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Rural or remote area radiography Use Licence

Rural or remote areas sometimes have a clinical or health service need for diagnostic radiography but do not have access to a health sector employee with the relevant qualifications. A rural or remote area Use Licence (X-ray operator licence) allows certain health sector employees without formal qualifications in diagnostic radiography to perform a limited range of plain-film diagnostic radiography.

The use of radiation sources to carry out a radiation practice is regulated under the Radiation Safety Act 1999 to minimise the risks associated with radiation.

Steps to obtain an X-ray operator licence:

  1. Gain knowledge competencies in diagnostic radiography
  2. Apply for a trainee licence
  3. Gain practical competencies in diagnostic radiography
  4. Apply to renew licence and remove trainee status

The competency of X-ray operators is required to be reassessed every year by a person endorsed for this purpose by the Director of Radiation Health.

Know which form you need?

This page contains the following rural or remote area radiography Use Licence application form:

And templates for supporting documentation:

If you are unsure which form/s you need to complete, including the required supporting documentation, please read on.

Who needs this licence?

You can apply for this licence if you are a health sector employee working in a rural or remote location with a clinical or health service need for diagnostic radiography and do not have access to a diagnostic radiographer.

To be eligible for this licence

  • the employer will need to:
    • demonstrate that there is a clinical or health service need in the rural or remote area
  • you will need to:
    • gain the necessary knowledge and practical competencies to perform the desired range of diagnostic radiography.

Depending on your location, profession and clinical or health service need you may be eligible for a licence to perform diagnostic radiography of the:

  • chest (lung, ribs and sternum)
  • extremities
  • spine
  • shoulder joints
  • hip joints
  • pelvis and abdomen
  • skull and facial bones.

Types of X-ray operator licences

There are 3 types of X-ray operator licences that are suitable for different professions in different locations:

Other health sector employees who seek a Use Licence will need to be approved by and have the support of the Possession Licensee providing the service.

Responsibilities of a Use Licensee

As part of your responsibilities as a Use Licensee you will need to:

  • only use a radiation source for the practice described in your Use Licence
  • only use a radiation source if the Possession Licensee has specified that you may
  • follow the instruction of the Possession Licensee and Radiation Safety Officer
  • comply with the approved Radiation Safety and Protection Plan for the radiation practice and your individual responsibilities detailed in it.

You are required to comply with Radiation Safety Act 1999.

1. Gain theoretical competencies in diagnostic radiography

You need to gain radiation safety knowledge before you apply for a 'trainee' licence to use X-ray equipment for diagnostic radiography. This knowledge needs to be gained for each part of the body you seek to perform diagnostic radiography on.

Knowledge competencies to be gained:

  • Anatomy
    • ability to identify the major bones and bony landmarks involved in radiography of the specific area.
  • Properties of X-rays and X-ray equipment
    • basic knowledge of the properties of X-rays, the control factors affecting the X-ray beam and the operation of the types of equipment encountered in rural and remote areas.
  • Radiation protection
    • basic knowledge of the effects of ionising radiation, the principles of radiation protection and personal radiation monitoring.
  • Legislative requirements and medico-legal issues
    • basic knowledge of requirements as a licence holder under the Radiation Safety Act 1999 to perform diagnostic radiography, duty of care, the clinical consequences of poor radiography for the patient and the legal consequences for the operator.
  • Radiographic technique
    • understand the terminology used in radiography, radiographic equipment and accessories, the factors affecting image quality, the conduct of a radiographic examination and record keeping.
  • Exposure standardisation
    • understand how the radiographic factors (kVp, mA, time, focus-film distance) affect the quality of a radiograph and how to alter these factors to accommodate differences in patient size, the use of grids and the application of plaster.
  • Positioning techniques
    • understand the positioning techniques required to produce diagnostic radiographs of the specific areas.
  • Image artefacts
    • understand imaging faults and the errors that produce them in relation to X-ray technique and processing.

2. Apply for a trainee licence

Application for a licence to use a radiation source (PDF 1708 kB)

Use this form if you have gained sufficient skills, knowledge and competency in radiography and seek a licence to use X-ray equipment.

If you have not completed practical competencies you will be given a 'trainee' licence to complete practical training. Once you have achieved these competencies you can apply to have the trainee status removed from your licence.

Trainees need to be under the supervision of a licensed diagnostic radiographer.

There are 3 types of licences you can apply for depending on your location, profession and need:

  • Chest and extremities X-ray licence includes radiography of the:
    • chest
    • extremities.
  • Extended rural and remote area X-ray licence includes radiography of the:
    • chest
    • extremities
    • cervical spine
    • shoulder joints
    • hip joints
    • abdomen.
  • Medical practitioner rural and remote area X-ray licence includes radiography of the:
    • chest (lung, ribs and sternum)
    • extremities
    • spine
    • shoulder joints
    • hip joints
    • pelvis and abdomen
    • skull and facial bones.

Your application needs to include:

If you are renewing your licence you will also need to include certification from a licensed diagnostic radiographer that you are still competent in the range of diagnostic radiography listed in your licence. This certification needs to have occurred within the last 12 months by a person approved by the Director of Radiation Health.

Licence duration

An X-ray operator Use Licence lasts for 1 year.

Renewal applications can be made 60 days before your licence expires. You will be sent a reminder and renewal application form before your licence expires. When making your renewal application you will need to include a copy of your most recent Certificate of Competency.

Fees

You will need to pay a licence fee. If you do not hold a current licence you will also need to pay an application fee.

See schedule of fees to determine the fee you will need to pay.

3. Gain practical training in diagnostic radiography

Trainees must complete the following practical training before they can gain a full Use Licence:

  • Exposure parameters
    • Demonstrated ability to alter exposure parameters to compensate for incorrect exposure, different body thicknesses, different receptor/screen combinations and the use of grids, plaster etc.
  • Image artefacts
    • Demonstrated ability to identify various imaging faults and how to prevent the faults from occurring again.
  • Radiographic technique and positioning
    • Demonstrated ability to use radiographic techniques and appropriately position patients to produce diagnostic radiographs of the specific areas which have a high standard of image quality.
  • Use of computerised or digital radiography equipment
    • Demonstrated ability to use radiography equipment to produce a plain radiograph, perform necessary post processing and store and transfer images.

4. Apply to renew licence and remove trainee status

Once you have completed your practical training you can apply to renew your licence with the trainee status removed.

Last updated: 31 March 2022