Radiologists provide a higher level of specialty care, making them what is known as a tertiary care provider— whereas a secondary care provider specializes in a specific area of the body, and a primary care provider provides general care. On average, a radiologist has gone through four years of undergrad, four years in medical school, four years in residency, plus an additional one to two years of specialized training. Because they can spend up to 14 years or more in school, they are considered to be medical experts— and highly qualified to be able to work in a variety of medical settings. Here’s a look at six places where you can be employed as a radiologist.
#1: Diagnostic Centers
Diagnostic centers and laboratories are often found in hospitals and other medical settings, but stand-alone centers exist as well. Diagnostic radiologists are more likely to work in this type of setting, as they use different imaging techniques to diagnose and assess a patient’s condition. Some examples include:
- Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- Computed Tomography (CT) scans
Many radiologists are employed in diagnostic centers, whether they’re stand-alone facilities or a part of a hospital or physician’s office.
Interventional radiologists can work in surgical hospitals if they are qualified to perform minimally invasive procedures. This includes procedures such as:
- Vascular closure devices
- Uterine fibroid embolization
- Thyroid fine needle aspiration
- Selective internal radiation therapy
- Radiofrequency ablation
- Pleural aspiration
- Joint injection
- Image-guided cervical nerve root sleeve corticosteroid injection
- Carpal tunnel ultrasound and injection
- Angioplasty and stent insertion
Radiologists who aren’t certified in interventional and invasive procedures can still be employed in general medical hospitals, particularly if they are performing diagnostic procedures.
#3: Outpatient Care Facilities
Outpatient care doesn’t require an overnight stay, and many radiologists provide quick medical treatments that allow their patients to return home on the same day. Some interventional radiologists may also be employed in outpatient centers since some of the procedures listed above don’t require a hospital stay. More and more primary care physicians are suggesting interventional radiology procedures that don’t require a hospital stay over a standard surgical procedure— which is good news for interventional radiologists. In some cases, these procedures are more effective and less expensive as well.
#4: Palliative Care and Hospice
Radiation oncologists— those who oversee treatment plans for cancer patients— may specialize in palliative care or hospice care and work in these types of care settings, or work closely with other care providers in these settings. However, those specializing in cancer treatment were more often found in hospitals and other medical facilities, particularly if they were using high-energy radiation therapy to treat cancer patients.
Some radiation oncologists may specialize in pain medicine and work in both inpatient and outpatient care facilities. Pain medicine treatments are provided for those with acute, chronic, and/or cancer-related pains. Some may even be able to provide mental health support if they have that qualification.
#5: Physicians’ Offices
Some physician offices, though they’re considered primary care, employ radiologists rather than referring their patients to one outside of their network. Keep in mind that these radiologists are often radiologic technicians and only perform diagnostic tests. Because they only perform one or more of these imaging tests mentioned earlier, they may refer patients to a radiologist at a more advanced center. As a radiologic technician, you’ll work closely with other radiologists, as well as nurses and other physicians.
Obstetrics and gynecology offices also regularly employ radiologists— specifically ultrasound technicians. OB-GYN offices also use radiologists to perform mammograms as well.
#6: Research Centers
Radiologists who want to focus more on research and develop new techniques will want to look for work in research centers, or even quaternary care facilities that focus on experimental medicine and medical procedures. As a physician in any specialty, you’ll never stop learning— but working in research will ensure that you’re continually learning. Research centers receive government funding and many other organizations, so you’ll have all the resources you need for your research.
Because radiologists and other types of medical professionals are in high demand, job shortages aren’t a problem. California, Texas, and Florida typically employ the most radiologists, but it’s possible to find a job as a radiologist in all 50 U.S. states. Combine these statistics with the many different medical facilities that employ radiologists, you’ll be able to find a job in your specialty (if you have one) in no time.