The role of a radiation therapist

Radiation Therapists have continual contact with patients throughout the course of their treatment, educating them about treatment, simulation procedures, and potential radiation side effects.  Radiation Therapists monitor and observe each patient's clinical progress and provide emotional support. Radiation Therapists are responsible for accurately interpreting, verifying, administering and recording the treatment prescribed by a Radiation Oncologist.

 As a member of the cancer management team, Radiation Therapists work closely with Radiation Oncologists, Oncology Nurses, Medical Physicists, Medical Dosimetrists, Social Workers, and Nutritionists, as well as Surgical Oncologists and Medical Oncologists (chemotherapy).

 Radiation Therapists:

  • integrate scientific knowledge, technical competence and patient interaction skills to provide safe and accurate treatment with compassion.
  • demonstrate an understanding of human anatomy, human physiology, pathology and medical terminology.
  • possess, use and maintain knowledge about radiation protection and safety.
  • are the primary liaison between patients and other members of the radiation oncology team.
  • participate in quality improvement processes and continually assess their professional performance.
  • think critically and use independent, professional and ethical judgments in all aspects of their work.



Career Opportunities

Career opportunities for radiation therapists are excellent, with jobs available in all parts of the country. Radiation therapists can be employed by hospitals, universities, clinics, or vendors who market radiation oncology equipment. Some radiation therapists work in independent or contract temporary positions and travel to facilities throughout the nation.

As the U.S. population grows and an increasing share of it is in older age groups, the number of people needing treatment is expected to increase and spur demand for radiation therapists.   

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