Career questions for a radiologist.

Questions Answered by Dr. James Schmutz, MD, Neuroradiologist

Neuro1How many years of school does it take to become a Radiologist after high school? Undergraduate college degree 4 years + medical school 4 years + 1 year internship + 4 years radiology residency (+ optional fellowship in a subspecialty 1-2 years) = 13 years (or 14-15 years with a subspecialty).

What other high school courses should I take besides anatomy and chemistry? Biology, physiology/anatomy, physics, chemistry, music and the Arts (learn to think creatively), English and Speech (learn to communicate well), Political Science (learn how politics work–medicine has politics local and national), and any course that allows you to think critically and express your views articulately.

What kind of patients do you help and usually see? Patients with cancer, patients with strokes, patients with pain, patients with infections, patients with organ failure (heart, liver, kidneys, etc.), patients with bleeding in different areas of the body, patients with traumatic injuries, and patients with cosmetic concerns (varicose veins).

Is it a very stressful job to be in for your whole life? It can be, especially during difficult surgical procedures or during a busy call shift. But it is always interesting and rewarding. You can adjust your work load when you need to as time goes on.

How good do you have to be at reading and writing? Reading and writing skills are needed. It is all about communication: speaking, LISTENING, writing, and reading. LISTENING is a powerful tool to master.

Do you have to have good analyzation skills? Analytic skills are essential to be able to think through the findings of an exam (MRI, CT, ultrasound, X-ray, nuclear medicine, angiograms, etc.) and come to a conclusion about what is going on in THE PERSON (NOT what is going on in the images), AND what to do about it, how to help, if anything can be done.


MRI’s use very powerful electromagnets. Most magnets cannot be turned off. They are called permanent magnets. Magnets that can be turned on and off are called ELECTROMAGNETS. They run on electricity and are only magnetic when the electricity is flowing. The electricity flowing through the wire arranges the molecules in the nail so that they are attracted to certain metals.

Materials: An iron nail at least 3 inches long, 3 feet of thin coated copper wire, D battery, paper clips, tapeNeuro3

  1. Leave about 8 inches of wire loose at one end and wrap most of the rest of the wire around the nail. Try not to overlap the wires.
  2. Cut the wire (if needed) so that there is about another 8 inches loose at the other end too.
  3. Remove about an inch of the plastic coating from both ends of the wire and attach the one wire to one end of a battery and the other wire to the other end of the battery. Tape the wires to the battery – be careful though; the wire could get very hot!
  4. Now you have an ELECTROMAGNET! Put the point of the nail near a few paper clips and it should pick them up!


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