There are two types of a radiographer. A Diagnostic Radiographer using x-rays and other forms of imaging equipment such as ultrasound machines in order to diagnose injuries and illnesses. A Therapeutic Radiographer manages, cares and supports patients undergoing radiotherapy. Generally found in hospitals, but also in private clinics, radiographers also interpret the images and formulate treatment plans. There are different routes into Radiography jobs.
To become a radiographer, you need to complete an undergraduate degree approved by the Health & Care Professions Council or accredited by the Society of & College of Radiographers. There are over a dozen universities in the UK that offer Radiography courses. On successful completion of your course you would be able to apply for membership of both bodies – a way to show ‘clear evidence of skills and competence’. Course requirements are mimimum of 5 GCSEs Grade B and above, including maths & a science, and A levels with at least one in a science subject. Salford University summarises what is looked for in a candidate: “We are looking for students with an interest in science and technology. You will have good communication skills and a caring nature”. An important component of any course in radiography is clinical placement, which may take up to half the course.
Newly qualified radiographers in the NHS start around £22,000, rising up to £35k over time. Experienced radiographer salaries go up to £41k, and as a consultant radiographer the salary would be around £68,000.
The Assistant Practitioner is an alternate career route for aspiring radiographers. Assistants support radiographers in their day-to-day duties. Salaries range from £16.5 to around £22k. The same Society of Radiographers provides accreditation. There are no set entry requirement for Assistant Radiographer but again, a keen interest in science with matching GCSEs will help; you will also have to have completed a college course in health & social case along with work experience in healthcare.
Government recently announced a multi-million pound fund bringing universities and employers together to create thousands of degree-level apprenticeships. Radiography will be one that will benefit, offering a stepping stone in to a career in radiography through an apprenticeship.
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