A brief guide
What is radiotherapy?
Radiotherapy uses ionising radiation to target and kill cancerous cells. In skilled hands it can alleviate symptoms or even halt and eradicate the disease.
What qualifications do I need to become a Therapeutic Radiographer?
To become a Therapeutic Radiographer you will need to complete an accredited degree or postgraduate programme. This entitles you to apply for registration with the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC).
HCPC registration is essential if you want to work in the NHS.
What does a Therapeutic Radiographer do?
Radiotherapy is a highly scientific field. Therapeutic Radiographers will:-
- Calculate appropriate radiation doses that treat the cancer whilst minimising the impact on surrounding, healthy tissue
- Provide treatment using complex, innovative technology, such as linear accelerators
- Take care of patients and their carers
- Create and communicate treatment plans, working with fellow health professionals and patients
What are their areas of expertise?
Therapeutic Radiographers have expertise in the relevant technologies, in the natural history of many cancers and in the human aspects of patient care (they work with people going through worrying times).
The role, treatment techniques and technology are constantly evolving, so you will never stop learning in this role.
How about the career opportunities?
These are really very good, in the NHS and private healthcare. You will follow a set grade structure and with further study can develop your career to consultant level.
Thanks to the government's cancer strategy, therapeutic radiographers are in great demand and there are plenty of opportunities to specialise in the different technologies, as well as in treating different cancers or patient groups.
Your qualification entitles you to practise in many countries of the world and there are plenty of job opportunities. Equally, you could choose to teach or move into research.