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Radiographers – What to Expect in Canada

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Medical radiation technologists are operators of radiographic equipment for both diagnosis and therapeutic purposes. Often, they are employed in hospitals but they can also be employed in cancer treatment centres, clinics, radiological laboratories, colleges and universities.

For international students with a passion for technology and biology, this could be the career for you! In this profession, you get to help people through technology and aid doctor’s in the diagnosis of disease or traumas without having to attend a long program like medical school.

Education Required for Future Radiographers

College/University Programs

  1. Algonquin College – Medical Radiation Technology: Algonquin College offers a 3-year program in medical radiation technology. The program is designed to prepare students for a career in medical diagnostics via radiography through both in-classroom instruction and clinical placements. In the classroom, students will experience courses including Health Ethics, Applied Anatomy and Physiology I, and Pathology I, amongst others. Lab sessions in class will help you prepare for clinical rotations; there will be three practicums totalling more than 1,500 hours in clinical settings within Ottawa or requiring relocation.
  2. College of New Caledonia – Medical Radiography Technology: The College of New Caledonia (CNC) offers a diploma program in Medical Radiography Technology; this is a 2-year program total located in Prince George, BC. Students will learn the in’s and out’s of radiography through both classroom instruction and clinical placements. In the class, students will take courses including Relational Anatomy and Physiology, Ethics and Canadian Healthcare, and Radiographic Procedures amongst other courses. Meanwhile, clinical placements will allow students to apply their classroom learning in real-world settings.
  3. Fanshawe College – Medical Radiation Technology: Fanshawe College offers a 3-year program in Medical Radiation Technology in the city of London, Ontario. The program includes 54 weeks of practicum experience along with classroom and lab work; this combination well prepares graduates for radiography careers in Ontario and beyond. Some of the courses incorporated into the program are Diagnostic Imaging, Medical Radiation Sciences, Sectional Anatomy and many more! There will be 4 clinical practicum experiences totalling 54 weeks.

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Licensure with a Provincial Regulatory Body

Upon graduation from a Medical Radiation Technology (MRT) program in Canada, graduates should obtain a license from their provincial regulatory body. Often, a regulatory provincial party will need to certify that you are eligible to practice within the province in question. Certification will vary per province.

In Alberta for example, the Alberta College of Medical Diagnostic and Therapeutic Technologists requires MRT graduates to register with them in order to obtain a license to practice. New applicants to the College should meet the following requirements:

  • Successful completion of an approved program of study or education deemed to be equivalent
  • Successful completion of an entry-to-practice examination set or approved by the College Council (not required for temporary registration)
  • Practice history that includes the required number of practice hours in the previous five years (new graduates are exempt from this requirement if the application is submitted within two years of graduation)
  • Reasonable proficiency in English so as to be able to engage safely and competently in the practice of medical diagnostic and therapeutic technology
  • Declaration of conduct along with details and documentation if applicable
  • Successful completion of the regulation education module approved by the College
  • Proof of professional liability insurance (PLI) or protection against professional liability in accordance with requirements
  • Submission of a criminal record check
  • Fee payment

Each provincial regulatory body will operate slightly differently, so be sure to do some research into the regulatory body in your province.

Certification by the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists

Graduates of MRT programs in Canada must complete a national exam administered by the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists. This is an exam that is offered 3 times a year; students should register online for their exam with the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists.

The computer-based exam is 4 hours in length and includes 185 multiple-choice questions. The exam follows a competency-based model; students should be prepared to have their behaviour tested as opposed to their ability to recall information. The Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists has prepared a document outlining all the necessary competencies MRT’s should possess upon the day of their graduation.

Job Outlook and Expected Growth

The job prospects for medical radiation technologists vary greatly by province and/or territory according to the Government of Canada. The following provinces are expected to see a good outlook for job growth and expansion as cited by the Government of Canada:

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • New Brunswick
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island

Meanwhile, the following provinces will see a fair amount of job growth and expansion as cited by the Government of Canada:

  • Manitoba
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Nova Scotia
  • Quebec Saskatchewan

And finally, the job growth and outlook remains undetermined in the following provinces as cited by the Government of Canada:

  • Northwest Territories
  • Nunavut
  • Yukon Territory

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Salaries Broken Down by Provinces in Canada

Similar to the job growth and outlook for medical radiation technologists, the salary also varies by province and/or territory. Below are the median salaries per hour in each province/territory as cited by the Government of Canada:

  • British Columbia – $34.00
  • Yukon – N/A
  • Northwest Territories – N/A
  • Nunavut – N/A
  • Saskatchewan – $36.63
  • Alberta – $41.75
  • Ontario – $37.93
  • Quebec – $32.00
  • Newfoundland and Labrador – $40.00
  • Prince Edward Island – $34.95
  • Nova Scotia – $34.95
  • New Brunswick – $32.36
  • Manitoba – $36.20

Salary estimates remain absent for the northern parts of the country at this time.

Radiography is an excellent profession for international students with a passion for both technology and biology; radiography meets perfectly at this intersection. Students need only to complete a 2-3 year program in order to become radiologists here in Canada, making it a great option for those looking for a shorter education experience, as well as education that ensures they are career-ready! Importantly, this career is provincially regulated and will require an exam upon graduation, future graduates take note and be sure to do some research.

Sources: Algonquincollege Medical Radiation Technology College of New Caledonia – Medical Radiography Technology Fanshawe College Medical Radiation Technology ACMDTT CAMRT Outlook Wages

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