Diagnostic Radiologist

Diagnostic Radiologist: a physician who uses imaging methodologies to diagnose and manage patients and provide therapeutic options. You will use x-ray, ionizing radiation, radionuclides, ultrasound, electromagnetic radiation, and image-guided intervention to diagnose and treat disease.

Quick Facts

Competitiveness: High

Length of training: 5 years

Number of residency programs: 187

Number of residents in training: 4,427

Number in U.S. currently Board Certified in specialty: 29,652

First year median compensation: $271,000

Mean number of hours per week in patient care activities: 55.9

Residency Information

You will complete a 1 year internship usually in internal medicine or surgery prior to 4 years in a diagnostic radiology residency. With 1 or 2 years of training you can enter a fellowship and receive subspecialization in the following areas:

  • Radiologic Physics
  • Neuroradiology
  • Nuclear Radiology
  • Pediatric Radiology
  • Vascular/Interventional Radiology

Why Choose

Doctors choosing diagnostic radiology like the cerebral nature of the work, the good hours, and the new technologies in this field. They like to diagnose complex or difficult problems but do not want to practice in a specialty where they will have to take care of chronically ill patients.

Typical Schedule

Days may vary, but the weeks are pretty much similar. In some cases certain tests and procedures are only done on certain days of the week, while in other practices these tests are done every day.

You will spend your time working with several modalities (imaging equipment) throughout the day and then a few hours will be left to consult with referring physicians.

There may be on-call time for emergencies but this is minimal in comparison to other specialties.

If You're Interested

In this field you will want to know a lot of anatomy. If you complete an elective in radiology, do research in the field, and have a strong background in clinical medicine it will be beneficial. Otherwise, this is a rapidly changing field and having an interest in technology is good.