The effects of school career guidance on career choices of radiography undergraduate students at a University in Gauteng Province, South Africa

A. Motsepe*, M. A. Thulo, M. A. Mochifefe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Studies have revealed that learners begin to make their career choices at a reasonably early stage of their lives. Career guidance in South Africa was made part of the curriculum in schools to introduce learners to different careers and guide them in their career choices. Due to historical disparities, this has not been adequately implemented in all schools. As a result of this, some learners often make uninformed career choices. The aim of this study was to determine if students who enrolled in a radiography undergraduate program at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU) had prior knowledge about the radiography profession through career education and guidance at school level. The objectives of this study were to determine if there was prior knowledge of the radiography profession before enrolment at the institution; if career guidance and education was offered at school level as well as to investigate whether they will remain within the profession in the next five years. Methods: An inductive exploratory qualitative method was used with a convenience sampling technique. Data were collected using semi-structured group interviews with open and closed-ended questions. Group interviews were conducted online and recorded. Thematic analysis was used to analyze exploratory data. Descriptive data were analyzed using SPSS software. Results: A total of forty-four learners were interviewed in groups of 6-8 per interview, bringing the interviews to a total of seven groups. Majority of participants were females (59%, n=26) and the mean age of participants was 20.5 years. The majority of participants (68.2%) felt that career guidance would have played a role in their career choices and wished they could have had more knowledge about radiography profession before they enrolled in the program. Conclusion: This study confirmed that most learners had limited knowledge about the radiography profession before enrolment due to lack of career guidance at school level. However, for some, this lack of knowledge was altered by their first clinical practice exposure. Additionally, for participants who ended up in the radiography program as a second career choice without any prior knowledge and guidance, their views on progression and retention in the profession changed as a result of their first clinical exposure in the X-ray department. This study identified the need for career guidance to be addressed vigorously and universally in secondary schools. Work shadowing emerged as a significant factor to the choice of career, retention, and progression and therefore, further research is needed to explore this aspect in more depth.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Career guidance
  • Higher education institutions
  • Radiography


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