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Pursuing a Career as a Radiologist? Exploring this Competitive Medical Specialty

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During the clinical years, medical students get an opportunity to get hands-on clinical experience by working in a number of medical fields. The third and fourth-year medical students are required to complete clinical rotations and work with clinicians and attending physicians. By working with experienced doctors and surgeons, students will develop a better understanding of how to treat patients and use different medical procedures.

Many medical students show their interest in radiology and prefer to become a radiologist. Radiology is an exciting and advanced medical specialty that uses advanced imaging techniques to diagnose and treat different medical conditions. According to a Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives, radiology is the 5th most in-demand medical specialties.

As the technology continues to grow, the demand of radiologists is projected to increase further. Radiologists is an important field that completely relies on diagnostic and procedural work. Medical students interested in the competitive field of radiology are required to know how to use the latest diagnostic technology in order to become a radiologist.

If you are interested in pursuing a career in radiology, here are some important considerations that will make you a well-informed career decision.

What is a Radiologist?

Radiologists are licensed medical doctors who can use imaging methodologies and perform diagnostic procedures to diagnose and manage patients. Radiologists are expert in using advanced imaging technologies including X-ray, ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) – to name a few. Like all physicians, radiologists also need to complete four-years in medical school and obtain an MD degree.

It takes years of education and training to become a radiologist. It is a long, challenging and intense journey, but it prepares you for many lucrative career opportunities.

What Do Radiologsits Do?

Radiologists closely work with physicians and communicate diagnostic findings to create an effective treatment plan. They use patient medical history, physical exam findings, laboratory values and imaging exams to arrive at the accurate diagnosis. These specialists critically analyze the image results to formulate diagnosis.

Many radiologists are trained to perform surgical procedures under imaging guidance. They also get the opportunity to work with a variety of advanced tools, imaging devices and technology. Besides interpreting X-ray, MRI, ultrasound and CT test results, they are capable enough to interpret the test results of nuclear imaging, PET scans and fluoroscopy.

Some radiologists also use radiation technology to treat serious health conditions such as cancer. Radiologists also train residents and technologists on how to perform diagnostic procedures and use imaging techniques.

Sometimes, radiologists get involved in the procedure by preparing patients for the imaging procedure and giving instructions to the technician.

Exploring Radiology Specialties

Radiology is a fascinating medical field that is filled with a number of specialties and subspecialties. Medical students thinking of pursuing a career in this field should have an in-depth knowledge of specialties and subspecialties to choose the right field. Here is the list of radiology specialties and subspecialities.

  • Diagnostic Radiology

This field is based on imaging techniques such as X-rays, ultrasound, electromagnetic radiation and radionuclides to diagnose and treat medical disorders. Medical students are required to complete five years of training.

  • Interventional Radiology

In order to become an interventional radiologist, you need to know how to perform image-guided minimally invasive procedures. They learn how to provide periprocedural patient care and diagnose malignant conditions of pelvis, abdomen and upper and lower extremities. To become an interventional radiologist, students need to complete five years of training. It includes three years of training in diagnostic radiology and two years of training in interventional radiology.

  • Radiation Oncology

Radiation oncology is an advanced field of medicine that uses ionizing radiation and other imaging techniques to treat malignant and benign disorders. As a radiation oncologist, you will perform computed tomography scans, magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound and hyperthermia to treat medical diseases. In order to become a radiation oncologist, you need five years of training – one year of clinical training and four years of radiation oncology training.

Radiology Subspecialities

  •         Hospice and Palliative Medicine
  •         Cardiovascular radiology
  •         Neuroradiology
  •         Nuclear Radiology
  •         Pain Medicine
  •         Pediatric Radiology
  •         Vascular and Interventional Radiology
  •         Breast imaging
  •         Abdominal radiology

In-Demand Medical Specialty  

Radiology is one of the most rewarding careers that is packed with diverse roles and responsibilities allowing students to strengthen their knowledge and skills. The demand of radiologists is notably increasing with the advent of teleradiology. It allows radiologists to provide healthcare facilities and work remotely. If you are considering radiology as a career, you will find many rewarding areas of practice.

The continued innovation in imaging techniques and devices allows medical students to learn something exciting.  The advanced imaging technologies and procedures used in clinical laboratories allow you to sharpen your clinical skills and knowledge.

Advanced Career Opportunities

Radiologists can find job opportunities in hospitals, intensive care units, emergency departments and outpatient diagnostic centers. With the advent of teleradiology, remote job options are also available. Now with a high-resolution monitor, laptop and internet, you can practice anywhere in the world. It allows tele-radiologists to provide diagnostic consultations all around the globe.

Set Yourself Up for a Career in Radiology

Radiology can be a lucrative choice for medical students that provide them with many exciting career opportunities. If you have made up your mind, you need to gain acceptance to medical school and obtain a medical degree. After completing your MD degree, apply for a radiology residency program to complete your postgraduate training and obtain a license. Good luck for your future career.

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