Nursing Education
Nursing Education Opportunities in Mississippi - 2006  <more..>
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Radiation Therapist


Radiation Therapists assist radiation oncologists (physicians who use radiation to treat cancer) in administering radiation therapy. They expose a specific area of the patient’s body to ionizing radiation, which attacks and kills certain types of cancers. They also use other therapeutic equipment such as particle generators, high-energy linear accelerators, and radioactive isotopes. Radiation therapists are responsible for helping patients assume the correct positions for treatment and making them feel comfortable while the procedures are taking place. They are also in charge of monitoring the patient during treatment so that they can report any complications or adverse reactions to the therapy. One of the main responsibilities of a radiation therapist is to maintain very strict safety procedures because of the use of such dangerous radioactive materials. They must use sound judgment in an effort to maintain the safety of themselves, their patients, and other personnel that may work in the facility. Radiation therapists also help in recording patient’s treatments accurately and maintaining other medical records that can be vital in treatment and record keeping procedures. Individuals interested in radiation therapy should have the ability to communicate effectively, be compassionate, and have an understanding of medical terminology.

Work Environment:

Radiation therapists work in a variety of facilities including hospitals, cancer treatment centers, physician’s offices, educational facilities, governmental facilities, and research laboratories. Most therapist work a regular 40-hour workweek, but some facilities require nights and weekends work depending on the patient’s needs.

High School Preparation:

Students interested in radiation therapy should take high school courses in biology, anatomy and physiology, physics, chemistry, algebra, geometry, health occupations/medical professions education, English, computer skills, and history.

College Requirements:

Individuals entering a radiation therapy program should have a high school diploma or the equivalent. Programs range in length from a 1-year certificate program, a 2-year associate’s degree program, or a 4-year bachelor’s degree program. Certification can be obtained by passing an examination given by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.

Students interested in radiation therapy should contact schools for information on admission and course of study.

For educational institutions in Mississippi
offering this course of study click here.

Career Outlook:

Employment opportunities for radiation therapists are expected to grow much faster than the average for all other occupations. There will be an expansion of 21 - 35% in job opportunities over the next ten years. Due to the aging population and the emphasis on early detection of cancer, radiation therapy will become even more important in many health care facilities. On the other hand, because the equipment and procedures in this type of therapy are so expensive, some hospitals and insurance companies might be reluctant to invest heavily in radiation therapy. Some jobs will become available from the need to replace individuals who leave the profession for various reasons.




Average Annual Salary



Salary Range



Professional Organizations:


American Registry

of Radiologic Technologists
1255 Northland Drive
St. Paul, MN

Phone: (651) 687-0048


American Society of Radiologic Technologists

15000 Central

Avenue, SE

Alburquerque, NM 87123

Phone: (505) 298-5063

Fax: (505) 298-5063

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