How do I Become a Diagnostic Radiographer?

Carol Francois

There are four steps required to become a diagnostic radiographer: post-secondary training, related work experience, aptitude, and the job interview process. A diagnostic radiographer is a specialist trained in the use of radiographic and x-ray machines. Working closely with the primary physician, the radiographer uses specialized tools to capture images, confirm diagnosis, or provide the level of detail required to perform surgical procedures.

An X-ray taken by a diagnostic radiographer.
An X-ray taken by a diagnostic radiographer.

People who are interested in the health care field, enjoy working with technology, and are detail-oriented find this type of work satisfying. The primary reward from this type of work is capturing the image or data that results in the correct diagnose and treatment plan. A little bit of detective work may be required to determine the best method of completing the task. A low frustration threshold is required, as multiple attempts may be necessary to get the high-quality image required.

A diagnostic radiographer reviewing an X-ray.
A diagnostic radiographer reviewing an X-ray.

The first requirement to become a diagnostic radiographer is to complete a post-secondary education program. Radiographer programs are available from a wide range of community and career colleges. Look for schools that offer diagnostic radiographer training as part of their program. The admissions criteria for this specialty may be slightly higher than the standard program, as demand for this training is increasing.

Related work experience is usually obtained through a job placement program. The best programs to become a diagnostic radiographer have human mannequins and radiographic equipment available to students. The mannequins are used to simulate an illness that the radiographer needs to locate. This type of equipment is very expensive, so schools that provide it may have slightly higher tuition fees. However, it will be well worth it to achieve the level of skill required for this job.

A career as a diagnostic radiographer is most rewarding for people who have a natural aptitude for this type of work. It requires a combination of visual acuity, interpersonal skills, self-discipline, and creativity. The patient is often agitated, and it is the role of the radiographer to ensure that the images can be taken quickly and accurately.

When applying for a job to become a diagnostic radiographer, be sure to proofread your resume and cover letter, double-checking for any grammar or spelling mistakes. During the job interview process, remember that the employer usually has a standard list of questions and is looking for complete, concise responses. Keep in mind that everything you say will be written down and reviewed. Think about your answers and stay calm.

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