Therapeutic radiographer

You’ll be a source of hope and care for those diagnosed with cancer. Using radiotherapy, you’ll collaborate with other healthcare professionals to create individual treatment plans that blend technical expertise with emotional support for your patients.

"I’ve already secured my job at Royal Stoke University Hospital for when I graduate so that’s where I will kick start my career!" Lily, a therapeutic radiography student

Read Lily's story in full

Watch this video to see what both therapeutic and diagnostic radiographers do. 

Working life

As a therapeutic radiographer, you’ll be part of a team helping people who are dealing with cancer. Based in a hospital, you’ll work with patients and colleagues to design treatment programmes and support patients until their treatment ends. From taking an initial X-ray, to using a CT scanner or a linear accelerator, you’ll use some of the most complex and advanced technology to treat tumours. Therapeutic radiographers are also central to a wider multidisciplinary team, working and consulting with colleagues across various departments.

Entry requirements 

To become a therapeutic radiographer, you must first successfully complete an approved degree or masters in radiotherapy. Degree courses take three or four years full time, or up to six years part time. There are also some postgraduate programmes that can take two years. Once you’ve completed your degree, you need to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) before you can start practising. The other option is to apply for an apprenticeship degree.

Entry requirements for an undergraduate course are typically:

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

Or the equivalent qualifications:

  • a BTEC, HND or HNC, including science
  • a relevant NVQ
  • a science-based access course
  • Equivalent Scottish or Irish qualifications.

New annual payments

You’ll receive at least £5,000 a year to help fund your studies, through the NHS Learning Support Fund. And because therapeutic radiography is a shortage specialism you’ll receive an additional £1,000 a year. The best part? You won’t have to pay a penny back.

Degree apprenticeship

A degree apprenticeship is another way to become a therapeutic radiographer. Apprenticeships give you the chance to earn a living while gaining your qualification. Your employer and the government will pay the tuition fees, so apprenticeships aren’t eligible for student grants.

Must-have skills 

Don’t forget - academic qualifications aren't everything. You’ll need to be interested in new technologies, be safety-conscious and have excellent observational skills. But this isn’t just a role for the technologically-minded. Along with planning and delivering treatments, you’ll offer emotional support to patients and their carers and will need to have an easy-going manner to reassure patients who are nervous about their treatment.

Training and career development

Once you’ve qualified, you’ll have annual Continuing Professional Development (CPD) check-ins, where well discuss your career aspirations and plan how we can help you to achieve them, so you’re always moving forward. Youll be encouraged to join The Society of Radiographers where you can take courses, conferences and seminars. 

You may also choose to specialise in treating certain cancers, work with children or with new, emerging technologies such as proton beam therapy. Research, teaching or management are other career pathways.

Pay and benefits

Your standard working week will be around 37.5 hours and may include a mix of shifts, such as nights, early starts, evenings and weekends. As a therapeutic radiographer, you’ll be paid on the Agenda for Change (AFC) pay system, typically starting on band 5.

You’ll also have access to our generous pension scheme and health service discounts, as well as 27 days of annual leave plus bank holidays.

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