What is a Radiation Therapist

A Radiation Therapist, also known as a Therapeutic Radiographer, is a radiation expert who generally works as a part of an oncology team inside medical institutions.

The Therapist's main responsibility is to provide radiation treatment and therapy to all individuals in tandem with the expertise and advice of the patient's oncologist. This also involves explaining the treatment to patients and their families, building a connection with them, answering their questions, as well as using equipment to monitor any progress or changes in the patient, and reporting on the changes to the head doctor.

They also maintain and regularly test the equipment used for monitoring and for the appliance of the treatment and regularly reading about new research and discoveries in the field of oncology to better their own medical understanding and the quality and method of their work.

A person hoping to work as a Radiation Therapist should have a bachelor's degree in radiation therapy and even previous work experience. A good understanding of the tools and methods at hand is important, and an eye for detail, technical and communication skills is essential as well.

What Does a Radiation Therapist Do

Radiation therapists treat cancer and other diseases in patients by administering radiation treatments.

Learn more about what a Radiation Therapist does

How To Become a Radiation Therapist

Most radiation therapists complete programs that lead to an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in radiation therapy. Radiation therapists must be licensed or certified in most states. Requirements vary by state, but often include passing a national certification exam.

Education

Employers usually prefer to hire applicants who have an associate’s degree or a bachelor's degree in radiation therapy. However, candidates may qualify for some positions by completing a 12-month certificate program.

Radiation therapy programs include courses in radiation therapy procedures and the scientific theories behind them. These programs often include experience in a clinical setting and courses in human anatomy and physiology, physics, algebra, computer science, and research methodology. In 2014, there were about 120 accredited educational programs recognized by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.

Important Qualities

Detail oriented. Radiation therapists must follow exact instructions and input exact measurements to make sure the patient is exposed to the correct amount of radiation.

Interpersonal skills. Radiation therapists work closely with patients. It is important that therapists be comfortable interacting with people who may be going through physical and emotional stress.

Physical stamina. Radiation therapists must be able to be on their feet for long periods and be able to lift and move patients who need assistance.

Technical skills. Radiation therapists work with computers and large pieces of technological equipment, so they must be comfortable operating those devices.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

In most states, radiation therapists must be licensed or certified. Requirements vary by state, but typically include graduation from an accredited radiation therapy program and American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification.

To become ARRT certified, an applicant must complete an accredited radiation therapy program, adhere to ARRT ethical standards, and pass the ARRT certification exam. The exam covers radiation protection and quality assurance, clinical concepts in radiation oncology, treatment planning, treatment delivery, and patient care and education. A list of accredited programs is available from ARRT.

Many jobs also require cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or basic life support (BLS) certification.

Advancement

With additional education and certification, therapists can become medical dosimetrists. Dosimetrists are responsible for calculating the correct dose of radiation that is used in the treatment of cancer patients.

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Average Salary
$81,149
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
9%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
57,705
Job Openings
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Average Salary for a Radiation Therapist

Radiation Therapists in America make an average salary of $81,149 per year or $39 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $101,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $64,000 per year.
Average Salary
$81,149
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Radiation Therapist Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Radiation Therapist. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Radiation Therapist Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Radiation Therapist resumes and compiled some information about how to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

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Radiation Therapist Demographics

Radiation Therapist Gender Statistics

female

62.3 %

male

34.7 %

unknown

2.9 %

Radiation Therapist Ethnicity Statistics

White

72.6 %

Black or African American

11.9 %

Hispanic or Latino

8.8 %

Radiation Therapist Foreign Languages Spoken Statistics

Spanish

63.9 %

French

4.2 %

Portuguese

2.8 %
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Radiation Therapist Education

Radiation Therapist Degrees

Associate

40.3 %

Bachelors

39.7 %

Certificate

15.1 %

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High School / GED
Associate
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Master's
Doctorate

Top Colleges for Radiation Therapists

1. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596

2. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Private

In-State Tuition
$15,262
Enrollment
30,079

3. Yale University

New Haven, CT • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,430
Enrollment
5,963

4. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,188
Enrollment
15,105

5. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,987
Enrollment
18,946

6. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

7. Georgetown University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,104
Enrollment
7,089

8. Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN • Private

In-State Tuition
$49,816
Enrollment
6,840

9. Tufts University

Medford, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,382
Enrollment
5,597

10. University of Florida

Gainesville, FL • Private

In-State Tuition
$6,381
Enrollment
34,564
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Online Courses For Radiation Therapist That You May Like

Life, Health and Radiation
coursera

Radiation is all around us - without it we wouldn't exist. Yet the word has become synonymous with danger, death and disaster. This MOOC will allow the world to see radiation in a new light, to expose its benefits as well as its risks. X-ray radiation, for example, is a scientific and medical discovery that has improved or prolonged billions of lives. Most of us have had an X-ray at some point in our life, at the Dentist, in a hospital or clinic. Yet few people really understand what X-rays are...

Prehospital care of acute stroke and patient selection for endovascular treatment using the RACE scale
coursera

Acute stroke is a time-dependent medical emergency. In acute ischemic stroke, the first objective is to restore brain flow using sistemic thrombolytic treatment and, in patients with large vessel occlusion, by endovascular treatment. In hemorrhagic stroke there are also specific treatments that can improve the clinical outcome. The sooner the initiation of all these therapies the higher the clinical benefit. Thus, the organization of Stroke Code systems coordinated between emergency medical syst...

