Radiation Therapy Profession
Radiation therapy is a highly specialized branch of medicine that utilizes ionizing radiation in the treatment of disease. The aim of Radiation Therapy may be to cure the disease, or to alleviate symptoms such as pain. As a career, this field offers a challenging and rewarding work environment with other possibilities for personal advancement.
A radiation therapist is a professional member of a radiation oncology team that includes physicians, nurses, social workers, dosimetrists and physicists. A Therapist must possess the ability to communicate well with patients, other health care professionals and the public.
Although this is a highly technical field, the therapist will be called on to provide psychological support to the patient and their families. Therapists work closely with the social worker, oncology nurse and physician to assist oncology patients and their families through the physical and emotional issues encountered with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Radiation therapy is the ideal combination of technology and patient care. It is a rewarding profession that requires technical expertise, the ability to work in teams, strong communication skills and a fundamental care for others.
Students who graduate from the Radiation Therapy Program may also pursue an advanced degree in Medical Dosimetry or Health Administration.
A radiation therapist may work in a hospital or university-based department, a free-standing oncology clinic, research companies, or even a sales based business. The salary range varies not only with skill level but also with job duties. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the starting annual salary for a full-time radiation therapist is over $70,000.
Employment for radiation therapists is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations in the coming years. Job availability exists nationally, both in urban and rural areas.