This interview was one of the original JobShadow.com interviews back in 2008 and was conducted with a radiologist in the Southeast.  I conducted and recorded it via Skype and transcribed the interview verbatim.  It was done anonymously at the request of the radiologist because of the level of income data revealed.  

What do you do for a living?Radiologist Salary & Job Description

I’m a radiologist and I also sub-specialize in interventional radiology.

How would you describe what you do?

Radiology is using technology and a variety of imaging techniques to look at the human body and diagnose problems.

Quick Facts!
How much do radiologists make a year?
According to payscale.com and others radiologist salary ranges from $50,000 to $200,000 per year. For more accurate information see how much this doctor actually makes Click Here.

How to become a radiologist? You’ll need to get your high school degree, graduate medical school, and go to residency. To see how this doctor became a radiologist Click Here and Here.

That includes: x-rays, fluoroscopy, which is kind of real time x-rays; CT scanning, which is using x-rays and computer reconstructions to look at the body; MRI scanning, which is using magnetic resonance, which includes radio frequency waves and a high-strength magnetic field to look at the human body; ultrasound, which uses high frequency sound waves to look at the body; Overlay and nuclear medicine, which involves injecting a very small amount of radioactive substance in a person tagged to a substance that will go to different parts of the body and show how they’re functioning.

We’re basically Doctors’ doctors because the patients don’t come to us. The doctors have a patient, and then they have a problem that they can’t solve without our help, and so they come to us whether it’s by ordering a test or consulting us with a problem that they need help figuring out…We’re problem solvers, and a lot of the time, whatever we see and say is going to determine the course of the patient’s therapy.

Then interventional radiology is a sub-specialty. In interventional radiology, we use imaging techniques and minimally invasive techniques to do a lot of things that used to require surgery, including treating arterial disease with balloons and stints, being able to drain different areas of the body including the bowel ducts, the kidneys, and fluid collections or abscesses, any place in the body, and then also using the imaging guidance to do biopsies of almost any place using a skinny needle. So, a lot of imaging allows us to do things more targeted than having to actually open somebody up.

What does your work entail as a radiologist or what is a radiologists’ job description?

We work from 7:30 in the morning till about 5:00 at night, and other radiologists work longer hours in some places, but that’s our normal work day. And then once a week I’ll be on call for general radiology, and I usually get a call about every 15 minutes. We have (T1) lines to our homes and teleradiology so we look at the images while at our homes many times while on call. The emergency rooms just keep us hopping because now they’re conditioned to use imaging for almost everything. And so, about every 15 minutes, we’re looking at another CT scan or some sort of examination. And then at one other time of the week I’m on the interventional call. That’s not as busy, but it can be.  Sometimes, I can go for an evening and not get called, but if I do get called, it means that I’ve got to go into the hospital, do a procedure that could last anywhere from an hour to four hours. And then once a month I’m on call for the weekend; Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

How did you get started?

I was in television before. Then at twenty-nine I decided I wanted to go to medical school.  I went into medical school thinking that I would do something more standard as far as medicine, like internal medicine, or surgery, or obstetrics and gynecology. But as I went through, I realized, especially at the time I was there, that the technology was booming, and CTs had just come out, and MRIs were just coming out, and that there were all of these different types of interventions that could be performed using the imaging that saved lots of money, lots of time, lots of pain.

The consulting interaction with the physicians is very satisfying because we get to scratch our heads and think through things and talk to them. And they have information that I don’t have from doing their examinations, and knowing the patient, and I have information that they don’t have about what I can do and what I can see, that would help them. And so, it’s a collaborative process with other physicians that’s satisfying.

I could usually do the procedures as out-patients instead of a week-long hospital stay, and it was all fascinating to me. So, that’s what I chose to do as a residency and then wound up in private practice.

What do you like about what you do?

We interact with almost every different aspect of medicine. We work with pediatrics, obstetrics, surgery, internal medicine, all the sub-specialties, and so there’s a huge range of things that we participate in. It’s hard to get bored because it’s hard to keep up with everybody, they expect us to know more about them than their patients. We’re basically Doctors’ doctors because the patients don’t come to us. The doctors have a patient, and then they have a problem that they can’t solve without our help, and so they come to us whether it’s by ordering a test or consulting us with a problem that they need help figuring out an answer to, or help taking care of. We’re problem solvers, and a lot of the time, whatever we see and say is going to determine the course of the patient’s therapy. So, even though, you don’t get quite as much satisfaction from the patient contact and the patients being really grateful to you”a lot of times they don’t even know that you’re the one who figured out what was wrong with them”but you do get a lot of satisfaction in knowing that what you’re doing makes a big difference in the lives of all of these patients every day.

