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Is Radiography a good career choice?

Hi!
So, I'm at the point where I have to write my personal statement for university and have been interested in Diagnostic Radiography for maybe a month and have decided that it's what I want to pursue.
But my family and my mum's friends are saying that Radiography just isn't a good career because all they do is just operate a machine and it would be better if I just did Medicine. However, I don't want to do medicine but I want to do something more clinical and have a role in helping people, and radiography has really interested me even though I only found out about it like a month ago.
Is Radiography a job worth pursuing? Because with all that the people around me are saying, I don't know anymore :frown:
Original post by Sanji.m
Hi!
So, I'm at the point where I have to write my personal statement for university and have been interested in Diagnostic Radiography for maybe a month and have decided that it's what I want to pursue.
But my family and my mum's friends are saying that Radiography just isn't a good career because all they do is just operate a machine and it would be better if I just did Medicine. However, I don't want to do medicine but I want to do something more clinical and have a role in helping people, and radiography has really interested me even though I only found out about it like a month ago.
Is Radiography a job worth pursuing? Because with all that the people around me are saying, I don't know anymore :frown:


Hi Sanji, first of all, it sounds like your family are more hung up on the idea of the "prestige" that comes from having you studying medicine and are not only not considering your wishes, but also don't really have the first clue about what radiography entails. I doubt they could explain the difference between Compton Effect and Photoelectric Absorption in x-rays, or explain how the Lorentz Force and precession are used in MRI. Radiography is a hard degree, with a high entrance barrier and a high dropout rate. Not as hard as doing medicine, but its not like you rock up and they hand you a degree. Radiography takes 3 years, vs the 7 years of medicine. I've just qualified as a radiographer and I was done in at the end of the 3 years :biggrin: I have no idea how medical students do it for 7.

Career wise, once qualified you can choose to specialise in CT or MRI or sonography (very competitive). If you want to push past band 5/6, you can become a reporting radiographer, go into advanced practise or become a consultant radiographer. Or you could go into research/academia. Lots of different routes you can take.

Two questions

1) Have you done any work experience in a hospital radiology department? If not, try and arrange to do this ASAP as this will give you a better idea of the job role. I got 2 days in my local hospital and I enjoyed CT & MRI but found x-ray was like healthcare McDonalds with the pace that patients came in and out. Which was I chose radiotherapy in the end.

2) Have you considered radiotherapy? Therapeutic Radiographers are the lesser known (but better :wink: ) cousins of diagnostic radiographers, using high energy radiation to treat cancer. If you want to do something clinical that helps people, then radiotherapy is perfect. Unlike diagnostic where they are one and done with their patients, we see ours every day for up to 7 or 8 weeks through their treatment and really get to form a relationship with them. We are also "just button pushers", but that button pushing is <10% of our job. The ten seconds of pressing buttons is preceded by 15 minutes of technical checks, positioning, anatomy.....We support our patients through treatment, giving them advice about side effects, signposting to support services etc.
(edited 10 months ago)
Reply 2
Original post by HellomynameisNev
Hi Sanji, first of all, it sounds like your family are more hung up on the idea of the "prestige" that comes from having you studying medicine and are not only not considering your wishes, but also don't really have the first clue about what radiography entails. I doubt they could explain the difference between Compton Effect and Photoelectric Absorption in x-rays, or explain how the Lorentz Force and precession are used in MRI. Radiography is a hard degree, with a high entrance barrier and a high dropout rate. Not as hard as doing medicine, but its not like you rock up and they hand you a degree. Radiography takes 3 years, vs the 7 years of medicine. I've just qualified as a radiographer and I was done in at the end of the 3 years :biggrin: I have no idea how medical students do it for 7.

Career wise, once qualified you can choose to specialise in CT or MRI or sonography (very competitive). If you want to push past band 5/6, you can become a reporting radiographer, go into advanced practise or become a consultant radiographer. Or you could go into research/academia. Lots of different routes you can take.

Two questions

1) Have you done any work experience in a hospital radiology department? If not, try and arrange to do this ASAP as this will give you a better idea of the job role. I got 2 days in my local hospital and I enjoyed CT & MRI but found x-ray was like healthcare McDonalds with the pace that patients came in and out. Which was I chose radiotherapy in the end.

2) Have you considered radiotherapy? Therapeutic Radiographers are the lesser known (but better :wink: ) cousins of diagnostic radiographers, using high energy radiation to treat cancer. If you want to do something clinical that helps people, then radiotherapy is perfect. Unlike diagnostic where they are one and done with their patients, we see ours every day for up to 7 or 8 weeks through their treatment and really get to form a relationship with them. We are also "just button pushers", but that button pushing is <10% of our job. The ten seconds of pressing buttons is preceded by 15 minutes of technical checks, positioning, anatomy.....We support our patients through treatment, giving them advice about side effects, signposting to support services etc.

Hi, thank you so much for you reply. It was really helpful!
However, I was just wondering how I could get work experience for radiography as I tried to search for a number to call or an email for the radiography/radiology department at my local hospital but I couldn't find anything. I'm also doing volunteering at my local hospital but it's more or less just talking to patients and giving them tea or meals. Do you think that would also be helpful as I did learn a lot from it just not specifically about radiography?
Original post by Sanji.m
Hi, thank you so much for you reply. It was really helpful!
However, I was just wondering how I could get work experience for radiography as I tried to search for a number to call or an email for the radiography/radiology department at my local hospital but I couldn't find anything. I'm also doing volunteering at my local hospital but it's more or less just talking to patients and giving them tea or meals. Do you think that would also be helpful as I did learn a lot from it just not specifically about radiography?

Last year my daughter struggled to get any work experience as a lot of restrictions were still in place following Covid. She applied through the official channels (google your NHS trust's name with 'work experience') but was rejected. Instead she accompanied her dad to an x-ray and talked to the radiographer - within a week she had a day arranged. Talk to staff you meet in the hospital while you are volunteering - they might have contacts with the radiography team who will get you through the door.
Reply 4
Original post by normaw
Last year my daughter struggled to get any work experience as a lot of restrictions were still in place following Covid. She applied through the official channels (google your NHS trust's name with 'work experience') but was rejected. Instead she accompanied her dad to an x-ray and talked to the radiographer - within a week she had a day arranged. Talk to staff you meet in the hospital while you are volunteering - they might have contacts with the radiography team who will get you through the door.

Alright, thank you! Then I will do that the next time I go volunteering :smile:
Original post by Sanji.m
Hi, thank you so much for you reply. It was really helpful!
However, I was just wondering how I could get work experience for radiography as I tried to search for a number to call or an email for the radiography/radiology department at my local hospital but I couldn't find anything. I'm also doing volunteering at my local hospital but it's more or less just talking to patients and giving them tea or meals. Do you think that would also be helpful as I did learn a lot from it just not specifically about radiography?


Volunteering is really good for lots of reasons!

- it looks really good on your personal statement, and on your CV in the future
- it gives you invaluable experience in talking to patients. So many people start a medicine/healthcare degree and are horrified to find out they actually have to talk to their patients! :biggrin:
- as Normaw says, it gives you an "in" for work experience opportunities

It might also be worth contacting your nearest university that offers radiography to see if they have contacts. In fact, my radiotherapy work experience had to be organised through SHU and was much more involved than my radiology one.

Also, keep an eye out on social media for open days in the relevant hospital departments as these are also a great opportunity to talk to staff and try and arrange work experience.

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