How To Become A Radiographer In Australia: Explained

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Students want to know how they can become radiographers in Australia.


Do you like science, technology, diagnostics, and dealing with people? Then, becoming a radiographer might be a career for you.


A radiographer executes diagnostic imaging procedures to recognize different types of medical conditions. They employ various technologies, such as X-rays, Computed Tomography, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Positron Emission Tomography, and Ultrasound Scans, to produce medical images for diagnosing a problem.


You must complete an undergraduate bachelor's degree in radiography, medical imaging, or medical radiation science, followed by one year of supervised practice with the Australian Institute of Radiography.


If you like working with innovative and the latest medical technologies, then this blog is for you. It covers all aspects of becoming a radiographer in Australia, including salary, courses, registration requirements, qualifications, and more.



1. Who Is A Radiographer?


Radiographers, also called Medical Imaging Technologists, are allied health professionals who work with cutting-edge technologies and advanced digital technical equipment to take superior-quality X-rays and other detailed medical images to diagnose, supervise, and treat diseases and injuries in a person.


These medical images form the basis for doctors to make informed treatment strategies and supervise a patient's progress.



2. How Is A Radiographer Different From A Radiologist?


Both radiographers and radiologists play a vital role in an imaging scan's scanning, analysis, and interpretation. They both work closely to complete the entire process of imaging in private medical centres, private and public hospitals, specialist clinics, etc.


You must know the difference between these occupations to make a career in radiography. So, below is the difference between a radiographer and a radiologist to help you make an informed decision.



Type of Work


Radiographers are also called medical imaging technologists. They are health professionals who do the X-Rays scans and take other medical images to help doctors diagnose injuries and ailments.


Radiologists, on the other hand, are specialized medical doctors trained to understand X-Rays scans and outcomes of various medical imaging tests and prepare a final radiology report.


Thus, the main job of a Radiographer is to create diagnostic imaging and provide the results to medical professionals for interpretation. However, a Radiologist is a highly trained and specialized professional who performs both imaging and image interpretation.



Methodology Used


Radiographers are skilled in applying therapeutic or diagnostic radiation to identify and treat an injury or illness. 


Where the former uses high-energy and intense energy beams such as X-rays and other forms of radiation to identify and treat a disease, the latter implements non-invasive imaging scans to precisely diagnose a patient.


Talking Radiologists, these physicians are trained to use various imaging technologies. They can undertake further training to specialize in diagnostic, radiation, and interventional oncology areas.



Career Pathway


Radiographers must complete an undergraduate bachelor's degree or advanced diploma in medical radiation or medical imaging, followed by a supervised practice program.


Becoming a Radiologist requires you to become a doctor by completing a Bachelor of Medicine degree and undergoing at least two years of medical experience in a public hospital.


Lastly, complete a 5-year training program with the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists.



3. Duties of a Radiographer


Before you proceed to get qualified, you must first learn about the daily tasks and duties that you must perform as a radiographer.


  • Take instructions from doctors and medical practitioners on what information is required from an X-ray or other imaging procedures.

  • Decide on the most appropriate equipment (X-Ray, Computed Tomography, etc.) and the right equipment settings to obtain superior-quality diagnostic images for the best interpretation. 

  • Explain to patients about the medical imaging process and solves their queries related to procedures.

  • Prepare, position, and operate medical imaging equipment and screens to create perfect images. 

  • Position the patient properly for the tests to obtain the best image possible

  • Keep the patient at ease during the process. 

  • Monitor radiation processes and ensure safe radiation levels throughout the process.

  • Develop the film, process the digital images, and store the films properly.

  • Record the test findings and choose the best images for further interpretation by radiologists and medical professionals.

  • Perform follow-up imaging tasks to evaluate the progress of the treatment

  • Assess the screen to decide whether the images are proper for diagnosis. 

  • Offer personalized support, emotional support, and medical attention to patients.

  • Fill out inspection reports and documentation as needed.

  • Adhere to health guidelines and radiation safety regulations while performing the tasks.