The interventional part of it, I do have patients. I take care of them. I have patient contact and interaction as their physician; doing procedures on them, and a lot of the procedures that I do allow me to help people in ways that if it wasn’t for us they would have had to have major surgeries for. And so that’s satisfying. The consulting interaction with the physicians is very satisfying because we get to scratch our heads and think through things and talk to them, and they have information that I don’t have from doing their examinations, and knowing the patient, and I have information that they don’t have about what I can do and what I can see, that would help them. And so, it’s a collaborative process with other physicians that’s satisfying.

What do you dislike?

Well, I think all physicians, and radiologists probably as much as anybody else, are unhappy about the way the control of medicine has been taken out of doctors’ hands in a lot of ways; by the government, by insurance companies, by hospitals. The amount of bureaucracy, the amount of paperwork, the number of obstacles that are placed in your way in actually just taking care of what we’re supposed to be taking care of, is real frustrating. And in this state, in particular, because of the way that the government has changed reimbursements, we have a much lower medicare reimbursement rate than most every place else in the country. I think Puerto Rico maybe is the same. But we’ve got a real low one, and most of the other reimbursement rates are keyed off of the medicare rate.

I don’t want this to sound like I’m complaining about how much money I make, because I’m very happy with what I do, but in order to continue a practice, you’re going to have to be able to recruit new physicians to the practice. And the problem for us, as well as the problem for other physicians in the state, is that somebody coming out of a training program looks at what the reimbursement rates are here compared to someplace else, and they have to really want to be here to make the sacrifice that they’re making financially to come here and stay here. I think we’re losing a huge number of physicians in this state to other places because of that, and I don’t see that turning around any time in the near future. So that’s disappointing to me, because we’ve always had a really good medical community here and the in the rest of the state”really high-quality physicians”and I fear that in the future, the standard is going to be lowered because the financial incentives are going elsewhere.

How do you make money/or how are you compensated?

We only make money when we’re doing something. We’re paid fee-for-service. We bill for what we do, and the insurance companies, the government, and/or the patients pay us for our services. We don’t own any of the equipment. Something that most people don’t realize is that there are two fees for radiology: one is a technical fee and one is the professional fee. The technical fee is paid to the facility or whoever owns the equipment that the procedures are performed on. The equipment is really expensive, and reimbursement rates for that is pretty high. Our portion of the total cost of an imaging procedure is usually between 5 and 10%, whereas the technical component is between 90 and 95%. We’ve chosen not to own imaging facilities for equipment because that puts a sort of a vested interest for us to do more procedures on that equipment, to earn more money off of it. And we felt like it was and, some people don’t have a problem with that, we just felt like it was a conflict, and it might make us make choices that were altered by financial concerns rather than patient concerns.

How much money do you make as a radiologist?

I’m going to have to guess here, but I would say that probably if you count the amount that we contribute to our pension plan and the amount that we are salaried and our bonus, and don’t count other things like insurance health, malpractice, disability, and that sort of thing I’m going to guess it would be right around $500,000 a year.

What education or skills are needed to be a radiologist?

Well, obviously, you have to go to medical school. You have to have a college degree to get there. So you need a four year college degree, four years in medical school, an internship, a four-year residency, and a one to two-year fellowship after that. As far as skills, they need to be a problem-solver. Some people are good at memorizing things. Some people are good at problem solving. Some people are good at both, not too many, but it’s not good enough just to know a lot. You have to be able to apply that, and in a lot of ways what we do is like extremely complex video games. I mean, we’re using images and we’re using all sorts of information to figure out the answers. And so two things that are really key are visual and spacial orientation, and analysis skills. If you are able to think three dimensionally based on two-dimensional objects”drawings, pictures”if you can think three dimensionally, you can turn things around in your mind, upside down, sideways, backwards, forwards, with limited amounts of information, then you probably have one of the major skills necessary. If you can’t do that, this may not be the field for you.

What is most challenging about what you do?

There’s really two. One is that if you’re highly trained at what you do, and something that I tell patients is You don’t want your doctor to be excited, or surprised, or thrilled about what he’s doing with you. You want him to be a little bit bored with it. Because you want him to know it so well that he’s seen it, and it’s second nature for him to be able to do it. And so you’re so highly trained at it that ninety-five percent of the time, you know the answers pretty quickly and pretty easily. So one of the challenges is when it’s not challenging, because you’ve done it over and over, and you know it so well is to still do it as intently and with as much perfectionism and professionalism as you would if it was the first time you had done it. And sometimes you’re under a lot of chronic fatigue, so one of the challenges is to do it just as well when you’re exhausted as you do when you are fresh in the morning.

What is most rewarding?

Well, it’s obviously financially rewarding, but I guess the major reward that most of us have is that we know that what we do makes a difference in people’s lives, and that if we weren’t there for them at the time that they needed us, that things wouldn’t go as well. We know we make a difference for doctors who are struggling with trying to help patients, we know we make a difference in the patients’ lives, we know we make a difference in our community. Even when things are hard, you feel good about what you’re doing, all of the frustrations are tolerable, because you feel like what you’re doing is worthwhile.

