- Use equipment to diagnose or treat patients who are ill or injured
- You'll need analytical and observational skills & ability in science
- You could become a sonography specialist or radiography team leader
Your day-to-day duties will depend on if you're a diagnostic radiographer, or a therapeutic radiographer.
As a diagnostic radiographer, you'll:
- Produce and interpret high quality images of the body to identify and diagnose injury and disease
- Screen for abnormalities
- Take part in surgical procedures like biopsies (examining tissues to find the cause of disease)
As a therapeutic radiographer, you'll:
- Plan and give treatment
- Use x-rays and other radioactive sources
- Work closely with medical specialists to plan treatment of malignant tumours or tissue defects
- Assess and monitor patients through treatment and follow-up
- You'll work in a team with clinical oncologists, physicists and radiology nurses
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.
This role would be ideal for someone with 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, and IT skills to use computerised equipment.
You'll need to do an approved degree or postgraduate qualification, which allows you to register with the Health and Care Professions Council. You'll need registration to work.
Before you apply for a course, you'll need to think about whether you want to work in diagnostic radiography or therapeutic radiography. Visiting a radiography department at your local hospital may help you decide.
If you're a health professional or a graduate with a relevant first degree, you may be able to take a fast-track postgraduate qualification over 2 years.
You can also start as a radiography assistant and work your way up to assistant practitioner. At this level, your employer may give you the opportunity to work and study part time for a degree and a professional qualification to become a radiographer.
You may also be able to do a diagnostic or therapeutic radiographer degree apprenticeship.
You'll need to pass enhanced background checks, as you may be working with children and vulnerable adults.
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 or research and teaching.