4. Skills To Become A Radiographer In Australia


To become and succeed as a Radiographer, you must have the following skills:


  • A Deep Interest in Science and Technology

  • Compassionate and Understanding

  • Strong interpersonal skills

  • Attention to detail

  • Competency in developing and evaluating X-ray films 

  • Skilled in the proper and safe placement of patients and equipment 

  • Proficient in discussing medical procedures with patients and putting them at ease 

  • Interested in working for the welfare and care of patients

  • An in-depth understanding of the body's structure

  • A commitment to 'problem-based learning 

  • Like staying up to date with industry knowledge and developments 

  • Able to work in compliance with set regulations and standards for radiographers in Australia

  • Like to research and investigate

  • Good decision-making and problem-solving abilities

  • Team working skills

  • Able to develop good relationships

  • People skills/interpersonal skills

  • Administrative and managerial skills

  • Good at speaking the English language

  • Active listening skills



5. Qualifications For Radiographers in Australia


You must fulfil the following educational qualifications to become a qualified Radiographer in Australia.




6. Steps To Become A Radiographer In Australia


A career in Radiography is challenging, varied, and full of growth opportunities. If you like the work profile and want to pursue this profession, the following steps will help you seek an entry-level role.



Step 1: Get Qualified


Suppose you are a high school student seeking entry into this profession. In that case, you must find an accredited university where you can complete an undergraduate radiography course. 


Some of the good options are:


  • Bachelor of Applied Science (Medical Radiation Sciences)

  • Bachelor of Applied Science (Medical Imaging Technology)

  • Bachelor of Radiography and Medical Imaging


On the other hand, if you are a graduate who wants to become a radiographer, you should check the university entry requirements and pre-requisite subjects. This is important to know if you can apply for a post-graduate radiography qualification. Some of the good options are:


  • Master of Medical Imaging Science 

  • Master of Radiation Therapy

  • Master of Medical Ultrasound

  • Master of Diagnostic Radiography



Step 2: Get Supervised Work Experience


Medical imaging graduates will have to undertake one year of supervised training in an Australian Institute of Radiography (AIR) administered clinical radiology department.



Step 3: Complete Other Checks


In addition to the above educational requirements, there are a few more requirements that you must fulfil to work as a radiographer in Australia. These are:


  • Working With Children Checks

  • Clean Criminal Record

  • Two-Dose Covid-19 Vaccination Certificate



Step 4: Get Registered


To legally work in Australia, qualified graduates must register with the Medical Radiation Practice Board of Australia (MRPBA) and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). It is necessary to obtain a Radiation Use License to work in their preferred area of employment in Australia.


Following are the National Professional bodies dedicated to Radiography:




7. Relevant Certifications For Radiographers In Australia


Based on your chosen career pathway, you must complete any of the tertiary qualifications to land a role in this profession.


A Bachelor's degree in Radiography is a 3 to 4 years course that equips students with the latest knowledge in medical radiation science, radiography, digital vascular imaging, MRI, and CT.


The University of Sydney is among NSW's best places to take radiography courses. The classes are conducted in various clinical and industrial environments to provide a real-world learning experience to students.


Along with the technical knowledge, students will become proficient in other critical areas of practice, such as communication, professionalism, and healthcare legal and ethical aspects. 


This degree course paves the path for further learning and gaining specialized knowledge by completing post-graduate degrees.



Bachelor of Applied Science (Medical Radiation Technology)


At present, you can study this degree course at the following accredited Australian universities:


  • University of Sydney

  • RMIT University

  • University of South Australia

  • Curtin University


  • Charles Sturt University

  • University of Tasmania

  • Newcastle



Bachelor of Applied Science (Medical Imaging Technology)


  • CQU University

  • Charles Sturt University


  • Monash University

  • Deakin University



Bachelor of Radiography and Medical Imaging


  • Monash University



Master of Medical Imaging Science


  • University of Canberra
  • The University of Sydney



Master of Radiation Therapy


  • RMIT University

  • Monash University

  • Charles Stuart University



Master of Medical Ultrasound


  • Monash University

  • CQU University

  • The University of Melbourne



Master of Diagnostic Radiography 


  • The University of Sydney



8. How To Apply As Overseas Qualified Applicants In Australia?


Unregistered Medical radiation practitioners in Australia must fill out the AGOS-91 application form to apply for registration as medical radiation practitioners in Australia.


Overseas qualified applicants with existing registration in New Zealand can apply for registration under Commonwealth Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997. 


Those who need to register in New Zealand must fulfil the qualification requirements for other overseas applicants.