What advice would you offer someone considering this career?

Well, that would depend on what stage of life they’re in. If they’re in high school then I would say, Find somebody who does this and then ask them if you could come visit and see what it’s really like, and most radiologists are delighted to have people come by and spend a few hours with them and let them see what they’re doing and what it’s really like. Because some people might say, This is something I would go nuts doing, or, Gosh, I’m fascinated with it, and I really would like to do this.

If you’re in college and you want to do it, the big thing that you’re going to have to do is get into medical school, and that’s hard to do. You’ve got to get good grades and you’ve got to score well on the entrance examination. And so, the answer to that is, find out what it requires to get in and then figure out if you can do it, and then go for it. But that takes a lot of self- sacrifice to do that.

If you’ve made it into medical school already, you are not going to be encouraged to go into radiology, nor will you get a lot of exposure to radiology. And so, by the time you’re ready to make your decision about what sort of career you would like to pursue, you almost haven’t had very much information about radiology or enough to make the choice. And so, if you think that you’re interested in it”and when you’re in medical school, you’re going to have to be a little bit of a self starter and just go by the radiology department and meet the professors there, and tell them that you’re interested, and ask them to help you decide whether this is the right career for you”and get some exposure. Because in medical school, you do get exposure to primary care, surgery, obstetrics, pediatrics, and some of the other sub-specialties, but very few people get much exposure to radiology before it’s too late to choose it. I think radiology and orthopedic surgery are the two most difficult residencies to get. So the other side of that coin is that if you want to get into the radiology residency, you’re going to have to do well in medical school. And actually, that’s another sacrifice to suck it up and everybody that goes through medical school gets to be a doctor as long as they pass all the courses, but not everybody gets to do what they want to. You have to finish reasonably high in your class in order to be able to get to do radiology.

Two, count the costs. I was married and had a child, and then had another one when I was in medical school. And most people, when they enter into medical school at that stage of life and are married, do not get out of medical school with their marriages intact. So, count the costs. Understand that it’s going to be difficult. Understand that people who are there who are younger than you are going to have a little more energy than you, but that you’re going to be more disciplined than they are, and so that kind of balances things out. But one of the things that my wife and I did when she was completely on board with this decision, was that if, at any point in the process, our marriage was in trouble because of it, that our marriage took priority, and I would¦I would bail on that and do something else. And so, I think if you have a marriage or a family and you do it, then you have to make some real priority choices in your life in order to survive it and get out on the other side.

Otherwise, doing it later in life gives you somewhat of an advantage because a lot of the people who come straight out of college are a little burned out, and they also may or may not be certain that that’s what they want to do. Whereas when I came, I was absolutely certain that that’s what I wanted to do, and I was excited to be there, and enjoyed strangely enough, most people don’t enjoy that much of medical school but I enjoyed most about it because I wanted to learn the things I was learning and I felt very privileged to be able to even be there. I remember looking up from a microscope one time in one of the classes, and looking around and just saying, I can’t even believe I’m here. I’m grateful for this.

How much time off do you get/take?

Well, this year I might not get any. Typically, radiology practices try to have somewhere between ten and twelve weeks of vacation a year, and it’s a little bit like being an air traffic controller. You concentrate so hard for so many hours, even though it doesn’t look like you’re working that hard because you’re sitting in a chair in a dark room, and it’s comfortable, and you can drink coffee and¦The amount of concentration that you’re having to put forth is way more than other people understand. And so, you need some periodic breaks just to let your mind rest and to be fresh. And that’s what people shoot for. And radiologists can do that because they don’t have files worth of patients who are looking to them as their doctor. And if a specific doctor isn’t there then there isn’t the, I’m disappointed or unhappy, because most of the patients don’t know us personally, so as long as one of us is qualified in doing the job, it’s not too much of a problem for us to take time off. There’s some flexibility involved.

Unfortunately, there’s a nationwide shortage of radiologists and, as I said, it’s hard to recruit them here. So, about every four or five years, we’ll go through a period of time where our vacation drops to almost nothing because of the inability to keep adequate staff on hand to manage the vacation time. Because, basically, in our practice, if we’re fully staffed, we have a ten-man practice, and we’re paying people to be off all the time, working eight people and having two people off at all times. So, right now we’ve got eight people with nobody off. This is actually my last day off, I’ve had four days off and this will be the last time I’ll get to do that for a while until we can get somebody else in.

What is a common misconception people have about what you do?

Well, amongst the general public, I don’t think they have much of a clue what we do. They get a bill from us and they don’t even know who we are or what they’re paying for.

