University of Vermont

College of Nursing and Health Sciences

Department of Medical Laboratory and Radiation Sciences

Careers in Radiation Therapy
radiation therapist

"My internship provided good preparation for my professional career."
-- Amy C. Mottola '98, radiation therapist, Massachusetts General Hospital

Careers in Radiation Therapy

What is radiation therapy?

Radiation therapy is a medical specialty which uses ionizing radiation such as X-rays, gamma radiation, and electron beams in the treatment of benign and malignant tumors. Radiation therapists work directly with cancer patients and other healthcare practitioners in the daily treatment of patients, using radiation-producing equipment, such as linear accelerators, high dose rate brachytherapy and stereotactic radiosurgery.

What does a career in radiation therapy look like?

Radiation therapists deliver radiation treatment in accordance to the physician’s directive and observe the patient's clinical progress, as well as the first signs of treatment side effects. Because treatment often occurs over a length of time, therapists have an opportunity to develop close relationships with patients. The radiation therapist will prepare patients for treatment through a procedure called simulation. During this procedure, a patient's specialized treatment is tailored; immobilization devices are constructed; and fabrication of beam-shaping devices is completed. Radiation therapists may also be required to calculate radiation dosage for an area to be treated.

Who should go into radiation therapy?

If you like to interact with people and want to be in a helping profession, radiation therapy may be for you. These personality traits, coupled with an interest in the health sciences and hands-on learning, will position you for success in the field of radiation therapy.

What is the expected job growth?

According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • Employment of radiation therapists is projected to grow by 24 percent between 2012 and 2022, which is faster than the average for all occupations.
  • The median annual wage of radiation therapists was $77.560 in 2012.
  • An entry-level radiation therapist earns an average wage of $59,820 per year, according to

Last modified November 11 2015 12:20 PM