Between radiology vs anesthesiology, which should you choose?
This is a common dilemma among aspiring medical students. And it arises because medicine is a such broad field of specialty. We know some of the factors that inform this question. And depending on your circumstances, you wonder which one will meet your preferences.
Factors like work-life balance, better pay, schooling, and career outlook are some of the things on your mind.
Well, Radiology and Anesthesiology are both unique in their own ways. Read this article to learn more about careers in anesthesiology and radiology and much more.
But first, let’s start with a clear definition of Radiology and Anesthesiology.
Radiology Vs Anesthesiology Definition.
Anesthesiology is a specialized field of medicine. According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists, this is “the practice of medicine dedicated to the relief of pain and total care of surgical patients before, during, and after surgery.
The service of these medical professionals is needed before, during, and after surgery. They prescribe drugs for patients during surgical procedures such as cesarean sections, breast biopsies, and the like. These drugs which they give patients to prevent and stop pain during these medical procedures are called anesthetics.
Radiology, on the other hand, is a medical specialty that uses imaging techniques such as X-rays, ultrasound, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to diagnose and interpret a medical condition.
Radiology vs Anesthesiology is the unsung support system for surgery. Specialists in this field hardly have their own patients or enough time to relate with them. Consequently, it may seem like a thankless job. But here are some powerful reasons to consider a career in radiology and anesthesiology.
Reasons to Become an Anesthesiologist;
There are many reasons to choose a career in anesthesiology. After you are done with anesthesiology education, you will discover that the job is much more than putting patients to sleep. It is nothing close to being a dull, sleepy job!
If you become an anesthesia specialist, you are more likely to enjoy a balance between your job and other obligations. You can simply head home after your shift. In fact, when an anesthesiologist is off, he/she is truly off duty.
This is quite unlike the job of a surgeon which lacks such flexibility. There are also other options for an anesthesia specialist depending on your work environment. You could even choose to work in an outpatient surgical center.
Other doctors have to check symptoms and make a diagnosis but an anesthesia specialist hardly does so. In fact, in a desperate situation, they have to make really quick decisions. What would matter to you is to prepare the patient for a procedure, and help him recover.
Long Career in Anesthesia
As an Anesthesiologist, you will practice nearly all your life. Some practice for as long as 70 years.
In the United States, anesthesiologists are among the highest-paid doctors.
Hospitals and surgical centers need an anesthesiologist in all surgical procedures. That is to say, as an anesthesiologist, you are more likely to find a job soon after graduation.
Diversity in practice
If you become an Anesthesia specialist, you will meet diverse cases and attend to them. From cancer care, dental, maternity services to pediatrics, even research – the list is endless. Unless you decide to specialize, your job as part of a medical team will take you to various departments. And as an added benefit, your work methods and knowledge of different medical cases will be enriched.
5. Flexible Hours
If you are a part-time employee or contract anesthesiologist, you can choose the hours, days, and times you work.
4. Less responsibility for patients
Flexible hours will allow you to attend to other hobbies, family time, and vacations. This career choice is also beneficial for those who are new or expectant moms. Another colleague can easily take a shift on your behalf because anesthesiologists have similar skills.
6. Exposure to advanced technology
As you see, Anesthesiology is a dynamic field. It gives you the opportunity to experience new advances and discoveries in the medical field. Consequently, your job becomes improved and enjoyable. If you are keen on becoming an anesthesia specialist, you may also join an anesthesia medical group. This setup allows you to provide anesthesia consultation and pain management services to surgery centers, hospitals, and even physicians’ offices.
Why Become a Radiologist;
You may wonder why you should spend more than a decade on building a career in radiology vs anesthesiology. We have addressed the reasons why a career in anesthesiology is worth the hours of study.
Now, if you love the field of radiology, see why you might want to invest in a radiologist education:
A radiologist’s salary will certainly compensate you for the high cost of tuition. The pay for radiologists is higher than the average and with additional certification, you can easily boost your base salary.
Another crucial point to consider is the job growth in radiology. The demand for radiology technicians is steady with current medical needs.
