Radiation Therapist Career - Salary, Duties & Job Information

Radiation Therapists Career Description

Treatment of patients undergoing treatment for cancer through radiation therapy equipments is the main role of a radiation therapist. They are specialized members of the health team who design, treat and supervise radiation equipment during the radiation phase of treatment. After consulting with the various members of the health team like the physician, the radiation therapist interprets the prescription or treatment and decides the best course of treatment which exposes the patient to the least danger.

They are highly skilled members of the health team. Radiation Therapist duties include recording, interpreting and administering radiation treatment. They also help facilitate other medical procedures such as X-rays, Ct scans and fluoroscopy. Radiation therapist must be detailed, accurate in recording data with the ability to work independently and as part of a team.

As part of their Radiation Therapist duties, they may conduct researches into radiation treatment and research. They are tasked with maintaining the well-being of the patient during treatment and decide whether a patient should continue with the course of treatment. They also possess a good background of anatomy, radiation biology, human physiology, medical physics and oncology.

Work Environment

Radiation therapists generally work in sterile or clean environments. This is ensuring that patients don’t become infected. They have day jobs because radiation therapy usually occurs in the day shift. Radiation therapists are not required for emergency cases because it is not an emergency way of treating patients. Radiation therapist should possess physically fit bodies because constant lifting of patients is needed.

Employment Opportunities

Radiation Therapist opportunities are found in hospitals, centers for oncology treatment, clinics and universities. Only a few medical professionals take this medical field. Salaries are on the upscale compared to other medical professionals. Highly specialized in their own fields, they are only one of the few who deal with oncology treatment. Career advancement is through continued education with job opportunities in the educational field, management and commercial research.

How much does a Radiation Therapist make - Radiation Therapist Salary and Wages

Numbers of year of practice in the hospital setting is the main basis for Radiation Therapist salary range. Those who just started the practice or those with four years or less experience make $70,000 a year depending on the type of institution with bigger and well known hospital giving larger monthly wages. Radiation therapists with five to nine year experiences are at the $80,000 range as they move up in their careers. Veterans or those who have ten or more years experience have salaries in the $95,000 level.

Variations in the Radiation Therapist salary range are not huge in terms of tenure or stay in the hospital; persons who have just entered a career in radiation therapist don’t notice great increases in income through the years. Opportunities for increasing the salary grade are done through moving up the career ladder.

How to become a Radiation Therapist

Educational and Training

In order for an individual to be practice a career as a radiation therapist in the United States, a bachelor's Radiation Therapist degree or equivalent is required. They must be certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) and state licensed. Around 32 states require individuals to get certification; this usually lasts for one year and is renewed subsequently. They must ARRT certification and complete accredited radiologic therapy approved program training. Exams cover concepts regarding oncology, treatment planning, treatment delivery and patient care and education. They must be able to perform calculations, beam adjustments and be able to insure care in low and high risk radiation procedures and treatments to meet Radiation Therapist qualifications.

Common radiation therapist courses include English, Computer Science, Human Anatomy and Physiology, Pre-Calculus, Chemistry, Statistics, and Physics.

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