Radiologist Job Description Information

Radiologists, also known as radiologic technicians, are medical professionals who use x-rays and other forms of radiation technology to diagnose and treat illnesses of the human body. Because they work in direct connection with doctors and other medical professionals, they may also be required, as part of their job description, to take over clerical and administrative duties.



  • The main purpose of a radiologist is to diagnose diseases through the use of x-rays. Depending on the setting, this may be expanded to include other tests with radioactive substances, not just x-rays. Radiologists usually work in conjunction with doctors and make diagnosis based on the results of multiple tests.


  • Before the x-rays are taken, radiologists prepare patients for their exposure to radiation by covering their bodies with lead shields, usually in the form of vests or sheets. They also explain procedures, make sure that patients are ready (checking, for example, that all metal objects have been removed) and position the machines correctly to ensure that the minimum number of x-rays are needed. Once the x-rays have been taken, radiologists then develop the film and analyze the results.


  • Radiologists are sometimes involved in the treatment of certain conditions, such as growths (especially external, although internal tumors are sometimes also treated). When directed by a doctor, some patients receive direct radiation as treatment. Others have radioisotopes implanted, which then need to be monitored and cared for by radiologists. Many radiologists who offer this type of treatment hold an additional certification in nuclear medicine.


  • Most radiologists perform a series of additional diagnostic tests besides x-rays. These include ultrasounds, MRIs, CT scans, barium studies and angiography. Many work alongside radiographers, nurses and doctors to prepare and diagnose patients with a variety of symptoms.


  • Aside from the medical side of the job, radiologists are also expected to take on certain administrative responsibilities, such as handling patient records, dealing with complaints, ensuring the meeting of medical policies, completing documentation, patient reviews and staff-to-staff communication, which may include teaching or management duties.

Read more: Radiologist Job Description |

Radiologist Salary Information

Salary ranges in radiology vary depending on a variety of factors, including geographical location, educational background and place of employment. The earning power of a radiologist also changes with experience, especially for those who maintain their base practice, rather than moving on to management or educational positions.



  • Experience plays an important role in the type and amount of salary earned by radiologists. According to, those with less than a year of experience can expect an average national salary of $49,132. Earnings go up consistently over the next few years, until the five-year mark, where the jump is a lot more significant, with professionals claiming a median salary of $194,030 per year. A good reason for this jump is that by this time, many radiologists tend to move on to other positions, including management, sales or research, so those who remain can command much higher earnings.


  • Radiologists earn different salaries based on the type of educational background they have. There are basically three ways to become a radiologist: complete a hospital training program (usually nine to 12 months), earn an Associate Degree in Radiology (two years) or complete a Bachelor's Degree in Radiologic Sciences (four years). The higher the degree, the more chances for advancement and the higher the salaries that can be earned, especially after experience becomes relevant. For example, graduates from a hospital program can expect to earn under $50,000, while those with a Bachelor's will more likely earn over $70,000.


  • The U.S. Department of Labor estimates the hourly rate for a radiologist to start at about $14. Certain cities, like Orlando and Houston, pay in that range, as do entry-level positions for recent graduates. The hourly rate goes up as experience increases or depending on location.
  • Radiologists in Ohio earns an average of $24.57 an hour, while those with more than five years of experience can expect rates as high as $30.97 an hour.


  • Radiologists' earnings vary significantly from one state to the next. Surprisingly, salaries for radiologists do not seem to correspond with the cost of living of a specific state. For example, in New York State, where medical professionals tend to have higher salaries, radiologists earn a median salary of $80,000 a year. Californian radiologists, on the other hand, earn an average of $204,257. The lower salaries are in some of the Southern states, such as Texas, where the median annual salary for a radiologist is $48,696.


  • Most radiologists work in a hospital or clinical settings, often as a salaried employee but sometimes as a freelancer. Of all the work settings, hospitals pay the lowest salaries for radiologists, averaging $78,671. State and local government work opportunities and non-profit organizations come next, with median earnings of just over $85,000. The better salaries come from private organizations or educational facilities, such as teaching colleges and universities, where salaries average $225,000 a year.

Read more: What is the Salary Range in Radiology? |

How to Become a Radiologist

A radiologist is a doctor who performs and interprets diagnostic tests. Types of tests can include an X-ray, CAT scan, ultrasound, upper GI test, MRI, barium enema and even nuclear medicine scans. At times, a radiologist can also treat the problem found.
  1. Prepare for a long and intense course of study and training if you want to become a radiologist. Because radiology deals with all the areas of medicine, training requires approximately 15 years. Take advanced high school courses in math and science. Volunteer work in a hospital gives you good experience and looks good on a college application.
  2. Enroll in college and take pre-med courses. Make excellent grades, especially in science courses to qualify for medical school. Take creative writing classes and communication. You must have good written and verbal skills to become a radiologist.
  3. Pass the exams and get into medical school. Work hard and achieve excellence in chemistry, organic chemistry, advanced biology and physics.
  4. Complete five years of residency. You must be able to diagnose such conditions as gallstones, kidney stones, broken bones, torn ligaments, pneumonia, internal bleeding and cancer. You must have an intense thirst for knowledge and enjoy performing procedures in order to become a good radiologist.
  5. Work hard, achieve excellent grades on your medical board exams and qualify for a fellowship program. Most take one or two years. You must get hands-on training in performing biopsies, draining abscesses, doing angioplasties and treating aneurysms.