What Do Radiation Therapists Do?
Radiation therapists are responsible for administering radiation treatments to patients in accordance with the proper dosage assigned by medical professionals as well as the standards put into place by the industry as a whole. The specific duties of a radiation therapist cover a wide range of areas that have to do with radiation treatment. A radiation therapist may be responsible for setting up equipment, interacting with patients and providing relevant information, reviewing paperwork about prescriptions and maintaining records on a patient. Specific responsibilities associated with radiation therapists include:● Adjusting the settings on various pieces of equipment● Examining medical instruments to ensure proper working conditions ● Processing medical images such as x-rays● Scheduling future appointments for patients● Verifying patient information There are 19,100 individuals employed as radiation therapists in the United States and its territories. As the medical industry continues to grow and expand, this number is expected to increase significantly. It is predicted that over the course of the next decade there will be a twenty-four percent increase in the number of job openings for radiation therapists. This will amount to roughly 840 openings created each year. By 2022, it is projected that there will be around 23,600 individuals employed as radiation therapists.
Radiation Therapists Skills and Abilities
Radiation therapists have to have a solid understanding of the medical industry, specifically in regards to radiation treatment. Since radiation therapists interact personally with patients, it is important that individuals in this position be able to communicate in a clear and informative way. Due to the sensitive nature of this treatment, it is expected that radiation therapists be able to calm or console patients as needed.
Radiation Therapists Duties
The duties of a radiation therapist are mainly focused on the care of patients who are in need of radiation therapy. Duties often include manipulating and adjusting the appropriate equipment, documenting relevant and important information on treatment and identifying objects based on the data that is provided. Specific responsibilities of a radiation therapist can include:● Administering prescribed doses of radiation to patients● Providing reassurance to patients during treatment● Preparing equipment for use and making appropriate adjustments● Calculating the proper dosage for a treatment
Radiation Therapists Tools and Technology
Radiation therapists work with a great deal of complicated medical equipment. This can include beam direction shells, radiation shielding lead aprons, monitors that document radiation levels, multi-leaf radiation therapy collimators and survey meters. It is also important that radiation therapists know how to read and manipulate graphic and photo imaging software.
Education and Training for Radiation Therapists
On average, a radiation therapist must have at least an Associate’s degree. As the field becomes more competitive, higher degrees are suggested even if they are not the standard for the industry. A Bachelor’s degree can prove very useful in this field, and around thirty-seven percent of radiation therapists hold this degree. Specialized programs are also required for radiation therapists to use equipment, and these may vary from state to state.
Radiation Therapists Salary
Due to the stressful nature of radiation treatment and the long hours that are involved, radiation therapists tend to make decent compensation for their work. On average, a radiation therapist will make around $80,100 annually. The top ten percent of radiation therapists can bring in close to $118,200 each year.
Radiation Therapists Jobs by Geography
The states with the highest number of radiation therapists are New York, California and Florida. Within the next ten years it is expected that Arizona, Arkansas and Puerto Rico will have the largest increase in radiation therapists. California, Rhode Island and New Jersey offer the highest annual salaries for those working in the field of radiation therapy.