There are four main types of radiology careers, each with their own education requirements. There are radiologists, who are doctors, radiologist assistants, radiologic technologists and radiologic nurses. Additionally, there are specialties in the field that may require additional training. All people working in the radiology field must attain certain education requirements to become licensed or certified.
Radiologists, also known as diagnostic radiologists, require the most amount of training. Like any other doctor, a radiologist must graduate from an accredited medical school, pass a licensing exam, become an intern for at least a year and complete a 4-year residency in radiology. The radiologist may then decide to specialize in one of the following fields: breast imaging, cardiovascular radiology, chest radiology, emergency radiology, gastrointestinal radiology, genitourinary radiology, head and neck radiology, musculoskeletal radiology, neuroradiology, pediatric radiology, interventional radiology, nuclear radiology or radiation oncology.
Radiologist assistants help the radiologist under whom the RA works. Radiologist assistants make observations on X-rays and help with patient care. RAs must complete either a bachelor's degree or master's degree in radiology science, imaging or a related field. After graduation, RAs continue on as an intern to prepare for an exam administered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, which leads to certification.
Radiologic Technologists and Technicians
Radiologic technologists and technicians take the actual X-rays and assist radiologists with their patients. Radiologic technologists and technicians assist patients with the proper aprons to wear during X-rays and may specialize in field such as mammography. Radiologic technologists and technicians can enter the field in one of three ways: receiving a certificate or diploma from an accredited one-year vocational program, getting a two-year Associate's Degree or receiving a Bachelor's Degree in radiology technology.
Radiologic nurses assist patients during radiology therapy and help doctors with their patients. Radiologic nurses are registered nurses (RNs) who have received either a Bachelor's of Science degree in nursing, an Associate Degree in nursing or a diploma from an accredited nursing school.
People wishing to enter the radiology career field may have more questions about radiology education requirements. Professional organizations such as the American Board of Radiology, the American Society of Radiologic Technologists and the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists provide information on education requirements (see Resources).
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