Access to Radiography (Diagnostic and Therapeutic)
There are two main routes into Radiography. Diagnostic Radiographers create radiographs, with the help of x-rays, to help diagnose disease or trauma. To become a Diagnostic Radiographer you will need a BSc. (Hons) degree in Diagnostic Radiography (sometimes called Diagnostic Imaging).
Therapeutic Radiography prepares students to be on the front line of fighting cancer. If you choose this specialism you would need to study for a BSc. (Hons) degree in Radiotherapy (sometimes called Radiography and Oncology). With both pathways, you will need to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
What are the university entry requirements for Radiography degrees?
To apply to universities for Radiography degrees, you should have or be working towards achieving a relevant Access to HE Diploma in Health Science. Or, alternatively, 3 A Levels with at least one in a science (Human Biology, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Psychology, Sociology, Geography or Maths). Universities can advise on their particular entry requirements and they also publish these on the UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) website. With the A Level route, you may also be expected to have a minimum of 5 GCSEs.
With the Access to HE Diploma route, you are normally only required to have 2 GCSEs in English and Maths at Grade C or above. Access to HE Diplomas are normally aimed towards adults 18+ returning to education or wishing to change to a new career. There are no upper age limits. The Diploma qualification is viewed as being equivalent to 3 A Levels. Access to HE can be studied from home via online learning or at a local college.
Although students will need a good level of English for this course, there is a particular need within Radiography for students who are fluent in languages other than English. Some Universities will look on such students favourably. Radiography has high employability rates for graduates, with some universities reporting 95% of students being employed within 6 months of graduating.
What do Radiographers do?
There are two main areas of Radiography and several smaller specialisations. The Diagnostic Radiographer uses various forms of imaging technology, such as X-Rays (used to create Radiographs), to look inside the body and find the cause of an illness, or look at the extent of any trauma. They work in various hospital departments and in time may also be involved in establishing treatment plans.
The Therapeutic Radiographer specialises in devising and carrying out radiotherapy treatment plans for patients, most of whom have cancer. You'll administer doses of radiation to targeted diseased tissue and minimise the amount of radiation to surrounding healthy tissue. Whilst most of the caseload would be working within cancer treatment, you would also treat some blood disorders and benign diseases.
What personal attributes are needed to become a Radiographer?
- Caring, able to empathise with service users and their families
- Confidence in using cutting-edge technology
- Adaptability, the field of Radiography is constantly evolving
- Calmness under pressure
What are the pay and working conditions like?
- As a newly qualified radiographer, your starting salary will be around £22,000, rising within the pay scale to £28,462.
- As an experienced radiographer, you can earn between £26,300 and £35,230.
- Salaries for specialist radiographers are between £31,400 and £41,400 while at consultant level you can earn up to £68,484.
- The Government has recently announced a 6.5% increase in salaries across health sector employees over the next 3 years (June 2018).
Cost of living payments are added for workers in some parts of the country. On-call allowances and overtime payments are paid in addition to the basic salary.
Did you know?
- 40% of all patients cured by cancer are cured by radiotherapy
- Radiographers are on the NHS ‘Shortage Occupation List', there are many vacancies
- In the last 15 years, invasive surgery has decreased by 95% with the help of more advanced imaging technology used by radiographers
- You can be part of this rapidly evolving, life-saving profession!
How is the degree funded?
Studying to become a Radiographer allows you to apply for the standard student support package in the form of a student loan. Scholarships, bursaries or grants may also be available for example, through the university or your place of work.
If you would like to complete an online Access to Radiography course with Academy Online Learning to obtain the level 3 Access Diploma in Health Science Professions for university entry, please choose your payment options below or contact us for more information.
What units will I study on the Access to Radiography Course?
This gives you an opportunity to shine when you are invited for an interview at the university. You will research the university and look at the syllabus and the combination of academic and practical experience and delivery. You will address your own transferable skills and put them to use when writing your UCAS application. You can produce a practice UCAS form prior to submitting your application to UCAS. All the research relating to this unit needs to be contained in a portfolio. You can take this with you to demonstrate that you have carried out detailed research of the course that you have applied for.
