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Radiography assistants and imaging support workers

This page describes the role of staff working in support roles in a radiography setting.

The job

Radiography assistants and imaging support workers assist qualified diagnostic and therapeutic radiographers

Assistant practitioners are an emerging role within the NHS. For more general information about the work of assistant practitioners generally, click here. They are usually experienced assistants or support workers who have gained further qualifications and are increasingly undertaking some of the tasks previously only done by qualified and registered radiographers.

The role and level of responsibility of assistant practitioners, radiography assistants and imaging support workers will depend on the nature of the work of the team they are in.

They will generally all assist patients as a part of their work, but other duties might involve:
  • processing film images
  • assisting in maintaining agreed stock levels of consumable items
  • preparing and assisting with general and specialised procedures including biopsies
  • ensuring a clean and hygienic working environment
  • preparing patients for treatment
  • being involved in the manual handling of patients
  • recognising equipment faults and reporting these immediately
  • undertaking basic maintenance of equipment
Training is a key element of these tasks.

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements, to work as a radiography assistant or imaging support worker, although applicants may need to pass four (or more) GCSEs, or equivalent to qualify for some more advanced work. There is an NVQ related to imaging support workers but this is not currently offered as a route to qualification as a radiographer. A mature approach is essential.

Assistant practitioners will usually need further qualifications.


Training will usually be on the job. But short courses may be offered off-site.

The Society of Radiographers (SOR) has developed an accreditation process for assistant practitioners working in diagnostic imaging and radiotherapy. Its aim is to ensure that the qualifications and practice of this professional group are recognised within the NHS. For individuals to receive accreditation, it is necessary for them to demonstrate knowledge, skills and achievement at the relevant level as identified in the Society and College of Radiographers' Curriculum Framework. For more information, visit the SOR website.

Progression opportunities

Some NHS employers may provide the opportunity for staff in assistant roles to work, and study part-time towards a professional radiography qualification.

How to apply

Applicants should contact local NHS employers to see what opportunities may be available.

It may be possible to get into this role through a level 3 (advanced) apprenticeship.