If you need to undergo an MRI or X-Ray scan, you may be a little worried. But don’t worry, you’re in good hands. Radiologists go through extensive training programs after their medical degree. This is so that they fully understand the complicated technology and science behind non-invasive scanning. Besides that, they also train to be able to understand scans and diagnose your condition or injury.
As you can probably guess, radiologists are very important. When you need a diagnosis, radiologists are here to help. But what makes a radiologist such an expert? Why should you trust them? If you would like to know more about what training radiologists need, read on!
What Is A Radiologist?
A radiologist is a kind of medical doctor with training in medical imaging techniques. The most common imaging technique is the X-Ray, although you may also have heard of MRI scanning, CAT scans and Ultrasound. A radiologist uses techniques such as these to diagnose injuries to both the skeleton, the brain and the muscles. `
As we pointed out above, a radiologist is a physician, just like any other. The only difference is that they have completed training to specialise in medical imaging techniques, which takes several years. We’ll discuss this more later. Other medical doctors such as pediatricians and OBGYNs do much the same, by completing specialised training in the field of their choice.
What Does A Radiologist Do?
On a day to day basis, a radiologist uses medical imaging techniques to diagnose conditions. Typically, a radiologist does not scan the patient or use the medical imaging machinery themselves. Instead, the job of a radiologist is examining scans, identifying problems and symptoms, and making diagnoses. The radiologist also has to talk to patients and explain their symptoms. More generally, the radiologist will also manage the rest of the staff in their clinic.
You may also have heard the term ‘radiographer’. It’s understandable if you thought that radiologists and radiographers are the same thing, but they aren’t! Here are the key differences:
- Radiologists have more training than radiographers.
- Radiographers operate scanning machines such as MRI scanners and X-Ray machines. Radiologists interpret the scans that radiographers take.
- Radiologists are able to operate scanning machinery, but spend their time using their diagnostic skills instead. On the other hand radiographers are unable to properly and accurately diagnose patients using scans.
What Training Do Radiologists Need?
To become a radiologist, you have to go through a long period of training. Nobody ever said it was easy! Like all physicians, this training begins with a university degree. These degrees are about a broad range of subjects. But in order to be able to go to med school, the student has to pick science subjects such as chemistry, biology, and other subjects such as mathematics. If they pick history or art, they won’t be able to go to med school. Competition is tight!
Afterwards, aspiring radiologists then go to medical school. Here, students start on the path to becoming full doctors. Med school students study for two years, and study subjects such as anatomy and biochemistry. The student spends the next two years of med school in ‘clinical rotations’. This is where the student spends time in hospital settings studying internal medicine, surgery and so on.
What Makes A Radiologist An Expert?
So, once a med school student finally graduates, you might think they’re finished. But you’d be wrong! After they finally graduate, anybody who wants to be a radiologist has to complete what is called a ‘residency’. A residency is similar to the idea of the clinical rotation, except it’s more specialised, and takes longer.
During their period in residency, physicians conduct and publish research to increase (and prove) their expertise. Residency takes a whole four years, but the good news for any aspiring radiologists (or aspiring MDs generally) is that residencies are paid positions. Now, we pointed out the difference between radiologists and radiographers earlier. This is part of the difference. Radiographers do not go through the same training as radiologists.This is what sets them apart.
Do Radiologists Need A License?
In order to work as a radiologist, you need two things. First, before you can call yourself ‘doctor’, you have to complete your training. And, second, you need a license. The United States Medical Licensing Exam is a general license for all physicians. Without it, no physician is allowed to work in the United States. This is to make sure that physicians provide nothing but the best care.
Besides a general medical license, radiologists may also choose to seek certification from either the American Board of Radiology or the American Osteopathic Board of Radiology. Certification from these bodies is not required before a radiologist starts working. That being said, it is a sign of expertise. As such, most radiologists choose to become certified in this way.
Why Might I Need A Radiologist?
If you have suffered from a car accident or personal injury, you may be referred to a radiologist by your physician. Radiologists are experts at identifying damage to the skeleton, the brain and the muscles. Not only that, the scans provide medical evidence which you might need for your case.
MRI scans are the best tool for looking at soft tissue damage such as strokes, other kinds of brain damage and tumors. With MRI scanning, it is possible to spot these problems quickly, before they cause you any damage. This is an excellent example of why radiologists are so important to your recovery.
So, if you think that radiology could benefit you, why not talk with your physician? You could have them refer you to our clinic. Or alternatively, give us a call today. One of our friendly office staff would love to answer any questions that you might have. We understand that MRI scanning is complicated. The easiest way to understand it is to talk to an expert. That’s why we’re available over the phone. You can even contact us here through our website. So what are you waiting for? Give us a call!