Radiation therapy technologists are responsible for administering radiation therapy to a patient’s body. Those in this position generally work traditional weekly business hours; however, it is not uncommon to work extended or overnight hours, as this is a healthcare position.
Radiation therapy technologists are employed primarily by hospitals and cancer treatment centers, and most of their work is spent on their feet. Formal education requirements for the position may vary depending on the particular state and organization. There are bachelor’s degrees, associate’s degrees, and general certificates in radiation therapy available, and applicants may also become qualified by completing a program in radiography, as well as a certificate program. Courses in anatomy, mathematics, physiology, and research methodology are often required.
These technologists often work with cancer patients using linear accelerators in order to administer radiation therapy. This type of therapy is generally used with chemotherapy and surgery in order to treat cancer, though it is also used alone. Those in this position are responsible for keeping records regarding their patients’ treatments, including their progress, the dosage of radiation used per treatment, the total amount of radiation used, the patients’ reactions, and the area treated. They also assist medical radiation physicists in assessing linear accelerators.
Radiation therapy technologists must be adept at multitasking, maintaining a high level of confidentiality, and maintaining optimistic energy, as patients may often be worried and stressed.
Radiation Therapy Technologist Tasks
Enter data into computer and set controls to operate and adjust equipment and regulate dosage.
Check for side effects such as skin irritation, nausea and hair loss to assess reaction to treatment.
Check radiation therapy equipment to ensure proper operation.
Position patient and administer prescribed doses of radiation using radiation therapy equipment.
Use radiation safety measures and protection devices to comply with government regulations and to ensure safety of patients and staff.