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Radiation Therapists picture    Radiation Therapists image

Radiation Therapists

Radiation therapists are typically part of a cancer management team. They record, interpret and administer the treatments prescribed by a radiation oncologist. They utilize a variety of equipment such as cobalt units and linear accelerators. During a patient's treatment, radiation therapists help doctors use X-ray films, fluoroscopy or CT scans and outline anatomic areas that require treatment. They help locate tumors, update treatment reports and measure the amount of radiation.

Radiation therapists are in continual contact with patients during their course of treatment and provide education about the treatments and simulation procedures and explain the potential radiation side effects. Radiation therapists need to adhere to regulated standards in order to protect patients and practitioners from high doses of radiation. They also monitor a patient's progress and emotional needs.

Responsibilities

  • Monitor the patient's emotional state
  • Use internal images to find the precise location of the cancer
  • Observe and document the reaction of patients to their treatments
  • Look out for the safety of patients
  • Monitor the physical condition of the patient during the treatment phase
  • Answer patients' radiology questions
  • Maintain equipment
  • Follow all safety regulations regarding radiation exposure
  • Operate linear accelerator

Job Characteristics

The occupation involves a considerable amount of walking, standing, lifting and moving of patients. Radiation therapists need to wear special badges which monitor radiation exposure. They also need to adhere to safety procedures and programs. Radiation therapists usually work 40 hours per week. They typically only work during the day.

Radiation therapists should be empathetic to the suffering of others. Since they spend a lot of time with patients good communication skills are helpful. They should be detailed oriented.

Employment Outlook

The employment of radiation therapists has been projected to grow by 27 percent from 2008 to 2018 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics which is much faster than average for all occupations. The growing elderly population is forecasted to increase the demand for radiation treatments.

In 2008 the median annual salary for radiation therapists was $72,910. The top paid 10 percent earned more than $104,350.

Experienced radiation therapists may move up to positions including chief therapist, dosimetrist, manager of a radiation department, education director and administrative positions. Those that have a strong mathematical aptitude and acquire additional training may become dosimetrists, who utilize complex mathematical formulas to calculate the appropriate radiation doses.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

Employers typically require candidates to have completed a bachelor's or an associate degree program in radiation therapy. Candidates may become qualified for the occupation by completing a bachelor's or an associate degree program in radiography, which is the study of radiological imaging, and then earning a certificate from a one year program in radiation therapy. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists provides accreditation to radiation therapy programs.

There were 33 states in 2009 that required radiation therapists to be licensed by the State accrediting board. The licensing requirements vary by state. In many states applicants must pass the ARRT certification examination. Many employers require radiation therapists to be certified by ARRT. To become certified by ARRT, candidates need to complete an accredited radiation therapy program, pass the ARRT certification examination and adhere to ARRT ethical standards.

Radiation therapy programs provide courses in radiation therapy procedures as well as the related scientific theories. They usually include classes in physics, pre-calculus, algebra, human anatomy, physiology, research methodology and computer science.

Resources

Major Employers

The major employers are hospitals, clinics, independent cancer treatment centers and universities.

Schools for Radiation Therapists are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for:
Radiation Therapists

Listed below are metro areas sorted by the total number of people employed in Radiation Therapists jobs , as of 2015

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

     
Metro Area (Alabama) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Hoover 80 $75,480
Birmingham 80 $75,480
     
Metro Area (Arizona) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Scottsdale 270 $77,060
Mesa 270 $77,060
Phoenix 270 $77,060
     
Metro Area (Arkansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Conway 90 $79,400
North Little Rock 90 $79,400
Little Rock 90 $79,400
     
Metro Area (California) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anaheim 290 $100,730
Long Beach 290 $100,730
Los Angeles 290 $100,730
San Francisco 200 $119,370
Oakland 200 $119,370
Hayward 200 $119,370
San Bernardino 160 $104,960
Riverside 160 $104,960
Ontario 160 $104,960
Carlsbad 100 $114,950
San Diego 100 $114,950
Santa Clara 100 $123,070
San Jose 100 $123,070
Sunnyvale 100 $123,070
Santa Rosa 40 $111,430
Arcade 40 $132,400
Sacramento 40 $132,400
Arden 40 $132,400
Roseville 40 $132,400
     