There are many diseases and consequently many causes of diseases. Identifying the prevalence of diseases comes with the notion of patterns in society where disease is prevalent. You will be looking at the nature of diseases and the changing patterns across society over time. By identifying diseases and causes, steps can be taken to reduce a disease. Public Health Agencies play a clear role in this; you will be given the opportunity to discover how effective these agencies are in promoting health.
There are many different methods involved in research and you will be introduced to some of these, for example; Correlations, Experiments, Observations, Case Studies Questionnaires and Surveys. You will be given the opportunity to develop your own piece of research in a standard report format.
This can be awarded against a level 3 essay. In essay preparation, you will be expected to research a topical area and present an argument, analysis or evaluation, demonstrating that you can use the evidence you have researched to present ideas and empirical evidence to support the claims that you are making.. The set of writing conventions relating to an essay can vary depending on the subject area. You will be asked to read the question carefully so that you know what the question is asking. In identifying the key words you will be able to see what the main idea is behind the title. You will be able to demonstrate your ability to select relevant material.
Psychology Units (Graded)
Physics Units (Graded)
The use of radioactivity in medicine has increased dramatically thus highlighting its relevance in modern Healthcare practices. To effectively utilise radioactive substances it is vital to gain an understanding of the physics of radiation. In this topic radioactive decay and the penetrative powers of alpha, beta and gamma emissions will be discussed. Issues of safety are of paramount importance when dealing with radioactive substances and this aspect of radiation management will be fully explained. Finally the beneficial uses that radiation therapy can be put to e.g. when diagnosing and treating patients with cancers, will be highlighted and discussed.
Biology Units (Graded)
The main theme in this unit is to develop an understanding of the hormone system and the endocrine glands. You will be looking at the principles behind homeostasis and feedback mechanisms involved in as blood sugar control. You will also look at the actions of hormones and the understandings of molecular processes in steroid and peptide action. You will be illustrating and giving accounts of the endocrine system and identifying the specific organs associated with the system. There will be an opportunity to discuss the medical use of synthetic hormones such as HRT.
Here you will be given the opportunity to explore the components and function of a balanced diet. You will be directed towards looking at what happens when there are deficiencies of a particular nutrient and you will be given the opportunity to identify common forms of malnutrition. Whilst collecting your evidence you will be explore the Alimentary Canal, identifying and locating the structure and function of the Digestive System and the processes involved in the digestive process.
This addresses the understanding of genetic inheritance including simple Mendelian crosses where you will have the opportunity to demonstrate your understanding with illustrations and give a robust account of autosomal dominant recessive patterns and co – dominance. You will need to be able to draw and interpret a Punnett square and calculate probabilities for a variety of monohybrid or dihybrid crosses and recognise inheritance patterns. There will be an opportunity to research and understand the chromosomal basis of sex determination and explain the intra species variations as a result of features such as the environment.
The skeletal system is the primary focus of attention in this unit where you will be given the opportunity to understand the function and structure of the skeletal system, the different joints and movement possibilities relating to joints. You will locate the regions of the spine and identify a number of bones in the human body. You will explore the muscle fibre action in detail and the mechanism involved in sliding filament theory.
This introduces the basic structure and function of the nervous system including the peripheral nervous system the autonomic nervous system and it’s subdivisions. You will also be given the opportunity expand upon your research and look at the nature of nerve impulses and the importance of action potential and the myelin sheath. You will also look at the principles of synaptic transmission, the direction of transmission and the effects of synaptic inhibition.
This looks into the organisation and structure of the body considering tissue types and DNA. You will study the various blood components, the roles and relate this to the circulatory system as a whole. You will cover the blood flow within them, the dynamics of the heart in relation to the needs of the body as well as the differences between plasma and tissue fluid.
This unit looks at homeostasis and the kidney as a homeostatic organ. You will be researching the kidney’s role in the balance of water, salt and pH and the effects of the environment on a cellular level. There will be an opportunity to give a detailed account of the kidney and illustrate its function in relation to the body. Kidney replacement is also a topical area. Malfunction diagnosis is a key consideration and point of investigation.