A second one is that the public has not recognized, over the last 30 years, how most of the significant diagnostic effort in medicine has shifted from history and physical exam to imaging, and that imaging is now becoming the new physical examination. In fact, in the emergency rooms, when people come in, often they get a CT scan before they even see a doctor. And they want us to tell them what’s wrong with them before they’ve even seen the patient. So, the actual significance and value of what we do, in terms of the decision-making process in medicine, I don’t think is understood very well by the general public. The doctors, of course do, but the public doesn’t.

And the third one is that 50 years ago, radiologists didn’t work very hard and didn’t have nearly as much business. I mean, they did x-rays and fluoroscopy. They didn’t have ultrasound, they didn’t have CT, MRI, they didn’t have interventional radiology and so they just did a few things. Those things could be done during routine working hours, they didn’t even take call for years. And so, the impression in the medical community, among the physicians, is that radiologists have a cushy job and don’t work very hard, and there’s some jealousy because of that. And we also make good money. But the reality is, though, that now, when we’re on call, we probably work harder than any other physicians because the emergency rooms are completely dependent on us, and the other doctors are dependant on us when they get into a crisis with a patient in the middle of the night.

Often, the surgeons, or neurosurgeons, obstetrics, gynecologists, and other doctors, don’t have to come in to see a patient because they can get them scanned, we can tell them what’s going on, and if everything’s okay, they can wait until the next morning to take care of it. Whereas, they used to have to come in all the time and see them. So, the workload, the call requirements, and the stress of being kind of bottom line for a lot of decisions, is far greater than most physicians have any idea of. They still kind of have the 50 year ago paradigm that we don’t work very hard and¦They’re coming around because they’re starting to see. But when you read a (a lot of) CT scans in a night that’s an awful lot of work, with people who are at times potentially going to be paralyzed or die if you say something wrong. It’s an awful lot of work and a lot of stress that people don’t understand.

What are your goals/dreams for the future?

Well, I want to finish well. I’ve got another 12 years or so that I’m going to practice and I want to stay competent and do a good job and take good care of patients. But I also, as much as anything else, want to try to help my younger partners continue to build their practice in a way that they will have as much benefit from it, and be able to continue to benefit our community as much as I feel like I have.

What else would you like people to know about what you do?

In general, medicine is reaching a crisis. The baby boomers are getting old. There’s a bunch more of them that are going to be needing healthcare. Our healthcare system is going to be drained financially and is being drained financially. And the imaging side of that is growing exponentially, and so, the government is going to be looking for ways to limit the amount of imaging that’s done on patients, and in the meantime, they’ve been cutting our reimbursements 10% a year or so. There’s going to reach a tipping point with that, where radiologists¦all the radiologists will say, That’s enough. I’m just¦I’m done, and they’re going to quit. We don’t have enough radiologists as it is. And so, the government is probably going to have to make a choice as to whether or not to allow imaging to be shipped overseas, to be read by people who may not have the same kind of training or credentials and don’t work at the same level that American radiologists do. That’s not across the board. There are excellent radiologists around the world, but not all of them.

And the other is that they may start to use less trained individuals to interpret the imaging procedures. Sort of like instead of going to see a doctor, you go to see a nurse practitioner. They may start using people and saying, Okay, we’re going to allow these people to read the images. I think the American public doesn’t really understand what we do very well, and doesn’t understand the level of care that they’re getting, and that it may be almost invisible to them if that change is made, but it will be a phenomenal change in the quality of care that they are receiving. It may not happen because the doctors who are ordering the procedures will be so uncomfortable about their medical-legal risks. Somebody besides a fully trained, credentialed radiologist is interpreting the exams¦they might not allow it to happen.

But I just fear that the crunch of the increasing numbers of people, the increasing numbers of imaging procedures, and the decreasing amount of reimbursement is going to force things to occur that would be less than beneficial for the patients in the long run. And then, the legal side of it is that if physicians don’t order imaging done and something is wrong, then they get in trouble. I think probably 40% of what I do is doctors ordering these tests in order to cover their rear ends from malpractice suits. So, changing those tort laws so that they’re not so afraid, that if they don’t order these things that they’re going to be sued, and the other is training more radiologists and starting soon, because it obviously takes a long time to get them out. It’s predicted that there’s going to be an absolute shortage of radiologists for at least the next twelve years, and I can’t imagine that it’s not going to last longer than that unless they do something. So, train more of them, and reform the malpractice laws so we’re not doing so many procedures that are unnecessary.


{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

Gloria mattioli February 22, 2016 at 10:02 pm

I am currently in highschool now, I have waned to be a radiologist For a while now. Are there any particular colleges are keen on radiology? Also what are the steps from highschool graduation to being a full time radiologist?


mika safayeva February 11, 2015 at 1:44 pm

Hello! My name is Malika. I’m 17 years old girl. It has been 1,5 years since I came to the U.S.. I was born in Uzbekistan. It’s a small, beautiful country, but the bad thing to live there is most people act like piece of shit ( sorry for being rude or not adequacy , but this is true). Since this is one of the Muslims countries, people are discriminate others. For example, I always wanted to become a doctor, but a lot of people said that my work is to get married and raise children. I was so upset and lost. As other people I graduated from High School and went to college, but I didn’t finish. When i was in college, I was so happy and joyful because I was actually in medical place and I studied new things every day. But, my happiness was shortly, my parents decided me to get marriage. Thanks God after 3 months I moved to United States. Currently I’m senior in High School and I’m so happy to finally achieve my goals here, where no one carries what gender I’m or how old I’m. I’m planning to be a radiologists and thank you for this article, now I’m pretty sure that i want this with all my heart.


