A radiation therapist is someone that assists in the delivery of radiation treatment to patients who are trying to overcome cancer. The radiation is used to try to destroy the cancer cells in the body, thus eliminating cancer in the body.
The radiation therapist’s job is to follow the orders of the radiation oncologist and shoot the targeted area of the patient’s body with the correct dosage of radiation. The job requires detailed work and accuracy and once qualified it offers a very good starting salary.
Radiation therapists are also in high demand and as the aging baby boomer population gets older, the demand is expected to continue to increase. In fact, most experts agree that this demand will increase by at least 25% in the next five years. As demand has increased, so has the radiation therapist starting salary and they can expect to make a good wage, as soon as they become qualified.
How to Become a Radiation Therapist
Many radiation therapists will begin their first job with no prior work experience in this field. They will have successfully completed a radiation therapist training program that usually includes hands-on experience.
They may also have had clinical experience within a hospital setting. This will give them some experience in their field but it will still be considered an entry-level job.
Radiation Therapist Salary
You can expect the salary for someone of this experience level to be (on average) $49,980, which is a very good salary for someone who holds an associate’s degree.
Whether the radiation therapist starting salary is above or below the average amount depends on what type of training they have had and if they are licensed or certified. Over 30 states require a license and certification and in the other states, many employers require this qualification. If you are certified by the American Registry of Radiation Therapists, you will start with a higher salary than those without certification.
As you gain work experience in the field of radiation therapy your salary should increase. The median annual salary for all radiation therapists in 2009 was $77,340, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The therapists with the most experience and training make well over $100,000 per year. As you can see, there is a lot of room for pay raises within this career choice.
What’s it Like Being a Radiation Therapist?
In addition to having a starting salary, this position also offers good working hours. Most radiation therapists will work the day shift, Monday through Friday with no weekend or evening work. However, as some hospitals and cancer care centers try to make treatment times easier for their patients who work, they are starting to offer evening and Saturday hours which means some new hires will be needed to work these shifts. Even with these changes, though, the hours are better than most occupations in the medical field.
The radiation therapist starting salary can vary based on where you live, what the job setting is, and the type of experience that you have. In just two short years, though, you can be on your way to a great career as a radiation therapist with an associate’s degree. Since the demand and the annual salaries are expected to continue to rise, now is the perfect time to start your training.
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