Surprisingly enough, Canada being part of the British Commonwealth really doesn’t help the moving process much. Actually, I don’t think being part of the commonwealth really means much at all for Canada in this day and age, but that’s beside the point of this post.
So, to work as a radiographer in the UK, you need to be a member of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) – the organization which regulates our profession here. If you’re not registered with HCPC, you’re actually breaking the law and will not be allowed to practice as a radiographer. They’re essentially there to protect the public, and make sure that radiographers meet standards for training and skills, etc.
To apply for registration from Canada or anywhere outside of the UK, you have to take the “International Route”. Once your application is sent, it may take up to four weeks for them to even begin processing the application, and then 60 working days after that, so the whole process can take up to four months. Basically, be prepared to wait at least three months after you send off your application to get your letter of approval (or disapproval). I sent my application from Canada in September, and got my approval letter just before Christmas.
To get the application together in the first place, it took me almost three months – I started the whole process in June. There’s a lot to the application… download the Guidance on completing the International application form, and read it through at least 15 times like I did… You probably will still have a lot of questions and confusion. Or maybe that’s just me being my usual worrisome self. I’m really good at convincing myself I’m going to fail/not be prepared/not got a clue what’s going on.
Once you’ve read the guidance, download the International Application Form and have a read through it too. You can complete the form online, then print it and sign it, or just print it off and complete the form in black ink. I chose the latter because I’ve got a slight hint of OCD and didn’t want some parts to be typed and some written… Plus you have to give parts of the form to other people to complete and I found it easier to just print the whole application off and give the specific pages to the right people to complete.
Section One – Your Details
This first section is simple – your name, home address, contact details, etc. However, you also have to provide proof of your identity, so certified copies of your passport or national ID card, and another document showing your full name and address such as an electricity bill, tax bill or bank statement for example. I think I sent in a bank statement with a copy of my passport.
Section Two – Qualification in a Relevant Position
The second section is to show your qualifications/training. I sent in a copy of my actual degree, along with the certificates showing I completed X-Ray and MRI programs. For this section, you need to get your university (or whatever training institution you attended) to complete a course information form detailing both theory and practical course content – including number of hours for each subject, assessment methods used, and details of the course content.
The form is not part of the application pack – it is a separate Word document to be completed by your university/training institution. I emailed the document as an attachment to one of my professors to complete. It’s a bit of a tedious document honestly; my poor professor who completed it for me must’ve spent so much time on it – it was 16 pages she sent back to me. Thank goodness for my amazing profs though, I would have never made it here without them taking time out of their busy schedules to do whatever they could to help get me here.
The form is an integral part of the application process as it provides the details of your training, including:
- details of the course content
- the number of theoretical and practical hours for each module or subject
- assessment methods used
Section Three – Professional Experience
The third section is for your professional experience, so basically like a resume/CV. You need to include your manager/supervisor’s details and references from people who have either been your supervisor or “responsible for you in a professional capacity”.
They do encourage you to provide as much detail as possible, so I ended up writing quite a bit in this section. In my opinion, the more information given to support your experience, the better – if you’re vague about it, they may struggle to determine if you’re actually able to meet their standards of proficiency.
Section Four – Professional Registration
The fourth section is to explain your professional registration. In my case, I had to provide information for both CAMRT and NSAMRT. If I had been registered previously in any other country with any other professional body, I would include these here as well. Pretty simple, easy section. Phew.
Section Five – Language Proficiency
The language proficiency section is just to make sure you can effectively communicate in English, and since I was born in Canada with English as my first language, all I had to do was declare that English is my first language. Another easy section for me.
If English is not your first language, you must provide proof of your English language proficiency by providing a language test certificate (IELTS or TOEFL) which is no more than two years old when HCPC receive your application. Having studied English or completed your training at an institution with English instruction does not mean you automatically meet the requirements.
Section Six – Pay your Scrutiny Fee
The next section is to pay your scrutiny fee… Yes, you have to pay to have your application processed. And it’s not cheap… £495 actually. Which works out to be around $875 (CAD). This is a one-off, non-refundable fee, and they will not process your application without it.
If you do get approved, you then have to pay a registration fee, which covers you for 2 years (the radiographer cycle is from March 1-February 28). That fee is £180, but luckily with the company I work for, we can claim it and get that money back.
Section Seven – Declarations
This last section is essentially just signing it to say that you’re not lying about anything and agree to give them a bunch of money and all that fun stuff. You’ll also be asked to complete an Equality and Diversity monitoring form, although not necessary to do… It’s only one page with a couple basic questions.
So to sum it all up, what you’ll need is:
- Certified copies of your passport or national ID card
- Proof of address such as a bank statement or utility bill
- Passport photo
- Certified copies of your qualification certificate/degree
- Course Information Form completed by your university/training institution
- at least one completed form of professional experience, with contact details and references
- (at least) £675 (about $1170 CAD) for the scrutiny fee and registration fee once you’ve been approved
What happens after the application is sent?
Once your application is processed, you will be contacted by the HCPC. If your application is successful, they will contact you with details of how to complete the registration process by paying the registration fee of £180. If your application is unsuccessful, you will be refused admission to the register, but you are able to make an appeal against that decision if you so wish.
It doesn’t really seem like much of a process when I go back and read the application form now, but it took me quite a while to actually get the course information form completed and the references sections completed. Mind you, this was during the summer months while my profs weren’t around every day and references were on vacation too, so it took a bit longer than if it had been when they were actually available and had the time. It is a lot to ask of your university to fill out a form including all of your course details from a four year degree program (again, THANK YOU CATHERINE, YOU’RE A LIFESAVER), and you don’t need to have multiple references, but I provided three as I had been working three different X-Ray/MRI jobs at the time, so had to wait for three people to complete references for me.
It is certainly not cheap to apply for it, but it’s completely worth it in the end. Or at least, in my case it was.
Hope this helps & feel free to shoot any questions my way!