Kind Butler May 5, 2014 at 8:13 am

Thanks for the advice. I just turned 64 years old. Do you think it is too late for me to pursue my dream of going to medical school and eventually becoming a radiologist. I am independently wealthy and would like to purchase a few machines and open a practice in Africa.


Julie July 9, 2013 at 9:16 pm

I know this article was written a long time ago, so I’m wondering if anyone still reads these comments – but, I’m 41, I already have a Master’s degree in Education and an MBA. I hate what I do for a living, and I thought years ago about becoming an MD when I decided to transition from teaching into another career, but had my (non-legitimate) reasons for not proceeding. I chose the “most logical” path instead of the one I really wanted to do. I am very visual, artistic, experienced in working with many types of people and with the public, have a background in mathematics, and was a math/science teacher for 10 years. My current career is not my passion at ALL; I am a consultant, and see Radiologists as sort of consultants since they help other MDs (i.e. professionals) do their jobs. That’s the premise of what I do now, in a way (learning & training design).

I would ultimately like to work where I live (the Lake Norman area of NC, north of Charlotte) and would probably do my med school at UNC. I also own a dog who’s now 1, and I worry about how to properly care for her while in school. I still have 3 years that I’d have to “catch up” on my science classes before I even get to med school. Then 4 more years, plus 3-ish for my specialty (don’t they pay you for post-med school residencies?) I’d be 51. That seems insane when the other students would be 20 years younger than I.

At this stage of my life, is it practical to even consider a career in Radiology, or even as a doctor at all?


Julie July 9, 2013 at 9:18 pm

I forgot to mention that my grade averages in grad school for both programs were 3.55 and I finished the MBA in one year. Wondering if that carries any weight.


Ben March 25, 2014 at 11:57 am


I’m only a first year student, but I’ll say this. While it is not technically ever too late to follow your passion for medicine, you might consider other medical paths besides full-blown medical school. You face a lot of challenges, most of which you named – the pre-med requirements, the MCAT, gaining volunteer/clinical experience/letters of rec are all important considerations in the application process. Even after you get in , it is a very long path with little financial or personal pay-off for at least 4yrs + residency. Don’t get me wrong – these are not impossible obstacles to overcome. But you might do well to think about whether your interest in medicine might be fulfilled as well (or almost) as well by the much shorter paths through nursing or PA school. These give you wide career options, more immediate reimbursement, and the medical interaction it sounds like you are looking for.

Just my .02 Best of luck!


medstick March 27, 2014 at 6:38 am

You only live once, Julie! Go for it!

Practically speaking, some admissions committees (for med school as well as residency and fellowship) might pass you by because of your age, whereas others might consider your additional experience as adding to the class diversity. It’s hard to say. Not sure about UNC.

I’m pretty sure grad school grades and even an MBA don’t really matter a whole lot for med school admissions. It’s all about the science GPA, the overall undergrad GPA, and MCAT score, to be honest. Other things may help round you out.

However, for residency and fellowship, an MBA might help indirectly. Of course, it’d be far better if you have publications or some sort of research to show for it (e.g. poster, abstract).

You might not have the energy to be in a surgical program. However, if you’re happy in other fields like family medicine, psychiatry, PMR, or the like, then I think you’ll find you can have a happy career beginning in your 50s. I know of a guy who is in an internal medicine residency at nearly 60 or maybe 60.

There are other non-traditionals in my med school. See also SDN’s non-traditional forum for support. I’m a non-traditional in med school, but still in my 30s.

As they say, you’ll be 50 regardless, why not pursue your dream?


starfall play April 29, 2013 at 1:07 am

Very interesting, I’m planing to study radiologist.


Tom December 9, 2012 at 11:39 pm

Also what if I didn’t make the grades I should have in high school? Is there anyway to make up for that?


Pearl Dlamini September 15, 2015 at 8:39 am

Hi Tom am also 29 finished my matrix in 2004 and I was doing vocational subject am going back to high school for adult and will study subjects I never did before which is science but am so couragours and know I will excell


Tom December 9, 2012 at 11:32 pm

Hello, I’m currently in high school am I am looking at the medical field for a job, and radiology really peeks my interest. And the interventional side of it seems fascinating. I just had a question I was wondering how much interaction do you get with your patients? Also is malpractice insurance higher for an interventional radiologist then a normal radiologist? Thank you, your interview has really helped a lot too.


