What does a Radiation Therapy Technologist do?

Article Details
  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 04 September 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article

A radiation therapy technologist helps treat cancer patients by assisting oncologists, doctors who diagnose and treat cancer, and radiologists, doctors who specialize in diagnostic imaging and treatments that involve radioactive materials. A person with this job title helps to treat patients using ionizing radiation. In addition to helping with the treatment of cancer patients, a radiation therapy technologist may also have the job of making sure the radiation treatment equipment is kept in good repair. He usually helps to maintain radiation therapy patient records as well.

A radiation therapy technologist is an individual who assists oncologists and radiologists with providing radiation therapy treatments to individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer. These medical professionals help doctors treat patients using ionizing radiation, and treatments usually last for less than an hour at a time. In fact, radiation therapy treatment may last for as little as 10 to 20 minutes per treatment. Though a radiation therapy technologist assists physicians with treating cancer patients, he may perform a significant portion of his work independently.

In most cases, a radiation therapy technologist also helps prepare the patient for both examination by a physician and treatment. He may also prepare patients for treatment simulations prior to radiation therapy. In many cases, a person with this title is responsible for preparing treatment rooms for patients as well.


In addition to administering radiation therapy treatment, a person with this title may have a range of other responsibilities. For example, he is usually required to ensure the patient’s safety during treatment as well as that of others in the treatment area. His job description may also include the performance of safety checks on various machinery and maintaining equipment as directed by his supervisors. Additionally, a radiation therapy technologist typically monitors a patient’s progress and keeps detailed records that may be of use to a patient’s doctor as well as other members of the medical team.

To become a radiation therapy technologist, a person usually has to graduate from high school or earn a General Educational Development® (GED®) diploma. After earning one of these credentials, a person who is interested in becoming a radiation therapy technologist will usually have to enroll in a radiologic technology program. Often, these programs last for about two years and are offered at community colleges. Following completion of one of these programs, an individual may also have to complete a radiation therapy technology training program at a hospital. Additionally, earning radiation therapy certification may improve an individual’s chances of landing a job.



Discuss this Article

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?