If you’re wondering what the average Radiation Therapist salary is in the United States, as of May 2016, it is $80,000. That is a respectable salary no matter what state you reside in. Look at the compensation calculator. Once you factor in the job benefits, such as health care, 401k plans, generous vacation and PDO time off, this can be one of the best jobs in medical field. Additionally, some cancer treatment centers and hospitals still pay bonuses.
There is a slight problem though, it’s a tight knit community in terms of the sheer numbers. In 2014, there were only 16,600 radiation therapists. On the surface that sounds like a lot, but when you compare that figure to how many plumbers and electricians there are, you’ll soon see how that number is miniscule in comparison. But that is what makes this career choice one of the best.
What Do Radiation Therapists Do?
In a brief summary, Radiation Therapists are responsible for treating cancer patients with the use of radiation. They are also responsible for keeping the patient calm, and explaining the full course of treatment to them while comforting them.
Radiation Therapists are also required to manage complex radiation therapy equipment. As you might imagine, any radiation apparatus is dangerous in the hands of the inexperienced and untrained. As part of your responsibility, you must make sure that this scientific equipment is working properly. There are critical tests you perform as well as checks and balances that insure the equipment is operating at maximum performance.
In the event that an issue or problem is detected, you would be responsible for following protocol by reporting the malfunction or glitch to the proper individual(s). This step cannot and should not be taken lightly considering that these machines emit radiation that is extremely dangerous. This danger is magnified whenever these machines stop working accurately.
Radiation Therapy Programs; how to find the best schools.
Another element of this job description is making sure that all radiation is targeted at that specific area, and not the healthy cells. This is critically important, as radiation can affect normal, healthy cells as well. Administering radiation takes skills, education, training and pristine focus. Hence, the reason this career is not for the faint at heart.
How Dangerous Is This Job?
Being a Radiation Therapist can be quite dangerous if the correct safety procedures are not adhered to. As long as all safety procedures are followed, and you expose yourself to the minimum amount of radiation; then it is not dangerous.
As with any job of this nature, you want to make sure that you get enough sleep prior to carrying out your duties. You also want to watch your schedule in terms of your night life. Suffering from fatigue, sleep deprivation and/or being groggy from medication, drugs or alcohol, or late night parties, is a no-no! There is simply too much at stake.
There are certain jobs and careers where employees can hide or cover up fatigue, sleep deprivation and hangovers but this is not one of them. You need to be on your toes from the moment you walk through the doors until you make your exit to end the day.
Radiation Therapist Salary
If you are looking into become a Radiation Therapist, it’s definitely a great career to target. In comparison to other careers, the numbers (16,600) might be pale. For example, in that same year there were 425,000 plumbers, which includes pipefitters and steamfitters. In comparison, there are less jobs, but look at the NFL. How many starting quarterback jobs are available? There are only 32! My point is this, we are talking about comparing apples to notebooks. One simply cannot make such a comparison.
There may be less jobs, however a 14% increase is expected by 2024 – so if you’re wondering what degree to go for, if you’re wanting a great salary and a rewarding career, why not get a bachelor’s degree in Radiation Therapy?
Due to the nature of this job, not just anyone can apply for these positions. Most clinics will require applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree in addition to the other educational requirements. If you meet the required qualifications, you are almost guaranteed to get a job.
With a median salary of $80,000, you could be earning much more. The lowest salaries for Radiation Therapists are around $60,000 – which is still a great salary. You won’t find yourself working weird shifts either! As Radiation Therapy is booked in advance, not just a walk-in appointment – you’ll know when you are busy, and can prepare yourself to make sure everything runs smoothly.
If you aren’t up for getting a Bachelor’s degree, there are other ways to become a Radiation Therapist. One way is a 12-month certificate course, which is obviously the easiest route – however, you will find that applicants with bachelor’s degrees are getting the jobs over you.
What Qualities Does a Radiation Therapist Need?
For a job this important, you can be sure that any prospective employers will be wanting to make sure you are the best person for the job. You will most likely be more successful in this job role if you have:
- Soft Skills: In our society of selfies, communicating with less than 140 characters and speaking with emoji’s, many have never learned soft skills. What are they? The ability to solve problems. The ability to communicate, effectively. The ability to adapt to change seamlessly. The ability to critically analyze. The ability to work well with others and the ability to resolve conflicts when they arise. These are invaluable skills that employers demand.
- A Friendly Disposition: This character trait seems to be less and less touted in most workplaces, but in certain careers such as this one, being unfriendly is a death knell. You will be required to talk with and interact with patients, and your disposition will mean everything to them.
- Technology: In this digital age, everything evolves around technology. Be prepared to use computers, tablets, iPads, notebooks, and various software applications, in addition to operating digital linear accelerators.
All in all, do you think you’re up to the job? The radiation therapist salary is great, plus, it’s a rewarding career choice, what more could you want? Learn the Radiation Therapists salary with an Associate's Degree.