Being a radiographer in Australia

September 9, 2016


Radiographers use X-Rays, ultrasounds, CT scans and MRIs to produce high-quality images that can help physicians identify aberrations or abnormalities that are invisible to the naked eye.

After receiving a request from the physician, the radiographer decides which radiography method would help them get the best possible images to help the physician make an accurate diagnosis. They then explain the procedure to the patient and position their body accurately for the desired image.

If you are interested in science, you enjoy working with machines and patients are a good team player, you may find a career as a radiographer immensely satisfying.

How do you become a radiographer?

To become a radiographer you will have to complete a programme that focuses on the science of medical radiation. There are several universities in Australia that offer medical radiation sciences programmes at undergraduate levels as well as graduate levels.

  • To apply for a 3 or 4-year undergraduate degree, you will need to have completed year 12 or equivalent.
  • To apply for a 2-year graduate programme you will need to have obtained a Bachelor’s degree in medical imaging science or any health science discipline. Some courses require applicants to hold a first or second class honours.

After you have graduated, you will need to gain at least one year of clinical experience before you can work independently as a fully qualified radiographer.

As a qualified radiography, you are eligible to apply for membership with the Australian Institute of Radiography. Depending on the state you wish to work in you may also apply for a Radiation Use Licence and Registration in that particular state.

In Australia, all medical imaging technologists have to undertake a Professional Development Year after they graduate. This involves working within an accredited clinical radiology department that is managed by the Australian Institute of Radiography.

Upon completion of the professional development year, you can then apply for accreditation from Australian Institute of Radiography or AIR.

Essential skills and attributes for this role

As a radiographer, you must be equipped with a solid scientific and technological background. Not only do you need to know how to operate various types of advanced machines but you must also be able to calculate the timings of procedures such as the exposure to radiation.

Although this is a highly technical job, in this role you must also enjoy working with people as you will be working closely with patients who need to get any kind of imaging done. Good interpersonal and communication skills are a must so you can explain the procedure to patients in a way that they understand and also make sure that they are in the right position to get the required image.

Accuracy and attention to detail are important to ensure that all images are taken accurately and are of the highest quality possible for a correct diagnosis. Poorly taken images can result in a misdiagnosis.


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Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.