How do I become a radiologist in the UK?

18 September 2022  •  Locum
How do I become a radiologist in the UK?

Working as a locum in the UK is an excellent option for radiologists who are looking to work and travel (or relocate permanently!), with many areas across the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand looking for qualified radiologists on short and long-term contracts. Whether you're already trained, or you're considering qualifying to find jobs through top health recruitment firms, Globe Locums can help. In this guide, we answer the question, how do I become a radiologist in the UK?

How do I become a radiologist in the UK?

To become a radiologist in the UK, you need to complete comprehensive medical training before furthering your skills and specialist insight through role-specific education. Like any medical professional, a strong understanding of medicine in general and radiology, in particular, is essential to qualify for radiology positions in the UK and elsewhere. The steps you could take to become a radiologist include:

1. Obtain a degree in medicine

Completing a medical degree is a standard requirement to work as a radiologist in the UK. Choosing a programme fully accredited by the General Medical Council (GMC) helps ensure you have the knowledge and expertise to continue further training. On average, a medical degree takes around five to six years to complete, with an option for an accelerated programme if you have existing relevant qualifications.

2. Continue onto foundation training

Once you have achieved a medical degree, you can register with the GMC and apply for two-year foundation training. This training programme covers on-the-job clinical experience for junior doctors, with various rotations to different departments and specialisations. After completing foundational training, you can register as a physician before continuing on to specialist radiology training.

3. Complete radiology training

Radiologists complete up to five years of expert training to learn how to work in this field. The first three years of these programmes cover the fundamentals of radiology, with an option to specialise and move into a particular niche for the final two years. During this time, you'll gain experience in the processes and practices used within radiology to apply to your career.

4. Pass the FRCR exam

The final step to becoming a radiologist is passing the exam required by The Royal College of Radiologists (FRCR). You are qualified to work as a clinical radiologist in the UK on achieving certification from this exam. You can then apply for positions as a fully qualified radiologist in permanent roles or as a UK locum professional.

Qualifications for radiologists

To become a radiologist in the UK, you'll need to hold relevant qualifications. These certifications and degrees are standard requirements for finding a role. Ensuring you have the following helps you find a position as a radiologist:

  • A medical degree
  • Completion of a two-year foundation programme
  • Completion of speciality radiology training
  • A Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) from the FRCR

What if I'm already qualified abroad?

If you're qualified as a radiologist abroad, you may be able to find an NHS job through healthcare recruitment agencies. Whether or not you'll need to undergo further training depends on where you gained your qualifications, with residents within the EU, Lichtenstein, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland having different requirements from those from other countries.

If you're already a qualified radiologist in your home country, here's what you need to do to become a radiologist in the UK:

Within the EEA

If you are a qualified, practising radiologist in the EEA, you won't need to demonstrate your skills and knowledge if you choose to work in the UK. EU qualifications are equivalent to UK qualifications for radiology, thanks to similar requirements and levels of expertise. If you plan to work in the UK as a medical professional, you'll also need to register with the GMC. You'll also need to ensure you have a suitable visa in place.

Outside the EEA

If you are a qualified radiologist outside of the EEA, UK requirements make it necessary for you to demonstrate your level of knowledge and skill to practice safely. You'll also need to apply for a visa alongside ensuring you have evidence of your knowledge and skills. Your requirements include:

  • Providing evidence of knowledge and skills equivalent to PLAB or FRCR
  • Having a Skilled Worker Visa in place
  • Completing registration with the GMC
  • A certificate of good standing if you're currently working

If you choose to continue working in the UK in the long term, you can look into gaining British citizenship within six years.

English Language Testing

Regardless of the country you originate from, you'll need to complete English Language Testing to work in the UK. All international radiologists undergo testing to ensure high competence in the language, allowing you to communicate effectively with patients. You'll need to pass either of these tests to find a job as a radiologist in the UK:

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Occupational English Test (OET)

How to find radiology jobs once qualified

If you're qualified to work as a radiologist in the UK, the next step is finding a job. Deciding whether you want a permanent role or would prefer to move around more in temporary positions is an excellent first step. For instance, you may work in locum positions to gain experience in different hospitals. As a qualified radiologist, you could also choose to work abroad in a country like Australia or New Zealand, or consider working in Ireland.

At Globe Locums, we support radiologists in finding the ideal positions across the country. If you're looking for an NHS job or are considering working privately, we can pair you with the perfect position. Get in touch with us today to discuss the vacancies we have available and find out more about what we do. If you have more questions like 'how do I become a radiologist in the UK?', we're more than happy to answer them.

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