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What Are the Job Duties for a Radiologist?

If you enjoy learning, solving problems, and analyzing small details, a career in radiology might be right for you. Read on to learn more about the job duties and education requirements of radiologists.

Radiologist Job Duties Overview

Radiologists are physicians who specialize in capturing and analyzing medical images. They use their findings to diagnose illnesses and, in some cases, treat patients using medical radiation. Radiologists work in various settings, including diagnostic imaging centers, radiation therapy treatment clinics, hospitals, or private practices.

Important Facts About Radiologists

Median Salary (2019) $60,510 (for radiologic technologists)
Job Outlook (2019-2029) 7% growth (for radiologic and MRI technologists)
Work Environment Healthcare facilities and laboratories
Key Skills Attention to detail, interpersonal communication, proficiency in math and technology, physical stamina

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Specific Job Responsibilities

As a radiologist, you'll examine various types of images, including x-rays, computer tomography (CT) scans, mammograms, ultrasounds, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. You might operate the machinery used to collect these images, though this task is often delegated to radiology technologists. Radiologists also occasionally monitor imaging sessions run by radiologic technologists and technicians.

Patients' primary doctors often consult with radiologists on results of imaging procedures. In such cases, you may be responsible for recommending courses of treatment or suggesting that additional images be taken. You may also administer nuclear medicine, oncology, or other radiation techniques to treat patients with illnesses or diseases. In addition, you'll perform many of the same duties as a general physician, such as examining patients, recording medical histories, and prescribing medications.

Sub-Specialties

While radiology is already a specialty of medicine, you might choose to sub-specialize in a particular area of the field. Radiology sub-specialists may focus on a certain disease or illness, treatment type, patient demographic, or area of the body. Common sub-specialties include:

  • Emergency radiology
  • Pediatric radiology
  • Breast imaging
  • Radiation oncology
  • Chest radiology
  • Neuroradiology

Education Requirements

Your training begins with the completion of a four-year bachelor's degree program. You'll then need to complete four years at an accredited medical school to earn a Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathy degree. After that, you'll need to acquire work experience through an internship, followed by four years of residency training in radiology. If you choose to sub-specialize in an area of radiology, you may also be required to complete an additional two-year fellowship program.