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A Career In Medical Imaging

What is Diagnostic Radiography / Medical Imaging?

Diagnostic Radiography is the production of high quality images for the purpose of diagnosis of injury or disease.  It is a pivotal aspect of medicine and a patient's diagnosis and ultimate treatment is often dependent on the images produced.  Diagnostic Radiography uses both ionising and non-ionising radiation in the imaging process.  The equipment used is at the high end of technology and computerisation within medicine.  
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What does a Diagnostic Radiographer / Medical Imaging Technologist do?
A Diagnostic Radiographer/Medical Imaging Technologist is a key member of the health care team.  They are responsible for producing high quality medical images that assist medical specialists and practitioners to describe, diagnose, monitor and treat a patients injury or illness.  Much of the medical equipment used to gain the images is highly technical and involves state of the art computerisation.
A Diagnostic Radiographer/Medical Imaging Technologist needs to have the scientific and technological background to understand and use the equipment within a modern Radiology department as well as compassion and strong interpersonal skills.  They need to be able to demonstrate care and understanding and have a genuine interest in a patient's welfare.  The Diagnostic Radiographer/Medical Imaging Technologist will also need to be able to explain to the patient the need for the preparation and post examination care as well as the procedure to be undertaken.
The Diagnostic Radiographer/Medical Imaging Technologist is able to work in a highly advanced technical profession that requires excellent people skills.  It is an exciting and rewarding profession to embark on and great opportunities await the graduate. 
As an Australian graduate there are good travel opportunities to work overseas.  Australian graduates are sought after in many countries.
Further information about the role of a Diagnostic Radiographer/Medical Imaging Technologist and what the profession does can be found on the web sites of the Universities which undertake the courses for these professionals. 

Is it safe as a profession? 
There is a great deal of misunderstanding about radiation.  Through their studies the Diagnostic Radiographer/Medical Imaging Technologist learns how to minimise the radiation dose to themselves, the patient and the public.
Occupational exposure of radiation professionals is closely monitored with the use of specialised devices both personal and throughout the workplace.
How do I become a Diagnostic Radiographer/Medical Imaging Technologist?
This discipline comes under the broader category of Medical Radiation Sciences.  The course undertaken is either an undergraduate course or a Graduate Entry Masters course.  Courses in Medical Radiation Sciences are accrediated by the ASMIRT and potential students are advised to check with the University that the course has ASMIRT accreditation.  At the completion of some academic courses the graduate will need to undertake one year of mentored clinical entry into the profession and workforce, the National Professional Development Programme (NPDP).  This is a paid year of structured supervised practice and the graduate must complete the year to be eligible to be granted a Validated Statement of Accreditation . The NPDP must be undertaken in Australia in an approved hospital radiology department or private radiological clinic.

How much will I earn as a Diagnostic Radiographer/Medical Imaging Technologist?
Salaries vary from State to State as Health is a State concern and not a Federal jurisdiction.  As a guide, graduates working full time in the NPDP should expect to earn from $36,000 to $50,000.  Within this discipline there are chances to specialise and opportunity to earn higher salaries through promotion along technical, management and education career paths.  There are opportunities to increase salaries by undertaking shift work or on-call shifts in Diagnostic Radiography/Medical Imaging Technology. Further details regarding earnings are available from individual departments and practices.
Where can I work?
Diagnostic Radiography/Medical Imaging Technology centres are found in public hospitals, many private hospitals and private radiology practices and may be large or small, metropolitan or rural. Diagnostic Radiography/Medical Imaging facilities are more widely available than Radiation Therapy and centres may be located in remote areas.  The variation in the type of practice is very wide from large public hospitals with busy trauma departments to small private practices or public hopsitals.

Diagnostic Radiographers may wish to become involved in academic positions.These posts may involve teaching in undergraduate and postgraduate courses or dedicated research activities.
In Diagnostic Radiography/Medical Imaging Technology there are opportunities to specialise in areas such as paediatrics or in specific areas of expertise such as MRI or ultrasound.

I am an overseas student.  What do I need to know about studying in Australia?

If you are considering studying Diagnostic Radiography/Medical Imaging in Australia you should contact the particular University for details and requirements.  If you are undertaking any of the courses that require a NPDP to gain professional accreditation with the Australian Society of Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy you will require an appropriate working visa for the year immediately after you complete your academic studies. 

You should ensure that the Australian academic qualification is acceptable for you to be able to work in your country of origin. Remember that some individuals are unable to convert their student visa to a working visa.

The Australian Commonwealth Government Department responsible for immigration currently recognises only The Validated Statement of Accreditation for immigration purposes.  All applicants for a Validated Statement of Accreditation must provide satisfactory evidence of proficiency in the English language. Please refer to the following page for further information.   Where a NPDP is required for accreditation, you may not apply for skilled migration to Australia until after you have fully completed the NPDP programme.