Radiographers use lots of ways and equipment to either diagnose disease and injury or treat cancer.
Video: - Mark: Diagnostic Radiographer
There are two types of Radiographer: Diagnostic and Therapeutic.
Diagnostic Radiographers produce high quality images of the body to diagnose and keep track of disease and injury.
You use a range of complex and often computerised equipment, choosing different types of technology depending on the patient and type of investigation. You can help to diagnose a very wide range of problems, from a broken wrist to cancer.
Techniques include X-rays to look at bones and objects through tissues, magnetic resonance imaging to build 2D and 3D maps of body tissues, ultrasound, and computed tomography to create 3D images.
Therapeutic Radiographers work with Doctors, Medical Physicists and other healthcare professionals, treating patients with cancer.
You use complex equipment to deliver high-energy X-rays and other types of radiation to treat the cancerous tumour.
You must be very exact about the size and location of the tumour, and the dose needed, so you can aim the treatment at the tumour and avoid damage to surrounding healthy tissues.
Therapeutic Radiographers can be involved in all aspects of the treatment, including planning, discussing treatment with the patient, and assessing how well the patient is responding to the therapy.
Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.
Personal Qualities and Skills
To become a Radiographer, you'll need:
- teamwork skills, and the ability to relate well to other health professionals, such as Doctors
- communication skills to get on well with patients of all ages and backgrounds, and also their families or carers
- a caring, responsible and supportive attitude
- the ability to reassure anxious patients
- to be calm, methodical, accurate and attentive to detail
- an interest and ability in science, especially anatomy and physiology
- confidence to work with sophisticated technology
Pay and Opportunities
NHS employees are paid on a rising scale within defined pay bands, according to their skills and responsibilities. The pay rates given below are approximate.
- Starting - Band 5: £24,214 - £30,112
Hours of work
Radiographers usually work 37 hours a week. For Diagnostic Radiographers, this often includes shifts on a rota basis, including evenings and weekends.
Where could I work?
Employers include the NHS and private healthcare companies. The armed forces employ some Diagnostic Radiographers, and there are opportunities for Radiographers to work in education, as University Lecturers, and in industry, in training, sales or research.
Opportunities for Radiographers occur in towns and cities throughout the UK.
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, on the NHS Jobs website and on job boards.
Entry Routes and Training
Entry routes and training
To be a Radiographer, you usually need to take a degree in radiography (diagnostic or therapeutic). This will enable you to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), an essential requirement for working as a Radiographer.
You would spend a significant part of the course in hospital radiography/radiotherapy departments, getting to work with patients and qualified Radiographers as quickly as possible.
It's also possible to achieve registration through a postgraduate qualification.
You can find a list of course providers on the website of the Society of Radiographers and the HCPC.
A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article '
Cardiff and Bangor are the only two bursary funded courses remaining. If you would like any more information, contact Cardiff University for more details.
The Welsh Government funds the education and training for a range of health professional education courses, (details of the specific courses can be found at: http://www.nwssp.wales.nhs.uk/undergraduate-education). To be eligible for a bursary you must commit to working in Wales following completion of your programme.
More information about the NHS Wales Bursary Scheme can be accessed on the Student awards Services website: http://www.nwssp.wales.nhs.uk/course-starts-on-or-after-1-september-20
Previous experience/qualification within a hospital or caring environment will be useful for this career.
Once in employment, you could specialise in a particular area of Radiography. For example, Diagnostic Radiographers might specialise in ultrasound, CT scanning or breast screening. Therapeutic Radiographers might specialise in planning or delivering treatment.
You could progress into management roles or become a Consultant Radiographer. There are also opportunities in teaching and research.
Rehabilitation of Offenders Act
This career is an exception to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This means that you must supply information to an employer about any spent or unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings, if they ask you to.
This is different from other careers, where you only have to reveal information on unspent convictions if you are asked to.
To enter a degree course in diagnostic or therapeutic radiography, the usual minimum requirement is:
- 2/3 A levels, including at least one science subject
- GCSEs at grades A*- C or 9 - 4 in your A level subjects
- a further 2/3 GCSEs at grade C/4 and above, including English and maths
Equivalent qualifications, such as a BTEC level 3 qualification and the International Baccalaureate Diploma, might be acceptable for entry.
However, course requirements vary, so please check college/university websites very carefully.
Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.
It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.
Part-time degree courses are available at Birmingham City University (both in Radiotherapy and Diagnostic Radiography).
People who are already working in support-level posts, for example, as assistant practitioners, can take a part-time, in-service degree course at London South Bank University (Diagnostic Radiography).
If you don't have the qualifications that are usually needed to enter a degree in therapeutic or diagnostic radiography, you might be able to start one after completing a college or university Access course, such as Access to Science. You don't usually need any qualifications to start an Access course, but you should check individual course details.
- 15% of radiographers work part-time.
Professional institutions have the following roles:
- To support their members.
- To protect the public by keeping standards high in their professions.
The Society of Radiographers is the professional institution for radiography in the UK.
NHS Wales Careers
Publisher: National Leadership and Innovation Agency for Healthcare
Step into the NHS
Tel: 0345 6060655
Skills for Health
Skills for the health sector
Address: Goldsmiths House, Broad Plain, Bristol BS2 0JP
Tel: 0117 9221155
University of Ulster
Tel: 028 7012 3456
Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
Address: Park House, 184 Kennington Park Road, London SE11 4BU
Tel: 0845 3006184
NHS Education for Scotland (NES)
Address: Westport 102, West Port, Edinburgh EH3 9DN
Tel: 0131 6563200
NHS Business Services Authority
Society of Radiographers
Address: 207 Providence Square, Mill Street, London SE1 2EW
Tel: 020 7740 7200
Irish Institute of Radiography and Radiation Therapy (IIRRT)
Address: 28 Millbrook Court, Kilmainham, Dublin 8
Tel: 0871 313795
People Exchange Cymru (PEC)
Public sector recruitment portal for Wales
Cardiff University - Diagnostic Radiography
School of Healthcare Sciences
Tel: 02920 687540