Create and interpret internal images of the body, like X-rays and MRIs.

Quick Stats

Very Good

Salary Range
~ $172,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Radiologists do?

When they’re young, all boys want X-ray vision so they can see the people inside buildings and the bones inside bodies. Unless you’re Superman, however, the only way to get X-ray vision is to become a Radiologist — a medical professional who’s specially trained to capture and interpret medical images.

As a Radiologist, you’re employed by hospitals and clinics, and you’re paid to study pictures of bones, organs, and blood vessels, taken using X-ray, MRI, CT scan, and ultrasound machines. Your goal is to discover and diagnose problems, including broken bones and fractures, as well as osteoporosis, heart disease, appendicitis, and scores of other diseases and conditions, such as breast, lung, brain, and prostate cancer.

Although Radiology Technicians typically perform the actual imaging, you supervise and manage the entire process, which sometimes includes giving patients barium (letting you X-ray their digestive tract) or injecting them with radioactive tracers (letting you X-ray their blood flow).

Ultimately, though, your main responsibility as a Radiologist isn’t taking pictures; it’s reviewing them, as reading medical images requires a trained eye that knows what “healthy” and “unhealthy” look like. Using that eye, you identify a patient’s medical problems, then consult with the patient’s Doctor on recommended treatment options.

Although you may specialize in a type of radiology — a Cardiovascular Radiologist, for instance, specializes in imaging of the vascular system, and a Genitourinary Radiologist in imaging of the reproductive and urinary tracts — your job is always this: to win a life-or-death game of medical “I Spy.”

Should I be a Radiologist?

You should have a doctoral degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • Also known as: Diagnostic Radiologist, Interventional Neuroradiologist, Interventional Radiologist, Neuroradiologist See More

    How to become a Radiologist

    We recommend at least a Doctoral degree. Start by getting your Bachelor's. Check out these schools offering Radiologist-related education!
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