Therapeutic radiographers are responsible for planning and delivering a course of radiation treatment. They treat tumours and destroy diseased tissue, whilst minimising the amount of radiation exposure to healthy tissue.
You could be:
- working with other medical specialists to produce a treatment plan
- planning and giving prescribed doses of radiation treatment so that the tumour gets the maximum dose and the surrounding tissue as little as possible
- treating the same patient usually more than once
- talking to a patient to explain what is happening and to encourage or calm them
- carrying out patient reviews and follow up appointments
- recording detailed information on treatment and progress.
Within the NHS Agenda for Change scales radiographers' salaries are on Band 5, £24,670 to £30,742 a year. With experience this can rise to Band 6, £30,401 to £38,046 a year. Advanced radiographers salaries are on Band 7, £37,570 to £44,688 a year. The current pay scales are from April 2019.
- Work would be mainly in a specialist department in a hospital.
- You may do diagnostic work with mobile equipment, in other parts of a hospital or in the community.
- You would wear a uniform.
- For some work, you would wear clothing which protects you against radiation and you would carry equipment to measure radiation.
- It can be a physically demanding job, with moving and lifting patients and equipment.
Workforce Employment Status
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- You need a degree in therapeutic radiography or radiotherapy and oncology.
- In Scotland both Glasgow Caledonian and Queen Margaret University offer approved courses.
- Entry requirements are usually 4 good Highers including English and science subjects. Some courses ask for Physics and Maths at National 5. Check with individual institutions for full details and for widening access entry.
- If you already have a science- or health-related degree you can apply for the 2-year postgraduate diploma (PgDip) course (which can lead to an MSc course) in Radiotherapy and Oncology at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.
- You should try and visit a radiotherapy department before applying for a course. This gives you a valuable insight into the job.
- You will require a satisfactory criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details on the type you would need.
- When you complete your course you apply to gain UK state registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). You need this to work in the National Health Service (NHS).
The majority of radiographers work in the NHS, but also work in private clinics, in industry or in the armed forces.
Workforce Education Levels (UK)
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Job Outlook Scotland
Job Outlook Scotland and UK
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What Does it Take?
You should be:
- confident in operating complex equipment and aware of safety procedures
- able to get on well with people from all backgrounds and of all ages
- caring, supportive and able to calm patients
- able to explain procedures clearly
- interested in biology, anatomy and physiology
- accurate and precise
- willing to accept responsibility and make decisions
- adaptable to learn new skills.
- Once you have gained state registration, training is on the job.
- You would be expected to keep up to date with new technologies by completing Continuing Professional Development (CPD).
- You can join the Society and College of Radiographers (SCoR) as a student. They provide courses, conferences and seminars where you can swap ideas with colleagues and update skills.
- Some diagnostic radiographers work with specific groups of patients or treat patients of all ages with a particular type of cancer.
- You could specialise in a particular type of treatment such as leading a breast treatment service as a consultant radiographer with independent prescribing rights.
- You might move into a senior post or into management.
- You might work in research or teaching.
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
Tel: 0300 500 4472
The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) is the UK-wide regulatory body responsible for setting and maintaining standards of professional training, performance and conduct in the following health care professions: Arts Therapists; Audiologist; Biomedical Scientist; Chiropodist and Podiatrist; Clinical Scientist; Dietician; Dramatherapist; Occupational Therapist; Operating Department Practitioner; Orthoptist; Paramedic; Physiotherapist; Practitioner Psychologist; Prosthetist and Orthotist; Radiographer; Speech and Language Therapist. (The HCPC may regulate other healthcare professions in the future.) The HCPC website contains a register of all approved courses in the above professions.
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