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 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
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
offering this course of study click here.
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.
1255 Northland Drive
St. Paul, MN
Phone: (651) 687-0048
of Radiologic Technologists
Fax: (505) 298-5063