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Medical diagnostic radiographer

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Summary of occupation

Medical diagnostic radiographers operate x-ray and other imaging equipment to assist in the diagnosis and subsequent management of disease or injury.

Medical diagnostic radiographers receive referrals from medical practitioners and carryout appropriate examinations on patients. Results are interpreted and returned to medical practitioners for patient follow-up.

There are approximately 1000 medical diagnostic radiographers in Western Australia with numbers in both metropolitan and major regional areas.

ANZSCO description: Operates X-ray and other medical imaging equipment to produce images for medical diagnostic purposes in conjunction with Diagnostic and Interventional Radiologists or other Medical Practitioners. Registration or licensing is required.
Alternative names: Diagnostic Radiographer, Medical Imaging Technologist, Radiographer
Specialisations: Magnetic Resonance Technologist, Sonographer
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A medical diagnostic radiographer needs:

  • a scientific and technological background
  • to be accurate and have an eye for detail
  • to calculate details of procedures including radiation exposure
  • to explain procedures to patients and address their concerns
  • to correctly position patients and equipment as well as consider their safety
  • to develop and check x-ray films
  • compassion and strong interpersonal skills
  • to be genuinely interested in patient welfare.
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Working conditions

Most medical diagnostic radiographers are employed in public and private hospitals. Areas of work include the radiology department, patients' besides (mobile x-ray) or the operating theatre.

Medical diagnostic radiographers work as part of a team with other health professionals including medical and nursing staff. Work hours may include weekend or shift work as well as some on-call responsibilities.

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Salary details

On average, medical diagnostic radiographers, classified under medical imaging professionals, can earn between $1 500 and $1 999 per week ($78 000 and $103 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a medical diagnostic radiographer develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.  

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Tools and technologies

In addition to x-ray equipment, medical diagnostic radiographers operate special equipment including:

  • fluoroscopy equipment - shows a moving image of the part being examined;
  • angiography equipment - images blood vessels; and
  • computed tomography (CT) equipment - provides cross-sectional images of the body

Advances in technology ensure new and expanding techniques are regularly seen in this field.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a medical diagnostic radiographer, you need to study medical imaging science at university.

Curtin University offers a four year Bachelor of Science (Medical Imaging Science). Contact the university for more information.

Graduates must be registered with the Medical Radiation Practice Board of Australia to practise in any state or territory in Australia.

In Western Australia, you must obtain a licence to operate radiation equipment from the Radiological Council. Contact the Council for more information.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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