Radiation therapist essential career information:
- 2012 median pay: $77,560
- 2012, number of jobs: 18,230
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 20 percent
- Entry level education requirements: Associate’s degree
Radiation therapists; what they do:
A radiation therapist career appeals to people interested in science and technology who also enjoy taking care of people, especially cancer patients.
Radiation therapists provide radiation treatments to help patients with cancer and other diseases. The radiation treatments shrink and/or remove tumors and other diseases from a patient’s body.
A typical day for a radiation therapist technologist consists of reviewing radiation machines and other technological equipment to ensure the equipment works properly. A radiation therapist technologist career includes explaining treatment plans and answering questions to help patients feel safe, educated and informed.
Radiation therapist careers include checking advanced computer systems to make sure they administer the right dose of treatment to the correct area of the patient’s body. Radiation therapist careers also involves following safety procedures to prevent overexposure.
Radiation therapists are part of an oncology team and work with numerous specialists including radiation oncologists, dosimetrists and oncology nurses.
Radiation therapists job titles:
- Computed Tomography Simulation Therapist
- Radiation Therapy Technologist
- Registered Radiation Therapist
- Radiation Therapist Technologist
- Staff Radiation Therapist
Radiation Therapists Education, Certification and License Requirements
Radiation therapists typically need a Bachelor of Radiation Therapy degree or an Associate in Radiation Therapy degree to begin a radiation therapist career. In most states, radiation therapists need a license, graduate from an accredited radiation school program and obtain certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).
A certified radiation therapist must complete an accredited radiation therapy program, work with ARRT ethical standards, and pass the radiation therapist certification exam. The ARRT exam covers clinical concepts in radiation oncology, radiation safety and quality assurance, treatment planning and delivery, and patient care and education.
Radiation therapists programs cover subjects such as:
- Principals of oncology
- Radiation physics
- Radiation Biology
- Cancer care
- Treatment planning
- Clinical practice
Radiation Therapists Job Outlook
Forecast: 20 percent job growth for radiation therapists between 2010 and 2020. However, the employment growth only creates about 3,400 jobs over a 10-year period.
Cancer associated with the growing geriatric population increases the demand for radiation therapists. Also, the increase of advanced treatment techniques and technology, along with early detection and diagnosis increases the number of radiation therapy jobs.
Radiation Therapists Salary
- 2012 median annual wage: $77,560
- 2012 workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $94,790
- 2012, workers at the 25th percentile annual wage: $63,340
- Cancer centers
- Other healthcare facilities