Neha October 11, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Hello, I’m doing a College project and I have to interview a Radiologist. I was wondering if you could help me anwers couple questions.


Randell September 30, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Im a highschool student and would love to come visit and see what it’s really like , where do i ask ?


Michael June 10, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Also to avoid confusion I hope everyone understands that a Radiologist is not the same as a Radiology Technologist. These jobs are commonly confused. Radiologists must complete college, complete medical school and therefore are doctors, and then complete a Radiology residency.


Michael June 10, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Nice article. I’m a senior radiology resident graduating next Friday. I wanted to write in response to the residents above that wrote about Radiology. While I have others in my residency that share your view, the majority are very glad and feel lucky to be in Radiology..and I am one of those that feel lucky. We are in a extremely interesting field and I can confidently say that 95% of the world’s population would swap jobs with us in a heartbeat. Sure, there are problems with healthcare and the future isn’t as bright for Radiologists as it once was. Sure, we worked hard and spent a decade of our lives in-training on meager salaries while our college classmates have been working real jobs for 10 yrs. We are investing in our education/future and that is the price we pay.

I don’t regret anything about my choice to go into medicine and then subsequently radiology. For everyone else posting about possible future careers in Radiology I encourage you to continue to strive for that goal. You will have to do get great grades in high school to get into a good college. You’ll have to be near the top of your class in college to get into medical school. Medical school acceptance is probably the hardest hurdle to pass. Once in medical school you need to be in the top 20-30% of your class and perform well on Step 1 exam to increase your odds of getting accepted into a Radiology residency program. Once you are in the residency all it takes is reading and 5 yrs of training to complete however its very hard to get kicked out at this point. Again, the hardest step is getting into medical school and the next hardest is getting into a Radiology residency.

Good luck

– Michael


Andrew June 30, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Thanks for the comment. I was wondering if you could expand on two things.

First, why do you say the future for radiologists isn’t as bright as it once was? Can you expand a bit on this thought.

Second, can you expand a bit on the amount of work you do during your residency? One of the radiologists above was talking about working 100 hour weeks. I’m assuming this is a bit abnormal, and due to the debt and family situation he wrote of. Can you elaborate a bit on the amount of work that is required during the long residency?


mary Carter May 9, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Hi, I am in high school, and I am writing a research paper on radiology. To cite this article, I need the name of the radiologist being interviewed. If anyone knows, please tell me!!!


trave45 May 9, 2012 at 5:56 pm

Hi Mary,

This particular interview was done anonymously since they talked about exactly how much money they make and didn’t feel comfortable with disclosing that publicly. Please cite the website itself as your source. If your teacher has any further questions or concerns we would be happy to visit. Have them email us at info@jobshadow.com.


Owner Jobshadow.com


Derek April 30, 2012 at 6:39 pm

I’m 25 and I am going back to college. I have explored the endless possibilities of the medical field. Radiology was the field that stood out the most. It is a very competitive field to get into. My college advisor said that about 300 apply for the licensure program and they only take about 13-15 people, hence a very small window of opportunity. I was considered an average student in high school. My gpa in college is around a 3.0, I know I have to boost that up more if I want a career in this field. Well according to all the schooling you need that means I will be 40 by the time I get in the field. Would that be to old to be considered for the field?


Carson April 13, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Hey, I’m 8th grade and interested in being a radiologist. I’m very studious. My parents really don’t set standards for me and my grades, so I have to set them myself. I am VERY disappointed whenever I receive an A-, but I am always a straight A student. This article was very interesting. I seem to think that in order to actually succeed in a career like this, you must start early. I would like to know, besides doing extensive online research about CT scans, X-rays, MRI’s, and just about the job in general , what can I be doing to help my chances of getting into medical school and passing other milestones in order to becoming a radiologist.


Cody g March 7, 2012 at 4:27 pm

this was so helpful. i was already planning to become a radiologist but this has reinforced my opinions greatly. thank you so much


April March 7, 2012 at 9:06 am

I have been wanting to do this career for a couple of years but I have a 4 year old son, work swing shift 50 hrs/week currently, have a house and vehicles- many responsibilities. I went to school for 4 years and never earned my degree and did not make the grades I should have because I did not know what I wanted to do. Now almost 8 years later-I will be 30 years old this year and it upsets me to think that I can never obtain this career because of all the debt I would accumulate and all the stress…I would never see my son or my husband 🙁 Is it possible to do this when you have already started a life?


trave45 March 7, 2012 at 10:45 am


Hi, thanks for the comment. This particular interviewee isn’t available for follow up comments…But, if you’ll notice in the ‘How did you get started?’ question, this radiologist had a similar story as you. He was 29, had a family and career, and decided to go back to school to become a radiologist. So, it’s absolutely doable, definitely not too late to start. Best of luck to you in your endeavors!

