Pediatric radiologists perform and analyze diagnostic imaging tests to describe health conditions in patients under age 18. They provide other pediatricians and surgeons with the information they need to accurately treat a range of injuries and illnesses. In most countries, extensive education and practical training are needed to become a pediatric radiologist. An individual usually needs to complete four years of medical school, four years of residency training, and one to two years of a specialty fellowship. With training and certification, a radiologist can choose to work in a children’s hospital, general hospital, specialty clinic, or private practice.
A person who wants to become a pediatric radiologist can enroll in a four-year college or university to prepare for medical school. A student can choose to major in biology, medical technology, or nursing, with a focus on premedical studies. Many undergraduates look for internships or entry-level positions as radiology technicians while pursuing their bachelor’s degrees to gain practical experience in the health care field. Near the end of undergraduate school, a student can take a medical college admissions test and send application materials to accredited medical schools.
Once a person is accepted into a medical school, advisers and mentoring professors can help him or her design a degree plan that will provide the best opportunity to become a pediatric radiologist. In addition to the core classes taken by all future medical doctors, hopeful radiologists have the opportunity to take advanced courses in diagnostic and inter-operative imaging technology. They learn how to administer x-rays, computerized tomography scans, magnetic resonance imaging screens, and many other specialized types of radiologic tests. Students often participate in laboratory classes and rotating hospital internships while earning their degrees to broaden their understanding of the field.
A medical school graduate who wants to become a pediatric radiologist can apply for a radiology residency position at a general hospital. Most residencies last for four years and entail a combination of independent research, lectures, and actual hands-on training. A resident has the chance to work under the supervision and direction of experienced radiologists to perfect his or her skills. Upon the completion of residency training, an individual can take a national exam to earn board certification as a radiologist.
Many doctors begin practicing general radiology after completing their residencies, but a person who wants to become a pediatric radiologist typically needs to enroll in a one- to two-year specialty fellowship. During a fellowship, a radiologist learns about the unique concerns involved with diagnosing and treating adolescents, children, and infants. Certain diagnostic procedures, and the results they produce, are considerably different for young patients than they are for adults. A new doctor learns specialized techniques from established pediatric radiologists. After finishing a fellowship, a radiologist can take an additional certification exam and begin working unsupervised.