Skip to content

Assistant Radiographic Practice (Screening Mammography) (CertHE)

Entry year

The Certificate in Higher Education in Assistant Radiographic Practice (Screening Mammography) aims to deliver practical knowledge and skills in breast imaging practice for screening purposes.

Book an Open Day

Course overview

The Assistant Practitioner programme is an in-service, full-time day-release course designed for NHS support workers who wish to develop their skills and role as a member of the radiography team. It runs over one calendar year and comprises 25% academic-based and 75% work-based learning. On successful completion students are awarded a Certificate of Higher Education. Assistant practitioners perform protocol-limited tasks under the direction and supervision of a radiographer. The course is managed as a single programme with two different pathways:

  • Diagnostic Radiography;
  • Screening Mammography.

Distinctive features

The day-release nature of the programme allows continuous link between theory and practice, while the split between clinical and academic components enhances the acquisition of practical skills and allows continuous student exposure to an appropriate range of work-based experiences


Applying for 2018 or 2019

UCAS codeDirect entry
Next intakeJanuary 2019
Duration1 years
ModeFull time

Entry requirements

Extended Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.

The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

Alternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of Healthcare Sciences admissions criteria pages.

IELTS (academic)

At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each sub-score.


At least 90 with minimum scores of 17 for writing, 17 for listening, 18 for reading and 20 for speaking.

PTE Academic

62 with a minimum of 51 in all communicative skills.

Trinity ISE II/III

II: at least two Distinctions and two Merits.
III: at least a Pass in all components.

Other accepted qualifications

Please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our other accepted language qualifications.


The programme is aimed at recruiting Radiography Support Workers employed by NHS Trusts in Wales. The recruitment process involves joint selection interviews by Cardiff University and respective Radiology Services Managers or their appointed representatives.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2019/20)

Tuition fees are funded by the Workforce, Education and Development Services (WEDS). Students in NHS employment will continue to receive their salaries from their employer. Applicants domiciled in Wales with NHS employment as a support worker are eligible for funding.

Students from outside the EU (2019/20)

NHS employment is a required part of this course. Therefore, this course is not available for international students.

Additional costs

Students requiring overnight accommodation during academic study days must make their own arrangements. There are a number of local Bed & Breakfast places near the Heath Park Campus as well as small hotels within reasonable distance of the campus. Students and their employers are responsible for payment of accommodation / subsistence fees.


We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.

Course structure

The programme runs over one calendar year, including the holiday entitlement of the students enrolled on the course. After the induction week (week 1), the programme is run on a day-release basis where students attend two days per week at the academic base and the remaining week days are devoted to work-based learning at the student’s clinical placement. The day-release nature of the programme allows continuous link between theory and practice, and exposure to an appropriate range and number of practice-based experience.

The award requires successful completion of four core modules, three of which are shared and the fourth is speciality-specific. The modules are delivered simultaneously through the year.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2019/20 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2019.

Year one

The programme runs over a calendar year and comprises 25% academic-based and 75% work-based learning.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

A variety of teaching and learning methods are used to deliver this programme. They include lectures, tutorials, practical demonstrations, supervised clinical practice, formative feedback, and Cardiff University’s Virtual Learning Environment (Learning Central).

How will I be supported?

To make the learning experience a positive one, students on the programme will be supported in a variety of ways. Among them are:

  • Learning Central – where students can access course information, lecture materials, self-administered class tests, and links to relevant information.
  • Personal tutors - each student is allocated a personal tutor with whom they meet on a regular basis to discuss the student’s progress within the academic and clinical settings.
  • Portfolio supervisor – each student is allocated a nominated supervisor who will provide advice and guidance, and give written feedback on drafts. Completion of the portfolio provides students with an opportunity to identify their learning styles and performance, and to reflect on their clinical experiences
  • Clinical supervisor(s) – the university requires each clinical placement to nominate a minimum of two supervisors. Supervisors organise and manage the student’s work-based learning. They also prepare students for clinical assessments.

How will I be assessed?

The modules are assessed through a range of formative and summative methods.

Formative assessment is achieved through the use of, quizzes, mock tests / examinations, clinical-based behavioural assessments, competence-based Clinical Progress Record and mock clinical assessments.

Summative assessments include unseen written examinations, multiple choice questions (MCQ) objective practical examinations (OSPE), essays, and clinical assessments.

Methods of Assessment

Summative assessment will involve evaluation of students’ learning through the use of a variety of assessment methods. Summative assessment methods will include the following:

  • Essays
  • Unseen written examinations
  • Objective structured practical examination (OSPE)
  • Objective structured clinical examination (OSCE)
  • Practical clinical assessments
  • Completion of a Clinical Progress Record (Compulsory pass)

Formative assessment will enable students to develop, improve and achieve the expected programme learning outcomes, clinical skills and competencies. Formative assessment will involve:

  • Group and personal tutorials
  • E-mail support
  • Self-assessment exercises through the use of electronic and paper-based learning resources developed by the course team.
  • Group discussions.
  • Observed / supervised practice with feedback
  • Mock OSPE and OSCE
  • Completion of behavioural assessment forms by supervising radiographers
  • Completion of a Clinical Progress Record.  

What skills will I practise and develop?

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:

  • select and use appropriate static and mobile x-ray equipment, and static image intensifier equipment to produce digital or plain film images;
  • Accurately perform mammographic examinations in a safe and effective manner;
  • Produce images in accordance with local and national protocols, using radiation doses that are as low as reasonably practicable;
  • Assess the quality of the final image and, if necessary, suggest means of improving it.
  • Achieve the level of competence as detailed in the Clinical Progress Record.

What are the learning outcomes of this course/programme?

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme describe what you will be able to do as a result of your study at Cardiff University. They will help you to understand what is expected of you. 

Knowledge & Understanding:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • Knowledge and understanding of the principles and concepts that underpin  radiographic practice;
  • Knowledge and understanding of the legislation, guidelines and protocols that govern the medical use of ionising radiation;
  • Knowledge and understanding of the legal and ethical framework  within which an assistant practitioner works;
  • an appropriate level of knowledge of medical terminology and pathological conditions that may be encountered during the course of their work and the implications for the patient;
  • Knowledge and understanding of the basic principles of imaging modalities within radiology departments and their most appropriate applications;
  • Knowledge and understanding of health, safety and welfare needs of patients undergoing mammographic examinations;

Intellectual Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:

  • Explain the risk / benefit analysis;
  • Demonstrate sound reasoning and problem-solving skills within their area of practice;
  • Demonstrate self-evaluation and critical thinking skills

Transferable/Key Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:

  • Present and conduct themselves professionally, and in accordance with local and national guidelines;
  • Communicate effectively and form constructive working relationships with colleagues, service users and carers;
  • Reflect on and learn from experience;
  • Demonstrate a proactive approach to future academic and / or professional development. 

Other information

What do current students say about this Programme?

Previous programme evaluations have been positive several assistant practitioners have gone to study for the BSc (Hons) Radiography degree at Cardiff and other universities.

What do employers think about this Programme?

Feedback from employers suggested satisfaction that the programme prepared assistant practitioners who were appropriately prepared to perform their role and meet the expectations of their scope of practice.

Mode of delivery

Some employers suggested a preference for some aspects of the programme to be delivered by distance learning. This view was seen by employers as advantageous for those students whose base hospitals are geographically far from Cardiff University, for example North Wales. The programme team appreciates the demands placed on such students in terms of travel time, distance and financial cost to the employer. However, the team feels that the regular face-to-face contact afforded by the 2 academic days per week in term time provided continuous academic support and far outweighed the inconvenience and discomfort of travel to and from Cardiff.

 Scope of practice

In view of the diversity of radiographic practice, increasing service demand, and the need to improve patient flow, some radiology services managers would welcome the development of appropriate assistant practitioner modules in techniques / technologies such as dental radiography, ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging.

Careers and placements

Career prospects

On completion of the course, and depending on the chosen  pathway, Assistant Practitioners will be able to seek employment in one of the following areas of radiographic practice:

  • Screening Mammography.
  • Diagnostic Radiography

Assistant Practitioners in screening mammography perform basic mammographic examinations within the asymptomatic breast screening programme. Working on mobile screening vans, they assist radiographers in providing and maintaining an efficient breast screening service.


Clinical placements are an integral part and constitute 75% of the programme. They are compulsory.

Data from Unistats is not yet available for this course.

Data from Unistats is not yet available for this course.


Next Undergraduate Open Day

Friday 5 July




Get in touch

Applying for 2018 or 2019