JobShadow Team


Matt February 25, 2012 at 3:50 pm

I’m currently a 4th year Medical Student about to match into Radiology. I couldn’t be more excited about my future right now. It took a lot of hard work but it is worth every bit of it. Here is the path I took. I entered a junior (community) college right out of high school and earned an associates degree in science and one in art. I took as many science courses as the school offered. Next I moved on to a University to finish out my Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. Push yourself hard in undergrad because it makes medical school a lot easier (and you need a high GPA and letters of recommendation to get accepted). So by now I had 4 years of college under my belt and it was time for medical school. 4 more years of school, 2 extremely difficult board exams and many interviews later I am about to match into radiology. Now I have 5 more years of training ahead of me before I am ready to start my career. It is really weird to think I will be almost 30 by the time I finish but it’s all worth it.


Belle Cruz February 25, 2012 at 3:45 pm

This was very interesting to me. I am currently working to get into med school and I’ve always known this is the field I wanted to get into. It will be worth all the hard work. Thank You


Mitzi January 10, 2012 at 9:23 pm

I want to be a radiologist. I am in seventh grade, but still determined. I know about an average of 14 years of schooling and being in debt about $400,000. I plan to take on jobs the minute I turn 16 and now will start saving every penny. I want to use my math and science talents to help others, but don’t want to be put into the spotlight. I have never gotten less than an A in my life and know I must continue this path in order to become a radiologist. Before I read this article I wanted to be a radiologist, againto help others without being in the spotlight. I know about the possibility of my mother going into financial debt, but I won’t let that happen. I know radiologists make from 100,000-600,000 dollars a year. In life management we have recently calculated our average yearly spending rate (without a spuose or children) mine was 50,000 dollars a year. The leftover money (50,000) is going to go to college debt. At this rate it will only take me 8 years or less to pay for my college debt. While I am working as an intern my mom has said it would be acceptable for me to live with her, as to not drive me into debt further. During college free-time instead of going to arties I will be constantly studying, in order to become a radiologist you must be at the top of y our class for everything. By following this plan I will become a radiologist when the world needs them most.


Gaurang Patel January 7, 2012 at 2:10 am

Sir, I am management staff in Shree Santram radiology center, Nadiad, Gujarat, India,
we have no radiologist in our radiology center. Please help me for find a radiologist in Gujarat.


trave45 January 8, 2012 at 4:14 pm


Thanks for your comment. Best of luck in your search for a Radiologist, we don’t offer any services for locating radiologists at this time. However, many aspiring and current radiologists read this interview, they can contact you through your email about the position if interested. Thanks again.



John December 29, 2011 at 4:36 am

I am currently a 4th year radiology resident. I went into medicine as a second career, starting medical school at the age of 31. When I started medical school I was debt free, with a decent amount of savings. 8 years later I have over $300,000 in debt, work over 100 hours a week trying to support my wife and 3 children (who I never see), and am absolutely miserable. I still have 2 1/2 years left in my training and want to quit every single day. However, I am locked in by the massive debt, the years invested in training and schooling, and the lack of other career options with a medical degree. I was lured in by the illusion of what I thought practicing medicine was (opportunity to help people, prestigious, financially rewarding), and not by what practicing medicine truly is (government bureaucracy, long hours, declining reimbursements, poor family life, high stress, etc..). For all of you considering a career in medicine, run. Run while you can. It is not worth it, and is only going to get worse in the coming years.


radres March 9, 2012 at 3:12 am

I’m in my 3rd year of radiology residency (4th year of residency total – we’re expected to do 6 years now btw) also as a second career, and have to ditto the above comments completely. Run while you can.


Cam November 21, 2013 at 9:12 am

4th year Radiology resident in Singapore. Low renumeration. High stress. Near non-existent social life and little family time.



Moe November 18, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Awesome article! I am a 8th Grader and trying to reaseach what types of classes I need to take for next year. What state do you live in? From what I have read… it determines where you live on the payscale.


Yo October 24, 2011 at 10:57 pm

Very interesting article. Hey Jeffrey, LOL at you. (:


jeffrey d October 20, 2011 at 9:12 pm

Im going to be a interventional radiologist. There is one at the hospital that owns a nice lamborghini. He also has a pimpin house


Aubrey-Lea October 19, 2011 at 1:43 am

In high school, my grades werent the best but radiology is something i’ve always been interested in. I’m now taking my first semester at a community college and for some reason reading this has intimidated me a bit. Getting into ked school is a huge concern but the time it will take to complete everything is also a concern as well. Not to mention I dont want to run my parents oe myself into the ground financially. I have no idea what to think or where I sould start at this point and how do I know if this is something that I really want to do? Anyone havw any advice? I’m at a standstill..


