Diagnostic radiologists must complete at least 13 years of post-high school education. This includes prerequisite undergraduate training, four years of medical school, and five years of post-graduate training.
The first postgraduate year is usually a transitional year of various rotations, but is sometimes a preliminary internship in medicine or surgery. A four-year diagnostic radiology residency follows. During this residency, the radiology resident must pass a medical physics board exam covering the science and technology of ultrasound, CTs, x-rays, nuclear medicine and MRI.
Core knowledge of the radiologist includes radiobiology, which is the study of the effects of ionizing radiation on living tissue. Near the completion of residency, the radiologist in training is eligible to take board examinations (written and oral) given by the American Board of Radiology (ABR). Starting in 2010, the ABR will be changing the board examination structure to two computer-based exams, one given after the third year of residency training, and the second given 18 months after the first.
The Wayne State University School of Medicine and the Medical College of South Carolina both offer an integrated radiology curriculum during their respective MD Programs in collaboration with GE Medical led by investigators of the Advanced Diagnostic Ultrasound in Microgravity study.
Following completion of residency training, radiologists either begin their practice or enter into sub-speciality training programs known as fellowships. Examples of sub-speciality training in radiology include abdominal imaging, thoracic imaging, CT/Ultrasound, MRI, musculoskeletal imaging, interventional radiology, neuroradiology, interventional neuroradiology, pediatric radiology, mammography and women's imaging. Fellowship training programs in radiology are usually 1 or 2 years in length.
Radiology is among the most competitive fields of medicine and successful applicants are often at the top of their medical school class with board scores in the top 10th percentile. The field is rapidly expanding due to advances in computer technology, which is closely linked to modern imaging. The exams (radiography) are usually performed by radiologic technologists, (also known as diagnostic radiographers) who in the United States have a 2-year Associates Degree and the UK a 3 year Honours Degree.
Veterinary radiologists are veterinarians that specialize in the use of X-rays, ultrasound, MRI and nuclear medicine for diagnostic imaging or treatment of disease in animals. Veterinary radiologists are certified in either diagnostic radiology or radiation oncology by the American College of Veterinary Radiology.
After earning the right to practice medicine, German physicians who want to become radiologists must go through a 5-year residency, culminating with a board examination (Facharztausbildung).
In Italy, the resident is named "specializzando", specializing. Until 2008, the School of Radiology had duration of 4 years. At present, after 5 years, residents become specialists in radiology, but not radiotherapy or nuclear medicine. In fact, before 1979, the three schools were combined (during 5 years). Before 1960 the school produced clinicians specialized also in physiotherapy.
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Last Updated: Feb 1, 2011