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Life As a Radiation Therapist

Radiation Therapist Definition Provide radiation therapy to patients as prescribed by a radiologist according to established practices and standards. Duties may include reviewing prescription and diagnosis; acting as liaison with physician and supportive care personnel; preparing equipment, such as immobilization, treatment, and protection devices; and maintaining records, reports, and files. May assist in dosimetry procedures and tumor localization.

A Day in the Life of a Radiation Therapist

  • Follow principles of radiation protection for patient, self, and others.
  • Observe and reassure patients during treatment and report unusual reactions to physician or turn equipment off if unexpected adverse reactions occur.
  • Provide assistance to other healthcare personnel during dosimetry procedures and tumor localization.
  • Prepare or construct equipment, such as immobilization, treatment, or protection devices.
  • Act as liaison with physicist and supportive care personnel.
  • Educate, prepare, and reassure patients and their families by answering questions, providing physical assistance, and reinforcing physicians' advice regarding treatment reactions or post-treatment care.

What Skills Do You Need to Work as a Radiation Therapist?

Below is a list of the skills most Radiation Therapists say are important on the job.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Operation Monitoring: Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.

Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

  • Radiology Therapist
  • Senior Radiation Therapist
  • Staff Radiation Therapist
  • Computed Tomography Simulation Therapist (CT Simulation Therapist)
  • Registered Radiation Therapist

Is There Job Demand for Radiation Therapists?

In the United States, there were 19,100 jobs for Radiation Therapist in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 12.6% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 2,400 new jobs for Radiation Therapist by 2026. The BLS estimates 1,200 yearly job openings in this field.

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The states with the most job growth for Radiation Therapist are Utah, Colorado, and Idaho. Watch out if you plan on working in Wyoming, Vermont, or Maine. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Radiation Therapist Salary

Radiation Therapists make between $56,360 and $124,320 a year.

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Radiation Therapists who work in California, Oregon, or Connecticut, make the highest salaries.

How much do Radiation Therapists make in each U.S. state?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $86,020
Arizona $84,990
Arkansas $70,940
California $114,280
Colorado $92,670
Connecticut $105,570
Delaware $96,610
District of Columbia $78,610
Florida $86,420
Georgia $86,510
Idaho $86,830
Illinois $86,200
Indiana $82,920
Iowa $78,260
Kansas $66,310
Kentucky $83,950
Louisiana $69,340
Maine $87,000
Maryland $89,120
Massachusetts $93,540
Michigan $79,720
Minnesota $83,270
Mississippi $83,130
Missouri $75,340
Montana $81,580
Nebraska $83,260
Nevada $87,940
New Hampshire $92,770
New Jersey $107,850
New Mexico $89,230
New York $99,710
North Carolina $76,000
Ohio $81,420
Oklahoma $75,080
Oregon $105,970
Pennsylvania $82,660
Rhode Island $94,110
South Carolina $88,850
South Dakota $83,790
Tennessee $73,490
Texas $84,460
Utah $85,760
Vermont $91,440
Virginia $81,550
Washington $101,830
West Virginia $61,230
Wisconsin $75,850

What Tools do Radiation Therapists Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Radiation Therapists:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Web browser software
  • Electronic medical record EMR software
  • Image processing software
  • Radiation dose calculation software

How do I Become a Radiation Therapist?

Learn what Radiation Therapist education requirements there are.

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What work experience do I need to become a Radiation Therapist?

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Where Radiation Therapists Work

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The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.

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References:

Image Credit: via Public domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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