Easy to Find a Job
The job outlook for radiologists is positive, and boosting your skills in this field will improve your profile.
Problem-solving for clinicians
Working as a radiologist provides very useful support for other physicians. As a result, you become part of very meaningful work for doctors and humanity.
Use of Advanced Technology and Devices
The radiology domain benefits greatly from research and advances in technology. As it stands, there is no stopping soon. In other words, you stand to utilize groundbreaking equipment in science and technology.
With a high demand in radiology, you can offer your services beyond the clinic. So there are many opportunities to receive additional pay for your job. Several online health applications are great avenues to offer services in radiology.
Radiology vs Anesthesiology Schooling
At the start of a medical degree, Radiology vs anesthesiology like other medical specializations has a similar educational background. The switch begins at the point of specialization. Take a look at the step by step guide below:
- Study and pass the MCAT.
- Graduate from medical school.
- Take and pass the USMLE and other exams
- Complete a residency program.
- Become state licensed.
- Get board certified.
1. Get a bachelor’s degree
You must first obtain a bachelor’s degree if you want to become an anesthesiologist. In addition, you must perform very well in undergraduate school. The American Medical Association, states that students with a GPA between 3.5 to 4.0 stand a higher chance of admission into medical school. Importantly, your undergraduate degree should be in the sciences. Degrees like biology, psychology, and the like are preferable.
2. Prepare for the MCAT
During your undergraduate program, you will begin to study for your Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). This test is an important requirement for medical school and you must perform very well in it.
The MCAT is an 8-hour, computer-based examination that tests different areas – Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems, Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills (CARS), Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems, Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behavior.
3. Graduate from Medical School
Over four years, you will be properly trained in the foundational areas of medicine. After this training, you will be ready for a residency and career in anesthesiology.
Learn more about what you need to get into medical school.
4. Take and Pass the USMLE
While in medical school, you should typically begin to prepare to take the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). This is a requirement by all states to obtain your medical licensure. You can take the first two parts while still in medical school but must complete the remaining part of the USMLE after obtaining your M.D. degree.
5. Complete a Residency Program
After your medical school program, you will then spend another four years completing a medical residency program. In the first year of the residency, there will be rotations based in the hospital while the last three years will be focused on anesthesia training.
Here you can choose from a number of subspecialties to participate in when completing your residency program. The following are some subspecialties in anesthesia:
- pain management
- Cardiac Anesthesia
- Pediatric Anesthesia
- Neuro Anesthesia
- Critical care medicine
- Obstetric Anesthesia
- Palliative and hospice medicine
6. Become State-licensed
Once you have completed your residency program, they can then apply to become licensed in the state where you will practice. The State medical board is responsible for issuing the license.
7. Get Board certified
While this is up to you, many anesthesiologists choose to become board certified. Consequently, you will improve your chances of employment. The American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) and the American Board of Anesthesiology offers board certification(ABA) after the examination.
Nearly all medical specialties require the same steps. The differences only come to the fore at the point of specialization. At this point, you are to make a decision between the big question – of anesthesiology vs radiology.
Therefore, for Radiology education, you will need to:
Enroll in college and take courses needed for admission into Medical school
Medical college admissions recommend getting at least a B or higher as a course grade in order to be a competitive applicant. Also, volunteering, shadowing physicians, and research can give you an edge over other applicants.
Take and achieve a high score in your MCAT to attend an Allopathic or Osteopathic Medical school.
You will spend the first half of Medical school learning the foundations of medicine. Subsequently, the second half will find you in the hospital learning the hands-on aspects of clinical medicine. During this time medical students rotate through clerkships in
- Internal Medicine
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
Throughout medical school, you will have to pass multiple board examinations, USMLE STEP for MD students, and COMLEX for DO students.
During the last year of Medical school, you will apply and interview with different residencies in radiology. After all these, the computer algorithm system will match you into a residency training position. At this point, Lastly, get ready to start your residency.
