Radiation Therapist  What They Do

Just the Facts

Provides radiation therapy to patients as prescribed by a radiologist according to established practices and standards. Duties may include reviewing prescription and diagnosis; acting as liaison with physician and supportive care personnel; preparing equipment, such as immobilization, treatment, and protection devices; and maintaining records, reports, and files. May assist in dosimetry procedures and tumor localization.

This career is part of the Health Science cluster Therapeutic Services pathway.

A person in this career:

  • Administers prescribed doses of radiation to specific body parts, using radiation therapy equipment according to established practices and standards.
  • Positions patients for treatment with accuracy, according to prescription.
  • Follows principles of radiation protection for patient, self, and others.
  • Reviews prescription, diagnosis, patient chart, and identification.
  • Conducts most treatment sessions independently, in accordance with the long-term treatment plan and under the general direction of the patient's physician.
  • Enters data into computer and sets controls to operate or adjust equipment or regulate dosage.
  • Checks radiation therapy equipment to ensure proper operation.
  • Observes and reassures patients during treatment and reports unusual reactions to physician or turns equipment off if unexpected adverse reactions occur.
  • Educates, prepares, and reassures patients and their families by answering questions, providing physical assistance, and reinforcing physicians' advice regarding treatment reactions or post-treatment care.
  • Maintains records, reports, or files as required, including such information as radiation dosages, equipment settings, or patients' reactions.

Related Careers

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposed to disease and infections more than once a month through work such as patient care, laboratory work, and sanitation control
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Exposed to radiation more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Chief Radiation Therapist (Chief RT) --
  • Computed Tomography Simulation Therapist (CT Simulation Therapist) --
  • Dosimetrist --
  • Lead Radiation Therapist --
  • Medical Dosimetrist --
  • Radiation Therapy Technologist (RTT) --
  • Registered Radiation Therapist --
  • Senior Radiation Therapist --
  • Staff Radiation Therapist --