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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 2016

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

     
Metro Area (Alabama) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Birmingham 90 $76,860
Hoover 90 $76,860
Mobile N/A $79,540
     
Metro Area (Arizona) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Scottsdale 290 $74,910
Mesa 290 $74,910
Phoenix 290 $74,910
     
Metro Area (Arkansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Conway 120 $63,310
North Little Rock 120 $63,310
Little Rock 120 $63,310
     
Metro Area (California) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Los Angeles 240 $109,760
Long Beach 240 $109,760
Anaheim 240 $109,760
San Bernardino 140 $109,870
Ontario 140 $109,870
Riverside 140 $109,870
Hayward 120 $126,940
Oakland 120 $126,940
San Francisco 120 $126,940
Carlsbad 110 $118,400
San Diego 110 $118,400
Sunnyvale 90 $130,280
Santa Clara 90 $130,280
San Jose 90 $130,280
Santa Rosa 40 $113,540
Arcade 40 $135,070
Arden 40 $135,070
Roseville 40 $135,070
Sacramento 40 $135,070
     
Metro Area (Colorado) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lakewood 110 $89,270
Aurora 110 $89,270
Denver 110 $89,270
Colorado Springs N/A $91,140
     
Metro Area (Florida) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
St. Petersburg 420 $97,890
Tampa 420 $97,890
Clearwater 420 $97,890
Miami 220 $86,530
West Palm Beach 220 $86,530
Fort Lauderdale 220 $86,530
Sanford 100 $77,850
Kissimmee 100 $77,850
Orlando 100 $77,850
Tallahassee 80 $90,980
Jacksonville 70 $70,030
Gainesville 70 $77,870
Ormond Beach 60 $74,090
Deltona 60 $74,090
Daytona Beach 60 $74,090
Melbourne 50 $79,720
Titusville 50 $79,720
Palm Bay 50 $79,720
Ocala N/A $75,390
     
Metro Area (Georgia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Roswell 370 $77,610
Sandy Springs 370 $77,610
Atlanta 370 $77,610
     
Metro Area (Indiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anderson 160 $81,150
Carmel 160 $81,150
Indianapolis 160 $81,150
     
Metro Area (Kansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Wichita N/A $53,000
     
Metro Area (Kentucky) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Fayette N/A $79,350
Lexington N/A $79,350
     
Metro Area (Louisiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Metairie 120 $71,200
New Orleans 120 $71,200
Baton Rouge 70 $62,160
     
Metro Area (Maryland) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Towson 160 $83,150
Columbia 160 $83,150
Baltimore 160 $83,150
     
Metro Area (Michigan) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dearborn 160 $73,050
Warren 160 $73,050
Detroit 160 $73,050
     
Metro Area (Mississippi) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Jackson 40 $87,870
     
Metro Area (Nevada) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Paradise 40 $62,900
Henderson 40 $62,900
Las Vegas 40 $62,900
     
Metro Area (New Jersey) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Hammonton 30 $97,890
Atlantic City 30 $97,890
     
Metro Area (New York) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Niagara Falls 180 $60,010
Cheektowaga 180 $60,010
Buffalo 180 $60,010
Schenectady 160 $78,900
Troy 160 $78,900
Albany 160 $78,900
Rochester 120 $69,930
     
Metro Area (North Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Durham 80 $74,160
Chapel Hill 80 $74,160
High Point 80 $75,070
Greensboro 80 $75,070
Raleigh 60 $78,090
     
Metro Area (Ohio) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Elyria 260 $71,420
Cleveland 260 $71,420
Akron 40 $76,750
Columbus 40 $77,420
     
Metro Area (Oklahoma) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Oklahoma City 140 $77,560
Tulsa 140 $78,970
     
Metro Area (Pennsylvania) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Pittsburgh 70 $64,220
     
Metro Area (Tennessee) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Franklin 120 $71,210
Nashville 120 $71,210
Murfreesboro 120 $71,210
Davidson 120 $71,210
Knoxville 90 $66,670
     
Metro Area (Texas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Sugar Land 370 $91,170
The Woodlands 370 $91,170
Houston 370 $91,170
New Braunfels 40 $73,130
San Antonio 40 $73,130
Waco 30 $54,950
Tyler N/A $53,410
Arlington N/A $58,060
Fort Worth N/A $58,060
Dallas N/A $58,060
McAllen N/A $76,580
Edinburg N/A $76,580
Mission N/A $76,580
     
Metro Area (Utah) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salt Lake City 70 $74,750
Orem 40 $73,360
Provo 40 $73,360
     
Metro Area (Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Richmond 70 $71,330
     
Metro Area (Washington) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bellevue 270 $105,720
Tacoma 270 $105,720
Seattle 270 $105,720
Richland N/A $74,180
Kennewick N/A $74,180
     
Metro Area (Wisconsin) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Allis 100 $90,920
Waukesha 100 $90,920
Milwaukee 100 $90,920
Madison 50 $76,320

Most Popular Industries for :
Radiation Therapists

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

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

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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  • X-Ray Technician/Back Office Medical Assistant

About Brightwood College

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Vista
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  • Diagnostic Medical Sonography
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  • 3 campuses in Southern California.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
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Anaheim
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  • Degree - Diagnostic Medical Sonography
  • Many programs require externships, allowing students to gain real-world experience.
  • Approved A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 1984.
  • Offers 22 accelerated, career-focused program options including business administration, medical assisting, and more.
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  • Associate of Occupational Science in Surgical Technology
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  • Master of Science in Healthcare Informatics
  • Ranked among the 2015 Best National Universities by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Designated as a 2014-2015 College of Distinction.
  • Average class size of 20, with a student teacher ratio of 10:1.
  • Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
  • Diverse campus life with over 80 student organizations, including Greek-letter societies and academic honor societies.
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  • A.S. - Healthcare Technology and Systems
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  • MSN Informatics Specialization

The University

With over 80 years of academic achievements, Jacksonville University is a traditional, longstanding institution consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of America's best colleges.

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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