If you have ever had to get an X-ray, MRI, or CAT scan a radiologist has read your images and given a diagnosis of the injury or illness. Radiologists are physicians who have training in reading medical images. Their job is paramount to the medical field. Being able to accurately interpret medical imagery will lead to accurate diagnosis and proper treatment for patients. A good radiologist job description covers all of the details required to be this type of professional.

What Does a Radiologist Professional Do?

Radiologists spend their days reading medical images, discussing the results with the medical team, and administering radiation therapy. Becoming a radiologist is difficult, these professionals need have their medical degree and spend four years in a radiological residency. The nature of their work differs from many other medical professionals because they do not have to work nights. They work during the day in hospitals, private clinics, or athletic facilities.

Radiologist looking at patient's X-ray.

Radiologist Job Description for Resume – Responsibilities

  • Complete and interpret medical image orders such as X-rays or MRIs.
  • Diagnose medical conditions or treatment based on patient results.
  • Communicate with other physicians the results of the medical images.
  • Administer radiation therapy for oncology patients.
  • Educate patients on the results of their medical images and what they mean in relation to their overall health.
  • Problem-solve by combining medical images with patient history and other lab tests to arrive at a diagnosis.
  • Supervise radiation technicians in the process of taking and developing medical images.

Radiologist Job Required Skills

Field Knowledge Skills. Radiologists must choose which diagnostic imaging they should use in different situations. This requires them to look at a path with many branches and loops, and select the right branch for the right problem.

Communication Skills. Strong communication skills are essential for radiologists. The radiologist job description requires needing to communicate with other members of the medical team in order to provide the patient with good medical care. They will communicate with other physicians to arrive at a diagnoses and treatment plan, and they must communicate with the radiation assistants who assist in taking images.

Analytical Skills. Reading medical images is complicated and ambiguous. It requires a person with exceptional analytical skills who can correctly interpret what they see on the images. Multiple images may also be taken of the same area of the body and radiologists need to tie them into a narrative that describes the problem.

Working independently Skills. Radiology is one of the few medical fields that does not involve regular contact with patients. Rather, radiologists are immersed in their imagery. These professionals need to enjoy working alone and should not need daily interaction with patients.

How to Become a Radiologist Professional

Radiologists must receive their medical degree and complete specialized residency before they are considered an expert in the field. Radiologists differ from radiology technicians in their lengthy education and responsibility in interpreting images. These professionals need to continue their education in order to do their job well.

Education & Training Requirements

Students who are interested in becoming a radiologist should have a heavy pre-med undergraduate track and gain experience in the healthcare field. These professionals must earn their medical degree, complete a one-year internship, and complete an additional four years in a radiology residency.

The examination process involves taking the Board of Radiology’s certification exams after completing residency. This is a two-part examination that covers subjects such as anatomy and imaging. If you want to specialize in radiology, then you must complete an additional year of residency. After that year, they need to pass additional board exams specific to their residency.

Radiologists will, by their nature, continue learning on the job. They may take additional classes, conduct research, present at conferences, or gain expertise through training under more experienced radiologists. However, there is no required number of credits or coursework to take every year to maintain their license.

Work Experience

One might expect that extensive experience is needed to get a position as a radiologist. However, this experience is gained through schooling. It is impossible to get a job as a radiologist without work experience. This is because the extensive residencies these professionals complete serve as work experience. They receive their medical degree but are not able to practice radiology until they complete residencies.

Students who want to become radiologists must be excellent and show their interest in the field. It is in medical school that experience makes a difference. One way to do this is to join a research team that publishes and presents on radiology topics. Another way to do this is to volunteer for the radiology unit at a particular practice or hospital.

Work Schedules

Radiology is one of the few healthcare fields that does not typically require working evenings, nights, weekends, or holidays. While there are radiologists who need to be on staff in case of emergencies at all hours, this expectation typically falls to residents or new radiologists. As these professionals gain experience and advance in their career they transition to normal daytime hours.

They can expect a very attractive compensation package that includes paid time off. Extra hours are not a normal occurrence for this position. There is no “peak time” for people to need medical images taken, so there is never an external push or deadline.

Career Prospects

A radiologist job description would not be complete without exploring the job outlook for these professionals. Radiology is an excellent career. The pay is above-average and the work/life balance is optimal. However, this is a very competitive field and only the top students continue on to become radiologists. According to Payscale, a radiologist’s salary will range from $103,002 to $462,291. There can be significant bonuses and profit sharing as well.

Radiologists who wish to advance in their career can become specialized in a field of radiology and can also move onto research or teaching. As radiologists become more experienced they can expect their salary to increase. However, many of these professionals already have a good salary and choose other benefits such as increased vacation or retirement contributions instead of salary increases. Job growth for radiologic and MRI technologists is expected to grow by 12% until 2026.


Finally, it is not easy to become a radiologist. The radiologist job description requires a passion for the profession, a dedication to learning, and the ability to accurately analyze medical images. While radiology is competitive, it is a worthwhile investment and one of the highest-paying physician positions. Those who become radiologists can expect a comfortable lifestyle and a high job satisfaction. You can also look at the dentist profession.