Radiologists have been trained to utilize a wide range of medical imaging modalities, such as MRIs, X-rays and CT scans to understand, diagnose and treat all types of conditions.

Watch an Overview of Radiology

About Radiology

Radiologists are physicians trained to utilize medical imaging procedures to diagnose and treat various disorders. Most radiological procedures are classified as minimally-invasive or image-guided procedures; often times, treatments provided by radiologists are considered an alternative to more invasive surgical procedures.

Radiologists utilize technologies such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) scans, ultrasounds, fluoroscopies, digital radiography, and angiographies, among others. Radiologists also utilize various radiation and radioactivity-related techniques and procedures to diagnose and treat a variety of diseases. Because radiation can have adverse health effects, radiologists pay great attention to patient safety. These physicians are trained to protect patients from unnecessary exposure to radiation, utilizing knowledge in the effects of radiation on the human body to apply carefully measured amounts.

Physicians trained within the field of radiology are able to treat many conditions and complications, performing procedures to: drain abscesses, stop internal bleeding, extract kidney stones, and treat peripheral vascular disease, among many other procedures. Some radiologists specialize further within the field, sometimes completing a fellowship to practice in fields such as interventional radiology or nuclear medicine.

Radiology Education & Training

Radiologists must complete a post-doctorate residency after undergraduate and medical school before they are eligible to receive a medical license. The first step in becoming a radiologist requires the completion of a bachelor’s degree, followed by the completion of medical school. After completing a four year MD or DO degree from an accredited medical school, the physician must enroll in a residency in radiology.

Radiology residencies typically last five years and expose the physician to the various medical imaging technologies. During this time, the physician will be given hands-on training in the interpretation of imaging procedures, such as results from MRI, X-ray and CT scans, among others. Following successful completion of a residency program, many radiologists seek will need to take a certification exam from the American Board of Radiology consisting of both oral and written examinations. Before beginning to practice as a radiologist, the physician must seek a medical license in the state(s) they intend to provide medical care.