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Radiographer Medical radiographer

Radiographers use equipment to diagnose or treat patients who are ill or injured.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £21,000 to £68,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You can work in diagnostic radiography or therapeutic radiography. You'll need a degree in diagnostic or therapeutic radiography, approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

If you're a health professional or a graduate with a relevant first degree, you could take a fast-track pre-registration postgraduate diploma or Masters qualification in radiography.

You could also start as a radiography assistant and work your way up to assistant practitioner. You can then work and study part time for a degree and a professional qualification as a radiographer.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • analytical and observational skills
  • ability in science, particularly biology, anatomy, physiology and physics
  • the ability to communicate appropriately with patients who may be very ill
  • IT skills to use computerised equipment

3. What you'll do

As a diagnostic radiographer, your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • producing and interpreting high quality images of the body to identify and diagnose injury and disease
  • screening for abnormalities
  • taking part in surgical procedures like biopsies (examining tissues to find the cause of disease)

As a therapeutic radiographer, your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • planning and giving treatment using x-rays and other radioactive sources
  • working closely with medical specialists to plan treatment of malignant tumours or tissue defects
  • assessing and monitoring patients through treatment and follow-up

You'll work in a team with clinical oncologists, physicists and radiology nurses.

4. Salary

Starter: £21,000 to £28,000

Experienced: £35,000 to £41,000

Highly Experienced: up to £68,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll usually work around 37 hours a week, which may include shifts and evenings, weekends and public holidays. The work can be physically and emotionally demanding.

Diagnostic radiographers work in hospitals, including:

  • outpatient clinics
  • accident and emergency wards
  • operating theatres

Therapeutic radiographers work in a radiotherapy or oncology centre.

You'll usually wear a uniform and, if you work in diagnostic radiography, protective clothing.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a sonography specialist, radiography team leader or consultant practitioner.

You could also take further qualifications to specialise in:

  • counselling and palliative care
  • the use of certain techniques or equipment
  • working with specific groups of patients
  • research and teaching

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Last updated: 11 April 2017