Career Advising

Specialty Choice: Radiology


Radiology is a medical specialty in which a variety of radiologic methodologies are used to diagnose and treat diseases. Diagnostic radiology encompasses a variety of diagnostic and image guided therapeutic techniques, including all aspects of radiological diagnosis (nuclear radiology, diagnostic ultrasound, magnetic resonance, computed tomography, interventional procedures, and the use of other forms of radiant energy). Physicians studying diagnostic radiology are primarily hospital based and can specialize in a number of areas, including: vascular interventional; neuroimaging and intervention; abdominal imaging and intervention; nuclear medicine; chest and cardiac imaging; pediatric imaging; and mammography. (Source: AAMC Careers in Medicine)

Associated Societies

Quick Facts

The following information comes from the National Resident Matching Program's Charting Outcomes in the Match 2014 (PDF)  based on matched applicants in the United States.    

Advice for MS1 and MS2 Students

Q: What particular activities should first and second year students get involved with who are interested in pursuing this specialty?

Radiology student interest group, shadowing, and research if you are able.

Q: Are research experiences important in your specialty?

They are not required, but can help strengthen your application and are strongly recommended by some programs.

Q: If so, do these need to be specialty specific research experiences?

Any research experience is better than no research experience!

Q: Does class rank matter?

Yes, 21.8 percent of accepted applicants are in AOA.

Advice for MS3 and MS4 Students

Q: When should I ask for letters of recommendation (LORs)?

Ideally you should ask for letters in May but absolutely no later than July, allowing your letter writers adequate time to upload your letter prior to the ERAS application submission date of Sept. 15. Your personal statement and CV should be ready as well as many letter writers will request this in order to write you a strong letter.

Q: How many LORs do you need?

Minimum of three.

Q: Is a letter from a chair required?


Q: Do all letters need to be written by members of this specialty?


Q: Do any letters need to be written by external institutions?


Q: Does your Step 2 CK score matter?

 Yes, especially if it's substantially higher than your Step 1 score.

Q: What electives would you recommend for someone who is interested in pursuing this specialty?

Any radiology electives.

Q: Should a student interested in this specialty do away rotations?

Yes, do away rotations in the regions of the country where you would like to end up, or at specific institutions where you think you might want to match.

Q: If so, how many “aways” do you recommend and when should they be completed?

 One to three prior to rank list submission.

Q: Which month is recommended to take off to interview?

Most interviews are from mid-October through mid-January with candidates being offered multiple dates to choose from for their interview. It is recommended to take a month or so off between November-January and schedule as many interviews as possible during the month you took off.

Similar Specialties to Consider

Residency Programs

Available Fellowships

Almost everyone in radiology will complete a fellowship after residency.

  • Vascular interventional
  • Neuroimaging and intervention
  • Abdominal imaging and intervention
  • Nuclear medicine
  • Chest and cardiac imaging
  • Pediatric imaging
  • Mammography
  • Musculoskeletal

Looking into the Future/Changes in Health Care

For us in diagnostic imaging there has been a lot of change in a very short time and not all of it has been good… Several key strategic challenges are combining to create a chronic form of future shock in those of us that are experiencing these rapid and at times chaotic changes in United States radiology. Let’s review the individual shocks or challenges individually to better understand how these breaking trends impact our specialty.

(Source: Lexa, 2015)

Additional Information

See the Career Essentials Pilot Page regarding specialty specific advice for more detailed information and resources.


Last edited on 10/04/2016.