Radiation Therapists

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Also known as:  Dosimetrist, Radiation Therapist, Radiation Therapy Technologist, Registered Radiation Therapist

ABOUT RADIATION THERAPIST CAREERS

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT Expand
In the treatment of patients with cancer, radiation therapists provide a crucial service. They operate highly sophisticated equipment that uses beams of radiation to destroy tumors. Also known as radiation therapy technologists, they work closely with physicians and radiologists to plan the safest d ...
ose for each patient.

Therapists must be strong enough to move or lift patients win order to position them properly. They monitor patients during treatment, keep records of results, and give guidance and emotional support to patients and their families.

Radiation therapists work in hospitals, clinics, and medical centers. While day shifts are the most common, some employers might require you to work evenings or weekends. There can be some exposure to radiation, but dangerous amounts are not likely. Therapists often wear protective gear and must always follow required safety procedures.

To become a radiation therapist, you need to complete a certificate program or have an associate or bachelor's degree in radiation therapy and some knowledge of medicine, dentistry, computers, and electronics.

Radiation therapists must also pass a national exam to obtain their certification. Community colleges and universities and some hospitals offer training programs. Employers often prefer graduates who also pass a national certification exam.

In some states, these therapists must be licensed. Radiation therapy is a valuable and commonly used weapon in fighting cancer. Radiation therapists will be increasingly needed to help save lives through technology.
SNAPSHOT Expand
Provide radiation therapy to patients as prescribed by a radiologist 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.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
HIGH
Competition for this position
HIGH
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
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DAILY TASKS Expand
Implement appropriate follow-up care plans.
Calculate actual treatment dosages delivered during each session.
Prepare or construct equipment, such as immobilization, treatment, or protection devices.
Train or supervise student or subordinate radiotherapy technologists.
Provide assistance to other healthcare personnel during dosimetry procedures and tumor localization.
Enter data into computer and set controls to operate or adjust equipment or regulate dosage.
Help physicians, radiation oncologists, or clinical physicists to prepare physical or technical aspects of radiation treatment plans, using information about patient condition and anatomy.
Check for side effects, such as skin irritation, nausea, or hair loss to assess patients' reaction to treatment.
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.
Check radiation therapy equipment to ensure proper operation.
MAIN ACTIVITIES Expand
Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Controlling Machines and Processes Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE Expand
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Medicine and Dentistry Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
Physics Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Biology Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
Psychology Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
KEY ABILITIES Expand
Problem Sensitivity The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
Oral Comprehension The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Information Ordering The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Written Comprehension The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Speech Clarity The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Written Expression The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Arm-Hand Steadiness The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
TOP SKILLS Expand
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Operation Monitoring Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Operation and Control Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
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