Patient Safety
coursera

Preventable patient harms, including medical errors and healthcare-associated complications, are a global public health threat. Moreover, patients frequently do not receive treatments and interventions known to improve their outcomes. These shortcomings typically result not from individual clinicians' mistakes, but from systemic problems - communication breakdowns, poor teamwork, and poorly designed care processes, to name a few.\n\nThe Patient Safety & Quality Leadership Specialization covers t...

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Top Skills For a Radiation Therapist

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 17.6% of Radiation Therapists listed Radiation Oncologist on their resume, but soft skills such as Detail oriented and Physical stamina are important as well.

12 Radiation Therapist RESUME EXAMPLES

Best States For a Radiation Therapist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a Radiation Therapist. The best states for people in this position are Alaska, Mississippi, West Virginia, and Missouri. Radiation Therapists make the most in Alaska with an average salary of $119,745. Whereas in Mississippi and West Virginia, they would average $117,917 and $115,908, respectively. While Radiation Therapists would only make an average of $115,442 in Missouri, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. North Dakota

Total Radiation Therapist Jobs:
193
Highest 10% Earn:
$163,000
Location Quotient:
1.77
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Nebraska

Total Radiation Therapist Jobs:
378
Highest 10% Earn:
$170,000
Location Quotient:
1.45
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Missouri

Total Radiation Therapist Jobs:
938
Highest 10% Earn:
$177,000
Location Quotient:
1.36
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Radiation Therapists

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Becoming a Radiation Therapist FAQs

Do radiation therapists make good money?

Yes, radiation therapists make good money. The average salary for radiation therapists in the United States is around $85,000 per year. Salaries typically start from $59,000 and go up to $130,000.

Several factors can influence the salary of a radiation therapist. These factors can include experience, education, industry, company, and location. All five of these components combined will influence the salary of a radiation therapist.

While entry-level salaries for radiation therapists may be lower than the median $85,000 a year, the reverse is true. It is not uncommon for experienced radiation therapists to make $100,000 to $130,000 a year.

This is especially true if a radiation therapist has a bachelor's degree in radiation therapy, as their level of education will provide them additional credentials to earn higher incomes.

Additionally, industry makes a large impact on salary. This is especially true if a radiation therapist works at a large and influential hospital in the northeast or west coasts. These radiation therapists can earn significantly more in a year for their services.

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How many years does it take to become a radiation therapist?

It takes two to four years to become a radiation therapist. Becoming a radiation therapist takes between two and four years to obtain your desired degree. An associate's degree takes two years to complete, and a bachelor's of science in radiation therapy takes four years to complete.

Although a 12-month certificate program in radiation therapy is technically all a person needs to practice, most employers would rather hire radiation therapists with at least an associate's degree.

Additionally, bachelor's degrees in radiation therapy are quickly becoming the norm. Students will learn how to complete radiation therapy procedures and the scientific theories behind the procedures in these programs.

Most states also require licensure, which usually involves graduating from an accredited program and becoming certified through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. Certification also involves graduating from an accredited program, agreeing to and abiding by ethical standards, and passing a certification exam.

Radiation therapists are part of a dedicated team of healthcare professionals who work together to treat cancer and other diseases using radiation.

Radiation therapists do more than just administer radiation; they also gather patient data and plan for the treatment. This is why some employers require additional education, training, and time to be employed within the role.

Learn more about this question

Is being a radiation therapist a good job?

Yes, being a radiation therapist is a good job. Radiation therapists are in high demand, are paid well, and provide a service that actively helps many people.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, radiation therapy employment is expected to grow 9% by 2028, faster than average employment growth. This means that radiation therapists are in high demand across the United States.

Radiation therapy uses radiation to control or kill malignant cancer cells. Radiation therapists work alongside radiation oncologists and prepare patients for treatment, apply ionizing radiation therapy, and support patients throughout their care.

These professionals work with CAT scans, X-rays, and cone-beam computed tomography before administering radiation. These technologies enable them to accurately position cancer patients to administer the radiation precisely.

Radiation therapists are experts on computer technologies that accurately and correctly dose radiation to the radiation machine. They constantly monitor their patients and detail their treatment. Due to the high complexity of a radiation therapist's work, there are fewer qualified applicants than jobs to fill.

Earlier cancer diagnoses and new technologies are driving the need for more radiation therapists. The aging population also precipitates this demand since the risk of cancer increases with age.

All of this combined has caused the demand for radiation therapists to grow rapidly and will likely continue to grow over the next ten years, making it a good job for a person to pursue.

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Is it hard to become a radiation therapist?

No, it is not hard to become a radiation therapist. Becoming a radiation therapist takes between two and four years to obtain your desired degree. An associate's degree takes two years to complete, and a bachelor of science in radiation therapy takes four years.

Although a 12-month certificate program in radiation therapy is technically all a person needs to practice, most employers would rather hire radiation therapists with at least an associate's degree.

Additionally, bachelor's degrees in radiation therapy are quickly becoming the norm. Students will learn how to complete radiation therapy procedures and the scientific theories behind the procedures in these programs.

Most states also require licensure, which usually involves graduating from an accredited program and becoming certified through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. Certification also involves graduating from an accredited program, agreeing to and abiding by ethical standards, and passing a certification exam.

Radiation therapists are part of a dedicated team of healthcare professionals who work together to treat cancer and other diseases using radiation.

Radiation therapists do more than just administer radiation; they also gather patient data and plan for the treatment. This is why some employers require additional education, training, and time to be employed within the role.

Learn more about this question

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