The career path of a radiographer
By Dan Allard
As the majority of radiography jobs in the UK are based within the NHS, a diagnostic or therapeutic radiography career path is relatively straight-forward. We map out the four-tier career structure which is advocated by the Society of Radiography.
Assisted practitioners are unqualified and cannot call themselves a radiographer, however they will provide support and assistance to qualified practitioners. These types of support roles are an ideal starting point for those interested in becoming a radiographer, offering valuable work experience.
Band 5 and Band 6 - Radiographer practitioner
Newly qualified practitioners will start their NHS careers at Band 5, regardless of whether they are diagnostic or therapeutic radiographers, and will be given extensive supervision and support. They will likely be working in rotational posts, gaining experience across a variety of settings.
As you gain experience you may start to specialise in niche areas. Some practices (such as CT or MRI procedures) may involve undertaking specific in-house training to improve your knowledge, whilst other specialisms, such as ultrasound or mammography, could require postgraduate training. Band 6 radiography jobs are likely to include elements of supervision and managerial tasks, as staff will be expected to aid the supervision and progression of junior colleagues.
Other areas for progression at this stage of your career include branching off into fields such as practice educator roles, lecturing or research.
Band 7 - Advanced practitioner
Those who have moved into advanced practitioner or senior radiographer roles will be expected to contribute to idea generation and develop services effectively. As well as maintaining individual caseloads, you may also find that you regularly work with other departments. Those in managerial roles or team leadership positions will be responsible for driving service delivery.
At this level of your career you may find more academic positions open up; roles such as research fellows or senior lecturers are ideally suited for advanced practitioners. The Society of Radiographers is working hard to improve the capabilities of the profession and are aspiring to ensure that those working within these roles are educated to master’s level.
Band 8b - Consultant practitioner radiographer
“Consultant practitioner radiographers increase responsibility in their job roles, respectively, to a point where the four core domains of consultant work are pivotal to their roles:
1)Expert clinical practice; 2) professional leadership and consultancy; 3) education, training & development, practice & service development; 4) research & evaluation” - Society of Radiographers
Consultant practitioners are responsible for both clinical and managerial tasks. You may be educated to a Professional Doctorate/PhD level and have extensive clinical experience showing your capabilities within the field of radiography. As well as leading on audits, training, and governance you will be expected to facilitate continual professional development for each radiographer working within your department.
The advantages of locum radiography jobs
When used strategically, some may find that locum radiography jobs can give greater opportunities to advance their careers in positions that work towards their strengths and interests, as well as providing more opportunities to increase your earning potential.
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