A competent radiologist must be trained in the specialized medical field of radiology, which uses a wide range of imaging modalities to diagnose and treat disease in the body.
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It is important that a radiologist has a thorough knowledge of various imaging techniques, including:
- Z-ray radiography
- Computed tomography (CT)
- Nuclear medicine
- Positron Emission tomography (PET)
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
The teaching methodology involved in the training to become a radiologist changes according to the requirements of the country in which the medical professional will practice. For this reason, the radiologist training of several different countries is outlined in more detail below.
The American Board of Radiology (ABR) is the professional body that certifies medical professionals to practice in the fields of Diagnostic Radiology, Radiation Oncology, and Medical Physics in the United States.
After obtaining a bachelor's degree and graduating from medical school, registered medical practitioners may apply to specialize in the field of radiology. As it is an extremely competitive field of specialization, often only medical graduates who have exceled academically are accepted into these programs.
The National Resident Matching Program then accepts applicants for diagnostic radiology residency, which lasts for four years. Following this, several sub-specialties such as neuroradiology or interventional radiology can be undertaken, which usually requires a fellowship program of one to three years.
Radiology is a competitive field of specialization in the United Kingdom, which previously warranted professional examinations to be completed before registered medical practitioners were considered for training in the field; however, these are no longer compulsory.
The duration of the training program run by the Royal College of Radiologists is five years, which includes rotations in different areas of radiology such as pediatrics, musculoskeletal, neuroradiology, and breast imaging. This program also includes a theoretical exam to be completed at the conclusion of the first year before the physician can pass onto subsequent years, which are solely practical rotations.
Australia and New Zealand
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists is responsible for the training program of radiologists and requires a total of five years to be completed. This program begins with general principles of radiology and includes focused training rotations towards the end of the program.
Pre-requisite requirements for entry into the program include registration as a medical practitioner, including graduation from medical school and at least two years of experience working in a clinical setting.
The training of radiologists within Europe can also differ between countries; however, the overview of the education and licensing process remains the same.
It is obligatory for potential radiologists in Europe to first complete medical school and become a registered practitioner prior to commencing training as a radiologist. At this point, physicians may then begin the training program that prepares them for a career as a radiologist. The length of the program is usually five years across the different countries in Europe, although some countries such as Italy require further training and specialization.