Career Profile: Radiation Therapist

Career Profile Radiation Therapist

A Radiation Therapist is a medical professional that administer, monitor and document treatments as prescribed by a radiation oncologist. Typically, Radiation Therapists have direct contact with cancer patients. Specific duties include: Preparing therapy rooms, understanding radiation safety measures, monitoring and documenting radiation treatments, positioning patients, applying ionizing radiation, communicating with and comforting patients. Radiation Therapists work in hospitals, cancer treatment facilities, and oncology practices.

In order to become registered to practice, a Radiation Therapist must satisfactorily complete an associate’s degree program that is accredited and recognized by the department of education.  After completion of the program, they then must pass a certification exam administered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). The prerequisites for entry into our ABHES accredited program include a High School diploma or GED. Candidates will also have an interview with program staff before being admitted into the program and will be expected to pass a background check as well as a drug test.

The ideal Radiation Therapist is an excellent oral communicator with both patients and colleagues. They are comfortable and efficient with old and new technology. Radiation Therapist must have stamina and a caring personality to work with cancer patients, personal discipline to ensure patient safety, and a knowledge base of the appropriate operational protocols.

Employment of radiation therapists is projected to grow by 27 percent between 2008 and 2018, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. The growing elderly population is expected to cause an increase in the number of people needing treatment. In addition, as radiation technology becomes safer and more effective, it will be prescribed more often, leading to an increased demand for radiation therapists. Growth is likely to be rapid across all practice settings, including hospitals, physicians’ offices, and outpatient centers.

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook