Studying Physiotherapy vs Radiography in Nigeria, Which is better?


Physiotherapy and radiography are both minor but essential health courses due to their relevance to treatment and recovery, and diagnosis respectively. They are both courses that are recently gaining recognition in Nigeria. Both professions involve a considerable amount of physical activity as radiographers too put in a considerable amount of effort in operating equipment, while Physiotherapy is purely physical.

In this case, both Physiotherapists and Radiographers are not medical doctors but both specialists in their areas without becoming MD’s. Their services are highly needed in the health sector and for this reason, lots of aspirants are diving into this profession, it is still a fertile ground to start a career.

Physiotherapy vs Radiography in Nigeria, which is better?
Physiotherapy vs Radiography in Nigeria, which is better?

Have you ever fractured a bone or dislocated a joint and were taken to a hospital or laboratory for an X-ray? If yes, then you have definitely met a Radiographer. Radiographers are specialists who are trained to take different clear images of parts of the body using radiation (due to difference is densities of different parts of the body) and special equipments and techniques.

Radiography is the art and science of using radiation to produce images of the tissues, organs, bones and vessels that the human body is comprised of. It is an imaging technique using X-rays, gamma rays, or similar ionizing and non ionizing radiation to view the internal form of the body.

Physiotherapy is the treatment of disease, injury, or deformity by physical methods such as massage, heat treatment, and exercise rather than by drugs or surgery.

A physiotherapist helps people affected by injury, illness or disability through movement and exercise, manual therapy, education and advice.

In simpler terms of the health process, when you have a fracture or dislocation, a radiographer uses an x-ray machine or other equipments to view the fracture or dislocation and take a clear image of it.

After which a doctor refers you to a Physiotherapist who helps you to get the fractured or dislocated part back in good condition through exercise, massages and other methods. To be honest, in Nigeria, the best one between Radiography and Physiotherapy is the one you prefer as they are almost on the same scale as secondary health courses.

With that said, Radiographers will require more mathematics and physics than Physiotherapists in training. Radiographers will tend to be employed by a hospital or Radiology practice, as there will be little call for a Radiographer in private practice. By contrast, Physiotherapy does have private practice as an option.

In terms of salary and pay, Physiotherapy is a course which also offers one the opportunity to work as both an employee and as a private practitioner at the same time. Most Physiotherapists work outside of the hospital and sometimes go to even the homes of patients in order to treat them.

It is also very flexible as appointments can be made with patients. A Physiotherapist working in Nigeria averagely earns about 500,000 naira per month.

This is the average monthly salary including housing, transport, and other benefits. Salaries range from 278,000 naira to 934,000 naira. Income of Physiotherapists may also be higher because of their ability to offer private services to patients which may sometimes be more expensive than the normal hospital Physiotherapy appointment.

On average, a Radiographer earns between 100,000 naira to 150,000 naira per month for a start in a federal setting and about 75,000 naira to 110,000 per month in state hospitals and private laboratories. Radiographers also enjoy added benefits such as health and dental insurance, paid sick leaves, retirement saving plans, yearly vacations.

Radiographers also have to deal with their line of work constituting a health hazard to them as they are exposed to ionizing radiation irrespective of safety precautions and wear.

Given the economic state of Nigeria however, this is clearly a win for Physiotherapy as it is more lucrative, has clinical autonomy (private practice) and does not have the health hazard of exposure to radiation.

In the end, it all comes down to what works for you and choosing the finest option(s) for yourself based on your abilities, work prospects, personality, income and most importantly, your interests.

Olayinka Shyllon

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