If you want a challenging career with opportunities for growth, the opportunity to work anywhere in the world, then radiography could be for you. It’s often shift work, no two days are the same, and you’ll never be bored. This career would suit people who enjoy science, but also are excellent dealing with people.

What does a radiographer do?

A radiographer performs diagnostic imaging procedures. These images are then used to identify a range of medical conditions. There’s a huge variety of technology, from x-rays to CT (computed tomography), MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), PET (positron emission tomography), SPECT and ultrasound scans.

They do not give result or interpret the imaging. They position the patient for the procedure, operate the machinery, and produce the images needed for specialists to diagnose the problem.

Radiography now and in the future

Medical imaging is a diagnostic tool used regularly in hospitals, diagnostic labs and medical treatment centres. It’s in demand now, with a 12% increase in the need for radiographers predicted between 2016 and 2026. With the rise of other medical technology developments, the future looks different.

Molecular imaging and theragnostics (a mix of diagnostics and therapeutics) is where many in the industry see radiography heading. It’s already a skilled role, with a need for complex images that provide the maximum information for specialists to interpret. Molecular imaging opens the door to high resolution, accurate, and highly detailed images down to a molecular level; an exciting space for radiography moving into the future.

Career opportunities for radiographers

Employment prospects for radiographers are good, both in Australia and around the world. In Australia, the job is listed on the medium and long term skills list, making it an excellent career choice for people wanting a permanent move.

Roles themselves are varied, and you can choose to specialise in a type of imaging, or a specific group of patients. For instance, you could focus on mammography, CT scan, or nuclear medicine.

Or, you could choose to work with stroke victims, children, or cardiovascular patients.

There are also various management roles available, which can be great once you reach a certain level in your career and skill base.

Radiography could be a possible pathway to permanent residency

Alongside this, there is demand for these roles in Australia. As a pathway to a long term visa or permanent residency, medical imaging is a good choice. You can also continue to learn and develop skills through the professional bodies you’ll join and other educational options post-graduation.

Radiography salary expectations

Salaries vary depending on where you work and the area of speciality. A junior, entry-level general radiographer position will start at AU$55,000. A more specialized CT radiographer can expect a salary between AU$70,000 and $90,000 a year. A senior radiographer can expect a salary of up to AU$110,000.

Areas like Perth, Newcastle and the Gold Coast have higher salaries, likely due to skill shortages in the area.

Types of radiography courses in Australia

There are specialized courses, with options to specialise in post-graduate degrees. Radiography does not require a medical degree, making this a great step into the medical field without needing seven to ten years of tertiary education. A three or four year undergraduate Bachelor of Medical Radiation Science degree requires you to have at least a year 12 or equivalent qualification.

A two year graduate degree requires completion of a Bachelor’s degree in medical imaging or another health science discipline.

Choose from the likes of:

  • Master of Medical Ultrasound
  • Master of Radiation Therapy
  • Master of Diagnostic Radiography
  • Master of Medical Imaging Science

Each course has minimum English standard requirements and some academic requirements. These are different from one provider to the next, so check out the specifics on their websites.

Once you are qualified, you need a minimum of one year’s clinical experience before being able to work independently as a fully qualified radiographer (SPP, Supervised Practice Programme). All medical imaging technologists must undertake a professional development year after they graduate, working with an accredited clinical radiology department. You can then apply for membership to the Australian Institute of Radiography, and for a Radiation Use Licence and Registration.

Top ranking universities to study radiography at in Australia

The University of Sydney: Ranked the 13th best university in the world by QS, the education you’ll get here is steeped in history; the hallowed halls of the University of Sydney have a rich and prestigious history. They offer a range of undergrad and post grad courses in radiography.

Monash University: In the amazing city of Melbourne, Monash has some of the best courses in radiography. They offer outstanding research options too, earning them the ranking of 14th best University in the world.

Deakin University: Well known for their medical imagine coursework, this institution is ranked 29th in the world in general.

Queensland University of Technology (QUT): At 36th in the world, QUT offers great teaching and excellent outcomes for their medical imaging courses.

The University of Newcastle: In New South Wales, this university gives you a great lifestyle as well as an excellent education. 38th in the world, there are a number of medical imaging courses offered.

I want to study radiography in Australia. What do I do next?

ACEM can help you take the next steps. We can advise you on what study you need to do, if any, to become eligible for courses. We can help you choose your education provider, and even assist you with your visa application. We also know about scholarships, English language requirements and future PR likelihood. Get in touch to discuss your future career in radiography.

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