At the time of graduation, you would be an officially licensed physician but you would not practice on your own. You will spend this transactional year in an internship. Furthermore, Hospitals, clinics, and emergency rooms will serve as a training ground. And you can finally complete your final USMLE or COMLEX test.
After your transitional year, you will then spend the next four years learning about Radiology. You will create treatment plans for treatment, and interpret Medical imaging, ultrasound, and other radiologic tests. Depending on your state, you will receive payment for this residency position.
As with Anesthesiology, you can take the optional route and get your professional license. Although becoming board certified in Radiology is not mandatory for professional licensure, it is a valuable addition that shows expertise in the field. That is to say, almost all employers require board certification for employment.
There are certain ways to award certifications in diagnostic radiology. For instance, you must pass two examinations which take different durations.
You can visit The American Board of Radiology for more information. Optionally, you can pursue a fellowship in a subspecialty of radiology. Some radiology subspecialties include:
- Breast imaging
- Cardiovascular Radiology
- Chest Radiology
- Genitourinary Radiology
- Head and Neck Radiology
- Musculoskeletal Radiology
- Radiation Oncology
- Emergency Radiology
- Gastrointestinal Radiology (GI) radiology
Radiology vs Anesthesiology Continuing Medical Education
Your education won’t stop after becoming a professional radiologist or Anesthesiologist. Just like any other doctor in the United States, both career paths must earn continuing medical education to remain in good standing.
Careers in Anesthesia
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists
- Anesthesia Technician
- Certified Anesthesia Technician.
- Certified Anesthesia Technologist
Careers in Radiology
- Radiology Technologist
- Radiology Technician
- Medical Sonographer/ Technician Diagnosis
- MRI Technician
- CT Scan Technologist
- Radiology Technologist
- Radiology Technician
- Medical Sonographer/ Technician Diagnosis
- MRI Technician
- CT Scan Technologist
Radiologist vs Anesthesiologist Salary
According to PayScale, radiologists earned a median annual salary of $313,805 in 2021. The range is generally between $360,690 and $479,890
According to USNEWS.COM, Anesthesiologists earn a median salary of 208,000 followed closely by surgeons. Earnings also depend on the state or sector.
Anesthesiologists offer a reasonable lifestyle. Although it exposes you to highly stressful situations, there are some perks like good pay, and vacation time, that comes with it. If you have a typical anesthesia job, you attend to one patient at a time.
You are off when you are off. Medscape Lifestyle and Happiness reports that anesthesiologists are pretty happy. 85% say they would choose the same specialty again. In fact, it is often listed as one of the lifestyle professions with dermatology and radiology. Although some anesthesiologists say this is an exaggerated tag but it is clear – you can’t beat being an anesthesiologist!
Career Prospects for Radiologists
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of jobs for radiologists will expectedly grow by 3% from 2020-to 2030. Moreover, employment prospects are bright for specialists such as radiologists who work with the aging population.
Anesthesiologist Job Outlook
Anesthesiologist employment will expectedly rise in a positive direction. The speed may be quite moderate but this field of medicine is definitely bright and promising.
Remember, that your career choice can affect your happiness. Generally, a career in any medical field can make you big bucks. However, whatever you decide to do in the end should reflect your innermost desires. External factors are important but not as important as your passion and personal fulfillment.
If you love the theater room, then anesthesiology seems a good fit. In a similar vein, if the dim radiology room appeals to you, then go for it. In the end, you would be a great help to physicians and humanity. And that is all that matters.
FAQs on Radiology vs Anesthesiology
What is Anesthesia billing?
Anesthesia service is calculated by adding the base units assigned to the anesthesia code with the time units. Time starts counting when the anesthesia provider begins to prepare the patient for anesthesia and ends at “anesthesia care transfer”
Is there a demand for anesthesiologist?
Demand for anesthesiologists is moderate. It is expected to grow 10 – 20 % over the next decade. Additionally, you might find better prospects in rural communities.
How competitive is anesthesiology residency
Anesthesiology is not the most competitive residency although it has become really competitive in recent times. But with a STEP 1 score of 200, the chance of matching is 68%