Radiation therapy is a method of treatment for cancer in the human body. The radiation therapist is part of a radiation oncology team that treats patients with linear accelerators and external beam therapy. Radiation therapists typically work hand-in-hand with specialists administering chemotherapy and surgery. They keep a record of patient’s treatments and progress in order to determine the minimum amount of radiation needed for cancer prevention and elimination. Radiation therapists are considered a specialty position for advanced radiologic technologists.
Radiation Therapist Salary
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a median annual wage of approximately $73,000 for radiation therapists. The lowest 10 percent earned under $48,000 and the highest 10 percent earned $105,000 and more. Many employers reimburse radiation therapists for continuing education.
Training and Qualifications
How to become a radiation therapist- Radiation therapy schools certification programs, radiology technician education courses, and vocational career training programs, along with the more standard associates and bachelors degrees in radiation therapy. Completing one of these programs will be necessary to quality for a radiation therapist career.
In 2009, The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) accredited 102 different radiation therapy programs. Many schools currently offer the required courses, since the industry is expected to grow in upcoming years.
In 2008, 33 States required that radiation therapists also complete a licensure examination. For aspiring radiation therapists, you will want to consult your State board to see which specific requirements apply to you. Even if it’s not mandatory in your State, optional licensure is highly recommended to improve your chances of finding a radiation therapist work, following graduation from an accredited program.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 27 percent growth in the need for radiation therapists between 2008 and 2018. This staggering employment growth is due to the aging population and the higher percentage of cancer rates currently being found in the elderly. Now is a great time to get involved in the industry!
After several years of working a radiation therapist job, many professionals are able to advance to managerial positions, where they oversee a radiation oncology team. Advancement can also be achieved by returning to school for additional specialized education, from radiology colleges or technician schools. However, since radiation therapists are considered radiology specialists, advancement through specialty certification is not as likely, and it’s more often the case that individuals find career advancement through excelling in their daily duties.
To learn more about radiation therapist schools in your area, enter your information into our “Find Your School” widget at the top left of this page. Or, visit our radiologic technology page for more information about the entry-level programs in radiology.