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Can a Felon Become a Radiologist?

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Felons may find it challenging to find a job after being released from prison. There are resources available even though felons may not believe they can find a job. Those who have hired felons have learned that they make good employees, but it might be in a different career from one felons had previously.

This blog post will address the issue of whether or not a felon can become a radiologist.

  • What is a Radiologist?
  • What Education/Training Does a Radiologist Need?
  • How Much Does a Radiologist Earn?
  • An Opportunity for Felons?
  • Recommended Action


What Is a Radiologist?

A radiologist is a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disease and injury by using medical imaging technologies, such as MRI and CT scans. A radiologist may also assist in the treatment of diseases such as cancer or heart disease through radiation treatments or image-guided surgery.

Generally, a radiologist:

  • Serves as an imaging consultant to a referring physician
  • Directs radiology technologists to produce quality images
  • Helps determine the appropriate imaging needed for a patient
  • Recommends further exams for a patient
  • Reviews and interprets the images from an exam
  • Provides the physician with a detailed report of the exam

A radiologist uses a variety of imaging techniques, including:

  • X-ray radiography
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Ultrasound
  • Computerized tomography (CT)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Positron emission tomography (PET)
  • Nuclear imaging

A radiologist typically works in a hospital or medical facility where radiation machines are located. A successful radiologist must have many skills, including:

  • Compassion in dealing with patients
  • Communication skills to discuss recommendations with physicians
  • Decision-making skills to decide the correct imaging technique
  • Detail-oriented to follow the complexities of a medical case
  • Problem-solving skills to correctly diagnose a patient

What Education/Training Does a Radiologist Need?

Anyone wanting to become a radiologist must first complete a bachelor’s degree, preferably in a science-related field of study. A candidate must graduate from an accredited medical school, pass a licensing exam, and complete a residency of at least four years of postgraduate medical education. This includes such areas as radiation safety/protection, radiation effects on the human body, and interpretation of radiological and medical imaging exams.

A candidate must also take the United States Medical Licensing Examinations (USMLE), apply to a post-graduate residency program in radiology, and enter a four-year training program. During these four years, the radiology resident will interpret imaging studies, counsel patients on their results, communicate results with other clinicians, and perform image-guided procedures. At the end of training, the residents must take and pass multiple sets of examinations.

Many radiologists also complete a fellowship, which includes one to two additional years of specialized training in a particular sub-specialty of radiology. This could be neuroradiology, musculoskeletal radiology, or interventional radiology. The candidate will learn advanced imaging and techniques within their sub-specialty.

Following the completion of a fellowship, a radiologist is finally able to independently practice. State licensure is mandatory for all practicing physicians, including radiologists. Most employers also require a radiology candidate to hold board certification which requires passage of a two-part examination covering medicine, anatomy, imaging modalities, and physics.

How Much Does a Radiologist Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that there are approximately 29,530 radiologists in the United States. The median annual pay for radiologists was $208,000 in 2021. Earnings increase with experience and vary by location and sub-specialty. Additional variations can be seen between radiologists who work for large hospitals versus private practice radiologists.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for radiologists is strong, with a growth of 9.2% expected between 2021 and 2031, which is higher than average. Radiologists may find their job prospects better than other physicians, due to the needs of an aging U.S. population.

Experience will make a difference in how much a radiologist earns annually. The area of the country in which a radiologist works also makes a difference in their earnings. Those on the East or West coast typically earn more than a radiologist that works elsewhere.

An Opportunity for Felons?

A felon can pursue any degree he or she wants. Approximately 60% of colleges consider criminal history in their admissions process, although there is no standard policy regarding a background check. Any felon that wants to get a degree can find a college that will accept him or her. A felon may have difficulty getting accepted into many medical schools, but there are programs that will accept a felon.

It is important to be honest in filling out an application for a job or when applying for licensing as a radiologist. If a felony isn’t disclosed but is found on a background check, this constitutes fraud and is punishable. It is a crime to falsify an application, which could result in being sent back to prison.

In order to be successful as a radiologist, it is essential for felons to be honest about their background. They are already viewed with the negative perceptions of being dishonest, untrustworthy, and unwilling or unable to follow directions from authority figures.

Having their record expunged can give them the chance needed to begin with a clean record and succeed in becoming a radiologist. Expunging a criminal record allows anyone to honestly state on an application that he or she has not been convicted of a crime.

Recommended Action

It is a big challenge, but it might be worth it for a felon wanting to become a radiologist. Having his or her record expunged and also documenting any training programs or additional education could make the essential difference in a felon succeeding in becoming a radiologist.

Having support from family, friends, or previous employers can make a huge difference. A felon doesn’t have to be defined by his or her crime. We are not defined by our mistakes but by how we recover from them. He or she can begin again and live an honest life no matter how difficult it might seem.

What do you think about this blog post? Have you or someone you know been in the situation of trying to become a radiologist with a felony? What was that like for them, and how did they achieve success? Please tell us in the comments below.

1 thought on “Can a Felon Become a Radiologist?”

  1. I am a student in the Radiology Technology field and I am having a very hard time finding organizations to overlook or consider my record as a “bad event of my past” as it was a result of self defense. My record can’t be expunged, I have tried. It’s the criminal codes that are attached to my record that are their deciding factor I believe. They are called Barrier Crimes and usually include “malicious intent” with them, of which I had none.


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