Radiation Therapists: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more

Education Required
Employers usually prefer to hire applicants who have an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in radiation therapy. However, candidates may qualify for some positions by completing a certificate program.
Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 12% (Faster than average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
Advancement
With additional education and certification, therapists can become medical dosimetrists. Dosimetrists are responsible for calculating the correct dose of radiation that is used in the treatment of cancer patients.
Licenses/Certifications
In most states, radiation therapists must be licensed or certified. Requirements vary by state, but typically include graduation from an accredited radiation therapy program and ARRT certification.
Median pay: How much do Radiation Therapists make?
$80,160 Annual Salary
$38.54 per hour

Radiation therapists treat cancer and other diseases in patients by administering radiation treatments.

What do Radiation Therapists do?

Radiation therapists typically do the following:

  • Explain treatment plans to the patient and answer questions about treatment
  • Protect the patients and themselves from improper exposure to radiation
  • Determine the exact location of the area requiring treatment
  • Calibrate and operate the machine to treat the patient with radiation
  • Monitor the patient to check for unusual reactions to the treatment
  • Keep detailed records of treatment

Radiation therapists operate machines, such as linear accelerators, to deliver concentrated radiation therapy to the region of a patient’s tumor. Radiation treatment can shrink or remove cancers and tumors.

Radiation therapists are part of the oncology teams that treat patients with cancer. They often work with the following specialists:

  • Radiation oncologists are physicians who specialize in radiation therapy
  • Oncology nurses specialize in caring for patients with cancer
  • Medical physicists help in planning of radiation treatments, develop better and safer radiation therapies, and check that radiation output is accurate

Careers for Radiation Therapists

  • Dosimetrists
  • Medical dosimetrists
  • Radiation therapy technologists
  • Registered radiation therapists

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