CHOOSING A CAREER / OCT. 06, 2014
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How to Become a Radiographer

Physician and technician in x-ray
istock

Does your “dream career” revolve around combining technology with direct contact with other people? If so, you could be perfectly suited for a career as a radiographer.

What do Radiographers do?

Radiographers work with high-tech equipment that uses radiation to diagnose and treat patients. Doctors who specialise in radiography also known as Radiologists make decisions whether to pursue the diagnostic uses of radiation or the therapeutic uses, and that determines daily activities:

  • Diagnostic radiographers:

o   Produce hiqh-quality images of the body and interpret the results

o   Screen for abnormalities

o   Assist in diagnostic surgical procedures, such as biopsies

  • Therapeutic radiographers:

o   Work with doctors to plan and deliver treatments using x-rays and other sources of radiation

o   Monitor the treatment’s success and progress

Where and when do Radiographers work?

  • Most radiographers work about 37 hours per week, which could include evening and weekend shifts.
  • Some radiographers work in hospital radiology departments, emergency rooms, outpatient clinics, etc.
  • Others work in radiotherapy or oncology clinics.
  • Radiographers frequently work with doctors and other members of the patient’s medical team.
  • Most radiographers wear a uniform and/or protective equipment.
  • The job can be physically and emotionally draining.

Salary

 

Low end

Mid-range

High end

Consultants

Salary

£21,388 – 27,901

£34,500

£40,500

£68,000

What skills do Radiographers need?

  • Interest in and aptitude for science
  • Attention to detail
  • Excellent decision-making skills
  • Interest in keeping up with new developments
  • Ability to work both alone and as part of a team
  • Excellent people skills
  • A caring attitude
  • The ability to make a connection with patients (some of whom would be very ill)
  • Physical fitness
  • Emotional resilience

Qualifications Required

  • To train as a radiographer, you’ll need:
  • At least five GCSEs (A-C), including maths, English and, ideally, a science Three A levels, including biology or physics.
  • Some programs may accept other qualifications, such as an Access to Higher Education or Diploma in Health and Social Care, or a Diploma in Applied Science.
  • Available degrees include:
    • BSc Diagnostic Radiography
    • BSc Therapeutic Radiography
    • BSc Diagnostic Imaging
    • BSc Radiotherapy and Oncology
    • BSc Radiotherapy
  • Once you’ve been accepted into a radiography program, you’ll take part in both classroom learning and hands-on clinical training. Most courses take between three years (for part-time study) and four to five years (for full-time study).
  • It’s also possible to accept a job as a radiography assistant and work your way up to assistant practitioner. Your employer may then encourage you work part-time while studying for your degree in radiography.
  • Once you’re qualified as a radiographer, you can register with the Health and Care Professions Council. You’ll need to renew your registration at regular intervals, which will involve taking continued professional development courses.

What is the career path?

  • As you gain experience, you could pursue graduate training in one of these specialty areas:

o   Ultrasound

o   Computed tomography (CT scanning)

o   Magnetic resonance imaging

o   Research

o   Mammography

o   Palliative care and counseling

  • You could also move into management, supervising a team of radiographers or heading up a radiography department.

What is the job outlook?

The job market is growing: an additional 113,000 radiographers are expected to be working in the field by 2020.

If you’ve been looking for a way to combine your love of technology with your passion for helping others, a career as a radiographer could be just what you’re looking for.

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