Mark September 9, 2011 at 9:55 pm

When was this article written? Without a date of the interview the context totally changes. I have heard the job market is actually not that great in North America currently. (I assume this is a US based article since the place wasn’t specified either). With the economy the way it is the older guys are not leaving like this article suggests they will.

Also the interview didn’t really convey just how difficult radiology training is. The first hurdle is getting into med school which is not easy on its own. The 2nd hurdle is getting on to the program. Which is probably harder than getting into med school. And then the 3rd is actually getting through the residency. There is more reading than most specialties. You are talking 4 years undergrad degree, 4 years med school degree, then 5 years of specializing + 1 or 2 years of fellowship training. So 13 years of training is the shortest conceivable path to getting out there and working as a radiologist. You essentially will go into debt >150k and will just be able to make interest payments while on a resident salary. Its a hard long road…


trave45 January 20, 2012 at 2:34 pm


The interview was conducted in 2008. You are correct, the market is always changing and this should just be a starting point in one’s journey to discover a career they are interested in. Thank you for your insight and added input into the requirements needed to become a radiologist as well!


JobShadow Team


Timothy Ofosu September 4, 2011 at 8:36 am

I’m quite glad i stumbled and read this interview eventhough I wanted to be a radiologist since childhood I’ve been quite apprehensive to follow my dreams for fear of sucking up in future but after reading this interview i feel my childhood dreams flowing back into me and furthermore wish to thank the doctor who granted this interview since it has been very insightful.


ak August 14, 2011 at 7:54 pm

This was a wonderful interview. I am glad i came upon it. As i am 29 just starting college after being a CNA/CMA since i was 16 and being a house wife i decided i wanted to do something different. I want to be a Radiologist. I figured it was a natural step for me since it as two of the best components : taking pictures and being a Doctor. I have to say that after reading this it makes me want to be a Radiologist even more. I cant think anything i would rather be. So thank you for doing this interview


micaela August 10, 2011 at 6:20 pm

This interview was rather eye opening. I am currently a sophomore in high school and have been considering going into radiology as a career. I know that college and medical school can take awhile so I was considering being a Radiological Technichian while going through college. I was looking for more information on radiologists and this interview has helped me to somewhat secure my decision. Luckily we have a medical school not far from me named Eastern Virginia Medical School that when the time comes I can apply to.


jason July 15, 2011 at 12:01 am

Thank you so much! This really helped me understand more of what a radiologist does and just how important and stressfull the job can be. Im extremely interested and hopefully one day can be one myself.


Olivia May 16, 2011 at 2:02 pm

This was very eye opening! As my highschool years are coming to an end (I am a junior) I have been thinking about what to do with the rest of my life. The only concern I have is the time it will take to complete school. By the time I complete thirteen years of schooling, I will be thirty. I don’t know how I am supposed to support myself (and my family?) in the time period of my schooling. Does anyone know how I could do this? Any suggestions are appreciated! (:


dms May 11, 2011 at 11:46 am

i been wanting to do this for 10 years


Debbie April 9, 2011 at 11:47 am

I am currently studying to become a Health Information Technology Engineer specializing in the implementation of Electronic Health Records for medical practices/hospitals/etc. Can you tell me what your thoughts are on EHR? What do you feel are the pros/cons of EHR? How have the changes in HIPAA privacy and security changed the way you do business? Thanks so much in advance for your feedback.


angie January 20, 2011 at 9:44 pm

I am very greatful to the person who conducted this interview and to the radiologist who has given such valuble information and insight of the career.
I am interested in this career and i hope that with this information and more that i gather i will be able to make a firm decision to apply myself to this field.


alejandra June 22, 2010 at 8:50 am

la verdad es que esta entrevista me sirvio mucho. ya que estoy interesada en estudiar esta carrera y tenia muchas dudas a cerca del trabajo de un radiologo. Gracias!!


aj September 23, 2008 at 8:13 am

this is awesome dude!


lexi May 19, 2008 at 5:40 pm

how about the question if you could start over would yu choose tis career again?

i am very interested to recieve and answer


Suzanna Long April 8, 2008 at 6:55 am

Since I was little I have always wanted to become a radiologist. This certian part of the medical field has always interested me. I am prepared for the rest of the schooling I have to do but I am still a little shaky about it. But i cant wait to pursue my dreams.


Undergraduate March 18, 2008 at 1:24 am

Quite so!

I can’t believe there’s a shortage of radiologists in this country. It’s a highly competitive specialty, meaning that a lot of people want to get their hands on it. If that’s so, why are we experiencing this shortage? If more radiology programs were created, then a greater number of radiologists could be trained. I don’t know how difficult that may be though, since the incentives for radiologists lie in the private sector rather than in the academic…

I appreciate that whoever was interviewed mentioned the impending crisis of US health care. I’ll certainly keep my eyes open.

This sounds like a pretty interesting career and I hope I’ll be able to be a part of it, someday.


john pearson March 9, 2008 at 6:40 pm

This was interesting


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