Train to be a radiographer

Radiographers analyse the anatomy of patients using imaging technology such as x-rays. They are a vital part of modern medicine and produce images that are used by doctors to diagnose injuries and diseases. For example, if you fell while playing football and went to the hospital to see if it was broken, a radiographer would be the person who takes an x-ray of your leg. Most radiographers work in hospitals and, due to shortages in qualified radiographers, their job security is good. Radiography is essentially split into two types, diagnostic and therapeutic.

Diagnostic radiographer
As the name suggests, diagnostic radiographers use imaging technology to diagnose problems in the human body. They may use x-ray, MRI scans, CT scans as well as ultrasound. Many health problems will start off by being initially diagnosed by a scan or x-ray before any treatment is initiated by a doctor. Radiographers have to be very precise and have an excellent knowledge of the human body as any mistakes could result in a miss diagnosis.

Therapeutic radiographer
People with cancer may get treatment with drugs, surgery or precise targeted doses of radiation. Sometimes a combination of these methods is required. A therapeutic radiographer is required to emit controlled amounts of radiation to patients to help kill the cancer cells. A radiographer may reduce the tumour sufficiently so that it can then be removed by surgery.

Training and skills
Anyone wishing to be a radiographer should have a keen interest in science with a focus on biology as it requires you to study the human body in depth. You will also need a degree in radiography from a university which will also equip you with the practical skills needed to perform the job.
Academic achievements aside, you should also be a person who enjoys working in a caring environment. Good communication skills are vital as you are working in a professional team where your patient’s health is paramount.

Salary and career prospects
The salary for a radiographer largely depends on whether you’re working in the public or private sector. New graduates can expect to start on around £18,000 in the UK or $30,000 in the US with salaries rising quickly with experience. After a number of years service some radiographers move into management positions within the hospital. The long term prospects for radiographers are good too with an increasing number of old aged people in society and a shortage of those in training.

So if you’re looking for a job in a caring profession that uses your scientific skills to help people perhaps you should consider becoming a radiographer.

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