Entry requirements and training (diagnostic radiographer)

This page has information on the entry requirements and training needed to become a diagnostic radiographer.

To practice as a radiographer, you must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). In order to register with the HCPC, you first need to successfully complete an approved programme in diagnostic radiography. Degree courses take three or four years, full time or up to six years part time. A degree apprenticeship standard has been approved for delivery. There are also postgraduate programmes usually taking up to two years.

Courses cover anatomy, physiology and physics as well sociology, management, ethics and the practice and science of imaging. They all involve a lot of practical work with patients.

To get onto a diagnostic radiography degree course you usually need:

  • two or three A levels, including physics, chemistry or biology/human biology, along with five GCSEs (grades A-C), including English language, maths and science

or alternative qualifications, including

  • BTEC, HND or HNC which includes science
  • relevant NVQ
  • science-based access course
  • equivalent Scottish or Irish qualifications

If you have a relevant first degree, you can apply for an accelerated programme in diagnostic radiography. These courses are usually between 21 months and 2 years long.

However, each institution sets its own entry requirements, so it’s important to check carefully. Wherever you study, you will need to show that you have an understanding of diagnostic radiography. It is a good idea to spend some time with a registered diagnostic radiographer to see what the work is like.

Financial support while studying at university

You'll be entitled to receive at least £5,000 a year towards your studies while at university. Your personal circumstances may mean you could receive more. And the good news? You'll never have to pay it back

Degree apprenticeships

A degree standard apprenticeship in diagnostic radiography has been approved for delivery. To get onto a degree apprenticeship, you will need to apply for an apprentice position with a health care provider. You can search for vacancies on the NHS Jobs website and Find an Apprenticeship website.

Once you’ve successfully completed a programme approved by the HCPC, you are then eligible to apply for registration with the HCPC. Once registered as a practitioner, you’ll be required to retain your name on the register by keeping your knowledge and skills up to date and paying an annual retention fee.

Want to learn more?

  • Diagnostic radiographers need to be

    • very safety conscious
    • interested in technology
    • patient and understanding
    • able to understand and follow instructions exactly
    • physically fit as the job involves a lot of standing.
  • Diagnostic radiographers need a range of skills including:

    • good communication skills
    • ability to reassure patients
    • ability to explain procedures to patients
    • good organisation skills
    • good observation skills
    • ability to keep up to date and learn new skills
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