Summary Guide forRadiation Therapists in California
May also be called: Radiation Therapy Technologists
Specialties within this occupation include: Dosimetrists
What Would I Do?
Radiation Therapists provide radiation therapy to cancer patients as prescribed by a radiation oncologist according to established practices and standards. They may review prescription and diagnosis or act as liaison with physician and supportive care personnel. Radiation Therapists may also repair or create equipment such as immobilization, treatment, and protection devices, as well as, assist in tumor localization and dosimetry procedures, which is the process used to calculate radiation dosages. They also maintain records, reports, and files.
Radiation Therapists work in hospitals or cancer treatment centers. Therapists do a considerable amount of lifting, as they must be able to help disabled patients get on and off treatment tables. They also spend most of their time on their feet. Radiation Therapists generally work at least 40 hours a week. They normally work during the day. However, because radiation therapy emergencies do occur, some Therapists are required to be on call so may have to work outside their normal hours.
Will This Job Fit Me?
The job of Radiation Therapist may appeal to those who enjoy activities that involve teaching, offering advice, helping, and being of service to people. They also should be physically fit because they work on their feet for long periods and lift or move disabled patients. In addition, individuals interested in becoming Radiation Therapists should be psychologically capable of working with cancer patients.
What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?
The median wage in 2015 for Radiation Therapists in California was $103,283 annually, or $49.65 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.
Benefits generally include medical, dental, life, and vision insurance as well as vacation, sick leave, and retirement plans. Some employers offer performance bonuses and tuition reimbursement for continuing education.
What is the Job Outlook?
As the population grows older, the number of people needing cancer treatment is expected to increase which will stimulate demand for Radiation Therapists. In addition, radiation therapy will be prescribed more often as technological advances allow radiation to treat more types of cancer.
How Do I Qualify?
Employers usually require applicants to complete an associate or a bachelor’s degree program in radiation therapy. Individuals also may become qualified by completing an associate or a bachelor’s degree program in radiography, which is the study of radiological imaging, and then completing a 12-month certificate program in radiation therapy. Certification by the Department of Public Health is required of anyone using X-rays. Maintenance of this certification/permit requires the Therapist to accrue 24 hours of continuing education every two years.
Finding a Job
Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. Applicants can also find employment opportunities through placement offices of their school or through professional associations. Newspaper classified ads and the Internet provide additional sources for job listings. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.
To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).
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