and Physiology Aka Biology II is the first course you should consider taking as it will help you with your studies and will also give you extra credits for college.

Chemistry and physics

Take as much as chemistry and physics classes you can as they will help you prepare for the coursework when doing your bachelor degree.


Math is the cornerstone of science so in order to understand the complex scientific theories you will face at your studies you need to have a deep understanding of math. Our advice is to take all the math classes you can even the AP ones.

Step 2 ​Get an Undergraduate Degree

In order to become a radiologist, you need to finish medical school. While there are no certain bachelor’s degrees you have to finish in order to get accepted to a medical school the most common students choose are: biology, organic chemistry inorganic chemistry, physics, biochemistry, math and pre- med programs.

When you decide which bachelor’s degree you will pursue you should choose the ones where you will have better chances of getting a higher GPA.

Step 3 ​Take the MCAT Exam

In order to get accepted to a medical school you should give the (MCAT) Medical College Admission Test.


A statement that verifies your intention of attending medical school


Five and a half test on four different sections:

  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems.
  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems.
  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills.
  • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior.

 Cost: $235

Step 4 Complete Medical School

​Medical school studies last 4 years, the first two years are spent in classroom and the last two are spent working clerk-ships under the supervision of a licensed healthcare professional.

First Year Curriculum

Second Year Curriculum

Third Year Clerk-ships

Fourth Year Curriculum

Fourth year consists of two four weeks’ internships one Required and one selective.

The cost of Medical school ranges from $207,866 to $278,455.

You should always contact the college of your choice before you enroll and ask them everything you need to know.

Click the button below to get free info about accredited Medical Schools near you.

how long does it take to become a radiologist

Step 5 Complete a Residency

Being a radiology resident is probably the most exciting part of the journey to becoming a qualified and practicing radiologist.

After years of schooling and work experience in various settings, working a residency gives you the opportunity to put your training into practice and work in live settings with real patients.

You will learn all the latest imaging techniques the hospital is using, how to use the most advanced systems and tools, and get that hands-on experience that can’t be matched with theory.

You will be under the direct or indirect supervision of a superior, giving you the opportunity to ask questions and receive feedback on your progress.

Successful completion of a residency program is one of the requirements for obtaining a license to practice in most jurisdictions.

Step 6 Become Certified


Diagnostic Radiology, Radiation Oncology, Interventional Radiology and Medical Physics

To be a practicing radiologist you must be licensed to do so in the state you’re working in.

Most states will require you to earn your certification after passing an exam issued by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT), or the American Board of Radiology (ABR).

Even if you find a state that doesn’t require you to be certified we recommend you still pass the exam and become fully certified as it increases your employability and adds to your knowledge of the role.

Being certified also shows your commitment to radiology, reflects the kind of core values that medical professionals hold high, and demonstrates a passion for learning and continued development.

​There are 4 main areas that American Board of Radiologists offers certification:

Diagnostic Radiology

Radiation Oncology

Interventional Radiology

Medical Physics

Overview of Radiologist Degrees

For a lot of people, when they first decide to become a radiologist or pursue any other position in the medical field the road ahead can look a little daunting.

The only way to become a fully licensed and qualified radiologist is through several stages of medical school, exams, certification, internships, residencies, and it feels like the list goes on.

Each stage is vital to your progression towards becoming a radiologist however. There is a body of knowledge to learn, theory and practical skills to develop, and the valuable hands-on experience that comes with a residency or internship placement.

As a radiologist you will be a member of the medical field. This means you abide by the code of conduct and ethics, commit to continued education, and fulfill all the licensing and education requirements.

Working in the medical field is one of the most rewarding careers you can pursue. You get to make a real difference to the lives of others on a daily basis, and you’ll be hard pushed to find someone who has qualified telling you it’s not worth every effort, bump, up and down along the way.

Radiologist Job Growth, Salary and Outlook



The growth, salary, outlook, and job prospects for radiologists has been on an upward trend above the national average for all occupations for some time and is set to continue.

In 2016 the median pay for radiologists was $​238,​227. With the median for all workers across the US being $37,040 you can see the salary for a radiologist is far above the average.

The medical sector is always growing and there is an increased demand for skilled technicians such as radiologists which is keeping the salary projection healthy.

This ties into the job outlook too. There is an expected increase of 13% between just 2016-26, meaning the outlook for radiologists is almost double the average for all occupations which is 7%.

This is largely down to the nature of the medical field. There are always new advancements in technology, the population is ageing meaning there is a greater number of people needing medical care, and medical procedures are becoming more widely available all the time.

The bottom line is, growth and outlook is very positive and it’s a career path that has a lot of security and potential.

The job security is strong due to the skilled requirements and demand for the position. Also, there are opportunities to further your education and progression as a radiologist due to the number of places you can work.

There are no signs or indications that the demand for this position or the growth will slow down in the future.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Radiologist and How Much Does it Cost?

DegreeTime Cost
Bachelor’s 4 years$30, 000 - $100, 000
Medical School4 years$207,866 - $278,455
Residency3 years - 4 years-
Certification-$1,920- $2,560
Total11 years - 12 years$239,786 - $381,015

Radiologist Training Video


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