How to Become A Radiation Therapist

Radiation therapists are certified medical staff who administer radiation treatments to patients with cancer or other diseases. Their typical duties involve explain treatment plans to patients, protecting patients and themselves against harmful radiation exposure, calibrating and operating machinery to treat patients, monitoring patients to check for any unusual reactions and keeping detailed records of the treatment plans for their patients.

If these duties sound like something you would be interested in, then you have come to the right place. The following guide provides information on how to become a radiation therapist, along with a detailed discussion on the career outlook for radiation therapists.

Should I Become a Radiation Therapist?

Radiation therapists are high in demand, with the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting a growth of 9% in the employment opportunities for this occupation category. In addition to it being a high growth field, radiation therapists can choose a flexible and largely pre-planned work schedule, which helps in maintaining a work-life balance in the long run. You can also get a chance to work in a variety of settings such as in pediatric care, hospitals, clinics, outpatient care centers etc.

Education Required

Associate’s Degree

Major Requirement

Radiation Therapy


Required by most states



Key Skills

Attention to detail, interpersonal skills, physical stamina and technical skills

Annual Mean Salary (2018)


Job Outlook (2018-28)

9% (Faster than average)

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

The path to entry for this field is simpler than it is for other medical occupations. All you need is an associate’s degree in radiation therapy or a bachelor’s degree in radiation therapy, depending on your employer’s requirements. In addition to being a quick entry field, becoming a radiation therapist also pays a good salary, with $86,730 in annual mean wages in 2018.

Career Outlook for a Radiation Therapist

Demand for Radiation Therapists is on the rise. This demand will be driven by the aging population and greater advancements in technology. Job seekers who have some experience in patient care or have more educational qualifications will have better employment opportunities. Job opportunities will also vary according to location. The state with the highest employment level in this occupation was Texas, with 2,200 jobs, with New York coming in at the second spot, followed by California, Florida and Wisconsin.

California was the highest paying state for this occupation with an annual mean wage of $114,280, followed by New Jersey ($107,850), Oregon ($105,970), Connecticut ($105,570) and Washington ($101,830).

The top paying industry for Radiation Therapists was colleges, universities and professional schools, followed by outpatient care centers.

Steps to Become a Radiation Therapist

Step 1: Get a High School Diploma or a GED

This is the basic requirement for entry into nearly all colleges. High school students who are interested in going into radiation therapy are advised to take classes in subjects such as physics, chemistry, biology and math.

Step 2: Get an Undergraduate Degree in Radiation Therapy

The minimum requirement to practice in this industry is an undergraduate degree. It could either be an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree. Pre-requisite coursework may be required by some colleges. This would typically be coursework in technical writing, math, anatomy, physiology and chemistry. The program you choose should be recognized by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).

Step 3: Get Clinical Experience

Students in a radiation therapy program will be required to complete certain clinical experience requirements in order to get a diploma or a degree.

Step 4: Get Certified

Most states would require radiation therapists to be licensed or certified. Requirements differ by state but usually involve graduating from an accredited radiation therapy program and an ARRT certification.

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