As a radiologist, you’re one of the most important types of doctors because you’re trained to interpret various medical images (e.g., CT scans, MRIs, PET scans, X-rays, etc.) to diagnose and treat diseases, illnesses, and injuries. The nature of the job allows you to work with a variety of patients, as well as a variety of other types of physicians— which means that you’ll be able to find employment in a variety of medical facilities.
As a diagnostic radiologist, you’re the kind of radiologist that determines what type of medical imaging test a patient needs. Because there are many types of imaging tests, working in this subspecialty allows you to work with many types of patients. Examples include:
- X-rays for athletes and other people who may have broken or fractured a bone
- Ultrasounds for pregnant women and people who are having certain symptoms in their organs
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scans for people who may have a brain disorder or heart disease
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans for anyone experiencing an unknown health issue
- Computed tomography (CT) scans for those experiencing muscle and bone issues
With that being said, you’re most likely to find work in diagnostic centers, research centers, hospitals, and outpatient care facilities. You can also find work in physician offices, such as an OB/GYN (obstetrician/gynecologist) office, or a family medicine practice.
If you’re an interventional radiologist, you’re like a surgeon, in the sense that you perform the most minimally invasive type of surgery. Interventional radiologists also work with a variety of people experiencing different health issues, which means that they can also work in a variety of medical locations. However, most interventional radiologists will find employment in hospitals and other inpatient facilities to perform procedures such as:
- Stent placements and angioplasties for patients with a blocked coronary artery
- Embolizations for patients who need to restrict blood flow to a certain area
- Catheter placements for patients before/after a certain surgery web series review
Interventional radiologists can also treat benign and malignant conditions of the abdomen, extremities, pelvis, and thorax. The nature of the job means that it’s not likely that you’ll find employment in physician offices or other types of medical facilities, but it’s not impossible.
Radiation oncologists typically work with cancer patients more than any other type of patient. They use ionizing radiation to target cancer cells and also to treat other conditions. They may also use CT scans, MRIs, and ultrasounds to aid in cancer treatment. They’re one of the most important doctors on a cancer treatment team.
Working in a hospital is most probable when working as a radiation oncologist, but you can also find employment in standalone cancer treatment centers and other similar facilities. You’ll also be working closely with surgeons and other medical oncologists, as well as other types of physicians (e.g., family medicine physicians).
Other Radiology Subspecialties
Diagnostic and interventional radiologists can obtain yet another subspecialty certification in the following listed below, while radiation oncologists can subspecialize in palliative/pain medicine.
More commonly referred to as pediatric radiology, this subspecialty focuses on radiology and children. Because all types of internal medicine focus on adults, there’s always a subspecialty for children since their bodies are vastly different from adults. Pediatric radiologists’ patients can include newborns, older infants, toddlers, children, and adolescents. While some may find employment in pediatricians’ offices, most work in children’s hospitals.
Neuroradiology and Vascular Radiology
Neuroradiologists diagnose and treat disorders that affect the brain, neck, and spine/spinal cord. Diagnostics and interventional surgeries focus on these parts of the body, which include treating degenerative disorders (such as Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia), seizure disorders, and stroke victims. Neuroradiologists are also employed in hospitals.
Palliative/Pain Medicine and Hospice
Palliative and pain medicine is a specialty that helps relieve people of suffering and pain during the end stages of an illness or disease. Pain medicine can also be used for those who aren’t experiencing a terminal illness, but radiologists tend to specialize in palliative and pain medicine for terminally ill patients. Any type of physician specializing in palliative and pain medicine usually works in hospice centers, hospitals, and other inpatient care facilities.
Radiologists can work in a variety of medical settings with many different types of patients and many different types of physicians. It just depends on what you choose to specialize and subspecialize in, although your certification allows you to work in a variety of medical facilities.