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Huge demand for graduates able to display the X-factor
Wong Yat-hei
update on Friday, November 5, 2010

Diagnostic radiographers are at the forefront of patient care, specialising in taking internal images of the body to help doctors make an accurate diagnosis.

Edward Chan Hung-tat, chairman of the Hong Kong Radiographers' Association, says there's huge demand for their services as there are only around 50 local graduates in the field every year.

The demand has intensified and private clinics are luring talent away from government hospitals with higher pay.

"For a diagnostic radiographer who works for the government, salaries start at around HK$19,000. Senior radiographers can make about HK$60,000 to HK$70,000. Private practices are willing to offer a starting salary of up to HK$21,000 or HK$22,000 and up to HK$80,000 or HK$90, 000 for senior positions," Chan says.

In Hong Kong, only Polytechnic University offers a bachelor's degree in radiography. Upon graduation, students must register with the Radiographers Board of Hong Kong.

Diagnostic radiographers are trained to take images of patients to help doctors make accurate diagnoses using computerised tomography (CT) scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). 

Radiographers work mostly with machines, so an interest in mechanics and advanced technology can be a big advantage.

And, as they are in constant contact with radioactive devices and substances, radiographers carry a dosimeter, a radiation-detection device.

"Radiography technology is constantly changing. It is important to be self-motivated and keep up to date with changes," Chan says.

He adds that as radiographers become more experienced, they will take on management and administrative duties, and have fewer clinical responsibilities.

"A senior radiographer needs at least seven years' experience, a master's degree, some background in management and knowledge of doing CT scans or MRI."

Key skills

  • Caring and tolerant as patients are often in pain or anxious
  • Interested in technology as the work mostly involves machines
  • Ready to learn to stay attuned with the latest industry tools

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