Radiation therapists treat cancer and other diseases in patients by giving radiation treatments.
Sample of Reported Job Titles
Radiation Therapist, Staff Radiation Therapist, Radiation Therapy Technologist (RTT), Registered Radiation Therapist, Computed Tomography Simulation Therapist (CT Simulation Therapist)
Radiation therapists typically do the following:
- Examine machines to make sure they are safe and work properly
- Explain treatment plans to the patient and answer questions about treatment
- Follow safety procedures to protect the patient and themselves from overexposure
- X-ray the patient to determine the exact location of the area requiring treatment
- Check the computer programs to make sure that they will give the correct dose of radiation to the correct area of the patient's body
- Operate the equipment to treat the patient with radiation
- Monitor the patient to check for unusual reactions to the treatment
- Keep detailed records of treatment
Most radiation therapy uses machines called linear accelerators. These machines direct high-energy x rays at specific cancer cells in a patient's body, shrinking or removing them.
Radiation therapists are part of the oncology team that treats patients with cancer. They often work with the following specialists:
- Radiation oncologists, physicians who specialize in radiation therapy
- Oncology nurses, nurses who specialize in patients with cancer
- Radiation physicists, physicists who calibrate linear accelerators
- Dosimetrists, workers who calculate the correct dose of radiation to use in the treatment
In most states, radiation therapists must have a license. Although most radiation therapists currently receive their license through pursuing an AS or BS in radiation therapy, the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) will require students receive an AS or BS degree from an accredited institution beginning January 1, 2015. Learn more about this policy change through ARRT's website.
Median Salary 2018
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of a Radiation Therapist in 2018 was $82,330.
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