Metro Area (Colorado) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lakewood 140 $86,690
Aurora 140 $86,690
Denver 140 $86,690
Colorado Springs 40 $90,190
     
Metro Area (Florida) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Tampa 460 $89,600
Clearwater 460 $89,600
St. Petersburg 460 $89,600
Miami 200 $85,710
West Palm Beach 200 $85,710
Fort Lauderdale 200 $85,710
Jacksonville 100 $73,930
Orlando 70 $75,660
Kissimmee 70 $75,660
Sanford 70 $75,660
Tallahassee 70 $90,780
Gainesville 60 $72,400
Melbourne 50 $76,090
Titusville 50 $76,090
Palm Bay 50 $76,090
Deltona 40 $68,390
Daytona Beach 40 $68,390
Ormond Beach 40 $68,390
Winter Haven N/A $79,110
Lakeland N/A $79,110
     
Metro Area (Georgia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Roswell 290 $74,930
Sandy Springs 290 $74,930
Atlanta 290 $74,930
     
Metro Area (Indiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anderson 140 $77,470
Carmel 140 $77,470
Indianapolis 140 $77,470
     
Metro Area (Louisiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
New Orleans 100 $73,240
Metairie 100 $73,240
Baton Rouge 70 $60,880
Bossier City 30 $48,770
Shreveport 30 $48,770
     
Metro Area (Maryland) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Towson 140 $75,920
Columbia 140 $75,920
Baltimore 140 $75,920
     
Metro Area (Michigan) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dearborn 210 $72,440
Warren 210 $72,440
Detroit 210 $72,440
     
Metro Area (Mississippi) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Jackson 40 $86,330
     
Metro Area (Nevada) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Paradise 40 $57,810
Henderson 40 $57,810
Las Vegas 40 $57,810
     
Metro Area (New Jersey) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Hammonton 30 $98,200
Atlantic City 30 $98,200
     
Metro Area (New York) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Niagara Falls 150 $59,290
Cheektowaga 150 $59,290
Buffalo 150 $59,290
Albany 100 $72,890
Schenectady 100 $72,890
Troy 100 $72,890
Rochester 80 $66,220
Syracuse 40 $63,900
     
Metro Area (North Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Durham 80 $74,200
Chapel Hill 80 $74,200
Asheville 50 $68,790
Raleigh 50 $80,160
High Point 40 $72,780
Greensboro 40 $72,780
     
Metro Area (Ohio) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Cleveland 260 $70,300
Elyria 260 $70,300
Columbus 40 $74,040
Massillon N/A $71,320
Canton N/A $71,320
Akron N/A $74,930
     
Metro Area (Oklahoma) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Oklahoma City 140 $81,750
Tulsa 110 $83,960
     
Metro Area (Pennsylvania) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Pittsburgh 80 $63,080
     
Metro Area (South Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Mauldin 30 $81,650
Anderson 30 $81,650
Greenville 30 $81,650
     
Metro Area (Tennessee) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Franklin 110 $72,440
Murfreesboro 110 $72,440
Davidson 110 $72,440
Nashville 110 $72,440
Knoxville 40 $69,890
     
Metro Area (Texas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Houston 390 $90,680
Sugar Land 390 $90,680
The Woodlands 390 $90,680
San Antonio 50 $77,280
New Braunfels 50 $77,280
Arlington N/A $54,760
Dallas N/A $54,760
Fort Worth N/A $54,760
Corpus Christi N/A $91,950
     
Metro Area (Utah) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salt Lake City 70 $74,480
     
Metro Area (Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Richmond 50 $77,640
     
Metro Area (Washington) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Seattle 200 $102,950
Bellevue 200 $102,950
Tacoma 200 $102,950
Spokane Valley N/A $73,280
Spokane N/A $73,280
     
Metro Area (Wisconsin) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Allis 80 $91,280
Waukesha 80 $91,280
Milwaukee 80 $91,280
Madison 70 $76,380

Most Popular Industries for :
Radiation Therapists

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Hospital 10,360 70% $71,840
Medical Office 3,550 24% $73,530
Office Services And Staffing 450 3% $79,070
Education 410 2% $80,540
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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Radiation Therapists.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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