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Careers In Radiation Therapy Jobs: Common Questions About The Industry

With many fine details involved when it comes to radiation therapy jobs, there are certain questions that we took the time to address and answer.


Most medical careers provide you with highly rewarding opportunities to help others, and in so doing also ensure that you’re able to forge a career path that you can take meaning and purpose from.  Not many careers can say that, and you’ll find that there’s a ton of potential within the medical industry.  However, you’re also going to find that with certain paths like radiation therapy jobs, there’s a ton of technical information that you have to be trained on, because of the science involved in what you’re doing.

At their core, all doctors working in hospitals anywhere are really scientists, as they practice and make diagnoses as well as treatments based upon actual scientific knowledge.  That means you are looking at a lot of schooling and training to be able to hone your trade.  But the tradeoff is that most radiation therapy jobs pay extremely well, and there’s a certain amount of job security involved as well, when you’re better and better at your job.

Of course you’re going to have a few questions when it comes time to choose a career path, so here are the most common involving radiation therapy careers:

1) What does a radiation therapist do?

This is the main question that you want to fully understand before getting an education, so that you can ensure you’re looking into the type of job that you’re going to enjoy.  But basically radiation therapy jobs entail helping treat cancer patients with specifically targeted radiation. Utilizing a tool called a linear accelerator, you’re able to actually bath a cancerous tumor and affected area with radiation which in turn pulverizes the cancerous cells causing the tumor to shrink or disappear altogether.  That’s because of the ions that are stimulated by the radiation, causing a detrimental effect to the cancer cells.

For many types of cancer this is actually the chief type of treatment and this suffices when something like surgery and other options just won’t do.  But it takes special training because obviously radiation is terrible for the body in general.  That means it has to be specifically targeted and controlled, and there’s actually only so much radiation the body can encounter before it will start to break down all of your cells.  It’s the job of a radiation therapist to keep this procedure as safe as humanly possible for the patient.

2) What are the educational requirements?

While like many other forms of medicine you may be expecting this to have a lengthy or complicated career education process, you’ll find that radiation therapy degrees are not that hard to attain.  In fact, what you will find is that in most cases you only need to get an associates degree or even a bachelor’s degree to fully understand the science and find a job.  However, if you want to move higher up the ladder, like into a radiologist position, you will have to take your education much further.

3) Is certification necessary?

When you’re talking about anything to do with the medical field, a common question is whether or not you’re going to need a license in order to practice.  Because in radiation therapy jobs you’re going to be directly advising and talking to the patient, you will find that you do in fact need to have a license to show that you’re an expert on everything to do with the process.  This way, you can communicate through doctor and patient, and ensure that you’re able to explain and comfort when using the machine.

4) How much do radiation therapy careers pay?

While salary can fluctuate depending upon where you are, it’s important to first realize that this is the largest major contributing factor.  For example, if you work in a busy hospital in a major city like New York, more patients equals more money coming into the hospital, and therefore higher paying jobs as a direct result.  But if you work in a smaller local community, even at their major hospital you’re just not seeing as many people, and therefore you’re not running into the same salary options.

But you will find the median radiation therapy salary anyone can expect usually falls around $60,000 and has potential to rise from there the more experience that you have. Remember that this can be a great way to make some money while going for your radiology degree, so it’s something to consider also as a stepping stone to the really high paying work.

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