Radiation Therapists

radiation therapists
$89,530 Median Wage (2022)
700 Projected job openings (2022-2032)
2.40% Projected growth (2022-2032)

Provide radiation therapy to patients as prescribed by a radiation oncologist according to established practices and standards. Duties may include reviewing prescription and diagnosis; acting as liaison with physician and supportive care personnel; preparing equipment, such as immobilization, treatment, and protection devices; and maintaining records, reports, and files. May assist in dosimetry procedures and tumor localization.

Experience Requirements Overview

  • Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed
  • Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.
  • Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.
  • Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.

Education, Training and Experience

Required Level of Education: Associate's Degree (or other 2-year degree)

Related Work Experience: Over 1 year, up to and including 2 years

On-Site or In-Plant Training: Over 1 year, up to and including 2 years

On-the-Job Training: Over 1 year, up to and including 2 years

Detailed Work Activities

  • Schedule patient procedures or appointments.
  • Operate diagnostic or therapeutic medical instruments or equipment.
  • Administer cancer treatments.
  • Position patients for treatment or examination.
  • Adjust settings or positions of medical equipment.
  • Enter patient or treatment data into computers.
  • Protect patients or staff members using safety equipment.
  • Maintain medical facility records.
  • Verify accuracy of patient information.
  • Examine medical instruments or equipment to ensure proper operation.
  • Monitor patient conditions during treatments, procedures, or activities.
  • Inform medical professionals regarding patient conditions and care.
  • Examine patients to assess general physical condition.
  • Explain medical procedures or test results to patients or family members.
  • Interact with patients to build rapport or provide emotional support.
  • Calculate numerical data for medical activities.
  • Fabricate medical devices.
  • Process x-rays or other medical images.
  • Operate diagnostic imaging equipment.
  • Develop medical treatment plans.
  • Train medical providers.
  • Supervise patient care personnel.
  • Assist healthcare practitioners during examinations or treatments.
  • Prepare medications or medical solutions.
  • Sterilize medical equipment or instruments.

Work Values

Achievement

Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.

Working Conditions

Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

Recognition

Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

Relationships

Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.

Support

Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.

Independence

Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

Tasks

  • Position patients for treatment with accuracy, according to prescription.
  • Administer prescribed doses of radiation to specific body parts, using radiation therapy equipment according to established practices and standards.
  • Follow principles of radiation protection for patient, self, and others.
  • Review prescription, diagnosis, patient chart, and identification.
  • Conduct most treatment sessions independently, in accordance with the long-term treatment plan and under the general direction of the patient's physician.
  • Enter data into computer and set controls to operate or adjust equipment or regulate dosage.
  • Check radiation therapy equipment to ensure proper operation.
  • Observe and reassure patients during treatment and report unusual reactions to physician or turn equipment off if unexpected adverse reactions occur.
  • Educate, prepare, and reassure patients and their families by answering questions, providing physical assistance, and reinforcing physicians' advice regarding treatment reactions or post-treatment care.
  • Maintain records, reports, or files as required, including such information as radiation dosages, equipment settings, or patients' reactions.
  • Check for side effects, such as skin irritation, nausea, or hair loss to assess patients' reaction to treatment.
  • Prepare or construct equipment, such as immobilization, treatment, or protection devices.
  • Help physicians, radiation oncologists, or clinical physicists to prepare physical or technical aspects of radiation treatment plans, using information about patient condition and anatomy.
  • Calculate actual treatment dosages delivered during each session.
  • Photograph treated area of patient and process film.
  • Act as liaison with physicist and supportive care personnel.
  • Schedule patients for treatment times.
  • Provide assistance to other healthcare personnel during dosimetry procedures and tumor localization.
  • Train or supervise student or subordinate radiotherapy technologists.
  • Implement appropriate follow-up care plans.
  • Store, sterilize, or prepare the special applicators containing the radioactive substance implanted by the physician.
  • Assist in the preparation of sealed radioactive materials, such as cobalt, radium, cesium, or isotopes, for use in radiation treatments.

Work Styles

Achievement/Effort

Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.

Persistence

Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.

Initiative

Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

Leadership

Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.

Cooperation

Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

Concern for Others

Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.

Social Orientation

Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.

Self-Control

Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

Stress Tolerance

Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.

Adaptability/Flexibility

Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.

Dependability

Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.

Attention to Detail

Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.

Integrity

Job requires being honest and ethical.

Independence

Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.

Innovation

Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

Analytical Thinking

Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.

Data Source: This page includes information from the O*NET 28.0 Database by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA. This page includes Employment Projections program, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics program, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.