To work as a medical radiation practitioner in Australia, you must register with the Medical Radiation Practice Board of Australia and apply for a visa issued by the Australian Immigration Department. 


By meeting these qualification requirements, you can work as a diagnostic radiographer, nuclear medicine technologist, or radiation therapist in Australia.


Check the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs website for more about visa applications.



9. How Much Does A Radiographer Earn In Australia?


Based on the past three month's data, the average radiographer's salary in Australia has been in the range of $70k and $100k. 


According to PayScale, the average hourly and weekly radiographer pay is AU$36.00 and $2,354, respectively.



Based on Experience


  • An entry-level Radiographer salary (< 1-year experience): AU$30.64 

  • An early career Radiographer salary (between 1 to 4 years of experience): AU$34.53 

  • A mid-career Radiographer salary (5 to 9 years of experience): AU$40.60 

  • An experienced radiographer's salary (10 to 19 years of experience): AU$45.75



Based on Location


  • Radiographer salary in Perth, Western Australia: AU$40.89 per hour

  • Radiographer salary QLD: AU$39.32 per hour

  • Radiographer salary in Melbourne, Victoria: AU$35.47 per hour

  • Radiographer salary in Adelaide, South Australia: AU$34.86 per hour 

  • Radiographer salary in Canberra, ACT: AU$34.50 per hour

  • Radiographer salary NSW: AU$34.01 per hour



10. Work Conditions For Radiographers in Australia



Nature of Employment


Around 71% of employed radiography professionals work full-time compared to an average of 66% in all other occupations. 


This data indicates favourable work opportunities for full-time job aspirants.



Work Hours


Full-time radiographers work for a standard work duration of 41 hours per week. Radiographers generally work in shifts in a multitude of work environments.





Radiographers are highly skilled individuals who are integral to a diagnostic health team. 


They work in association with Interventional Radiologists, Diagnostic Radiologists, and other Medical Practitioners in a variety of clinical settings, such as:


  • Radiology departments in medical treatment centres and hospitals

  • Diagnostic laboratories

  • Dedicated research institutes

  • In sales roles in equipment manufacturing firms


A few qualified diagnostic radiographers work as self-employed professionals by running their private practices in regional, rural, and metropolitan centres.



Tools and Technologies


Radiographers operate various cutting-edge technology-based equipment to produce X-rays and other medical images for diagnostic purposes. 


These include Ultrasound Scanners, MRI scanners, CT, Mobile X-ray machinery, Nuclear Medicine Imaging, and Positron Emission Tomography.





Around 67% of the total workforce comprises females compared to the industry's average of 48%. 


This shows that the profession offers good opportunities for aspiring female radiographers.





The average age of the employed workforce in the radiography sector is 36 years which is low compared to the industry's average of 40 years.



11. Career Opportunities For Radiographers In Australia


A career in Radiography offers variety in work and plenty of scope for progression. Qualified professionals usually work in Social Assistance and Health Care industries in several regions of Australia in the fields of:


  • Computed tomography (CT)

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

  • General radiography

  • Digital vascular imaging

  • General ultrasound (U/S)


Qualified Radiographers can explore the following work opportunities to advance in their professional journey:




Areas of Specialization


Radiographers can gain additional expertise in the following fields:


  • Mobile radiography

  • Magnetic resonance imaging or Three-Dimensional imagery

  • Angiography

  • Trauma radiography

  • Computed Tomography or Three-Dimensional X-ray imaging test

  • Fluoroscopy

  • Operating theatre



12. Job Prospects For Radiographers In Australia


The regular use of Medical Imaging Diagnosis tools in healthcare centres, and increasing technological developments in the medical field, show a promising future for radiographers throughout Australia and worldwide.


The national employment website "Job Outlook" projects a "Very Strong" future growth for Radiographers in Australia.


Furthermore, a career in medical imaging is also a good option for aspirants who seek permanent residency or long-term work visas in Australia. 


Undertaking post-graduation qualifications and joining professional bodies are good ways for qualified professionals to keep learning and advancing on this career path.



13. Conclusion


Becoming a radiographer is perfect for those who want to bring a real difference in a healthcare setting. 


With plenty of work opportunities to explore, this exciting profession gives you the freedom to work from any place in the world. 


So, what are you waiting for? Get qualified and follow the above steps to launch your dream career today.


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