Diagnostic radiologists are trained to utilize the wide range of medical imaging modalities to evaluate patients and arrive at precise diagnoses - they may utilize procedures such as MRIs or X-rays.

Watch an Overview of Diagnostic Radiology

About Diagnostic Radiology

Diagnostic radiologists are physicians trained in the use and interpretation of medical imaging modalities to diagnose a wide range of disorders and diseases. Radiologists use technologies such as X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, ultrasounds, interventional radiology, fluoroscopies, digital radiography, nuclear medicine, angiographies, and others when providing diagnostic care to their patients; radiologists may also perform radiation and radioactivity-related techniques and procedures, depending on their training. Radiology is most commonly utilized to assist physicians in the diagnosis of a wide range of cancers, as well as infections. One of the main duties of a diagnostic radiologist is to ensure the health and safety of the patient, ensuring that the equipment is being used in an effective and appropriate manner.

Although radiology is a highly specialized field of medicine, it can be subdivided further into many subspecialties. These include interventional radiology, which uses imaging techniques of diagnostic radiology to assist in various minimally-invasive surgeries and perform procedures to drain abscesses, stop internal bleeding, extract kidney stones and treat peripheral vascular disease; therapeutic radiology (also known as radiation oncology), which utilizes radiation in treatments for cancer and other diseases using a treatment known as radiation therapy. Other subspecialties of radiology include gastrointenstinal radiology, mammography, cardiovascular radiology, thoracic radiology, emergency radiology, nuclear medicine, pediatric radiology and musculoskeletal radiology, among others.

Diagnostic Radiology Education & Training

Training to become a diagnostic radiologist begins with the completion of a bachelor’s degree, which is usually comprised to scientific curriculum. Following completion of an undergraduate degree, the student must complete a four year MD or DO medical degree from an accredited medical school.

Following graduation from medical school, the physician must enroll in a radiology residency program. Radiology residencies typically last five years; the first four years are usually devoted specifically to radiology, with the last year devoted specifically to a subspecialty of radiology. During the residency program, the physician will be given hands-on training in the interpretation of medical imaging results.

Following successful completion of a residency program, the radiologist must take a certification exam from the American Board of Radiology, which consists of oral and written examinations. If a radiologist wishes to subspecialize further within the field, additional residency or fellowship training is required. Diagnostic radiologists are required to complete continuing medical education requirements to stay abreast of the latest innovations and research in the field; they are also required to seek a state medical license in order to practice.