Radiation therapists
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Overview
Radiation therapists treat cancer and other diseases in patients by administering radiation treatments.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for radiation therapists are expected to grow by 13%, and should have about 1,200 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
Radiation therapists are less likely to be automated than 65% of other careers.
Workforce size
Radiation therapists, with 19,100 workers, form a smaller workforce than 73% of careers.
Education
About 53% of radiation therapists have at least a bachelor's degree.
Education attained by radiation therapists
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
More radiation therapists have bachelor's degrees than 71% of other careeers.
Salaries
The median (middle) salary for radiation therapists is higher than 86% of all other jobs' middle salaries. The graph shows inflation-adjusted salaries for most radiation therapists.
This job's median $82KAll jobs' median $39K$86K$38K20142015201620172018$0$50K$100K$150K
Context: Median Salary
Gender
Women account for 67% of radiation therapists -- that's a larger percentage than 82% of other jobs.
Gender of radiation therapists
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For radiation therapists, the median men's salary was 10% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 16% of radiation therapists are minority, and 10% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of radiation therapists
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (10%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Radiation Therapists per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. The darker the blue, the higher the job density.
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
Job benefits
Employer or union-sponsored pension plans are offered to 47% of radiation therapists, and 49% have company-sponsored health insurance (21% have dependents enrolled in their employer's health plan).
Employer-provided health coverage for radiation therapists
100% premiums covered
Partial premiums covered
Plan with no cost sharing
No health insurance
Top college degrees
Here are the top college degrees held by the 57% of people in this job who have at least a bachelor's degree. Some of degrees may link to multiple programs due to the way Census classifies college majors. Click on a program to learn more about career opportunities for people who major in that field.
The downside
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of radiation therapists who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Exposed to Disease or Infections (92%)
  • Consequence of Error (90%)
  • Time Pressure (86%)
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety (62%)
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People (58%)
  • Exposed to Radiation (55%)
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations (54%)
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment (42%)
  • Exposed to Contaminants (40%)
SOURCES:24.0 O*NET
Salary and diversity
Salary overview
What do radiation therapists earn?

In this section, we want to give you a clear idea of what you can expect to earn in this career. We use two sources of data here: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which asks employers to classify their workforce and to report salaries using the SOC-specialty level of reporting, and the American Community Survey (ACS), which asks people to classify their jobs using the broad classifications that ididio uses for career profiles, and to self-report their salaries. For some jobs, the differences in survey approaches between BLS and ACS can paint a very different end-picture. Whenever possible, we provide data from both sources.

The BLS-compiled salary data is reported by companies for their employees. This data excludes self-employed workers. We first show the distribution of salaries for radiation therapists, and then we show how the middle (median) salary for radiation therapists compares to the BLS-computed median salaries of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for radiation therapists (BLS Salary Data)
$82K$0$50K$100K$150K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$82K$0$50K$100K$150K
We compiled household data from the ACS to determine the salaries that people working at least 35 hours a week report themselves to earn. Unlike the BLS estimates, this data includes self-employed wages. We first show the full salary distribution for all radiation therapists, and then we show how the median (middle) salary for radiation therapists compares to the median ACS-reported salary of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for radiation therapists (ACS Salary Data)
$80K$0$50K$100K$150K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$80K$0$50K$100K$150K
Employers and salary
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, and following we show the salary distributions for these workers based on those employer types. For some careers, the salaries can be vastly different between private, government, and self-employment. As with our salary overview, we view the both the BLS economists' salary profiles and the household-reported salaries from ACS to get a thorough understanding of where radiation therapists work and for what salary. We have the great faith in the accuracy of economist-vetted BLS data; however, the BLS restrictions on which employers are surveyed skews the data a bit (read more in the sources), and the ACS responses provide different and useful categorizations of employers and salaries.
Employers of Radiation therapists (ACS)
Private for-profit (60.3%)
Private not-for-profit (33.0%)
Local government (1.1%)
State government (4.0%)
Federal government (1.1%)
Self-employed incorporated (0.3%)
Self-employed not incorporated (0.3%)
Working without pay (0.0%)
Distribution: Salaries of radiation therapists by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses.
$80K$84K$85K$75K$85K$0$50,000$100,000$150,000Federal governmentState governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of radiation therapists by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS.
$82K$76K$82K$93K$0$50,000$100,000$150,000State governmentLocal governmentPrivateAll
Age and career advancement
Salary growth for radiation therapists

The biggest take-away from the following two charts is the relationship between salary and experience that we can infer from age. Does this job seem to attract especially younger or older workers? Does it reward experience?

Take a minute a look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working in this career changes. We only provide this data when there are enough consistent ACS survey responses to allow a reasonable margin of error, so for some careers you will see gaps in our reporting of salary by age.

$89K$89K$76K$93K$62K$68K$91K$88K$0$50K$100K$150KSalary distribution20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
05001K2K2K3KNumber employed20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Gender and Equity
Radiation therapists and gender

With 67% women, this occupation has a higher percentage of women than 82% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
67%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Radiation therapists
Men (33%)
Women (67%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

As we'll illustrate at the bottom of this section, the median salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 20%. The situation is a little better for radiation therapists, with the median salary for men 10% higher than the median salary for women. This chart shows you the salary range for most workers by gender.

$77K$85K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

Nationwide there are twenty careers for which men do not have a higher median (middle) salary than women. The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary, for most jobs. Radiation therapists have one of the smaller percentage increases for men's salary, with the increase the men's median salary over the women's median salary in this job lower than that for 72% of other jobs.

10%0%20%40%60%80%100%

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Race/Origin
Race and origin of radiation therapists

The representation of minority and foreign-born workers is quite different between careers, and the relative pay of those workers also varies significantly between careers. There is a smaller percentage of minority radiation therapists than for 65% of other careers. As with minority workers, there is also a smaller percentage of foreign-born workers in this career than in most other careers.

Race/origin of radiation therapists
White (83% )
Black (8% )
Asian (6% )
Multiracial (2% )
Other (1% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Hispanic (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
16%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
10%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for radiation therapists by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$70K$80K$91K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120KBlackWhiteAsian
Distribution: Salaries for radiation therapists by nativity
$79K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120KAll native citizens

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Pathways to this career
Education requirements and salary
Education attained by radiation therapists

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), radiation therapists typically hold a associate's degree.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as radiation therapists as reported in responses to the American Community Survey. Following, we investigate whether education level influences salary for radiation therapists.

Education attained by radiation therapists
None
High School
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Deg/Doct
Doctorate
Details: Education and training recommended for radiation therapists

Employers usually prefer to hire applicants who have an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in radiation therapy. However, candidates may qualify for some positions by completing a certificate program.

Radiation therapy programs include courses in radiation therapy procedures and the scientific theories behind them. These programs often include experience in a clinical setting and courses in human anatomy and physiology, physics, algebra, computer science, and research methodology. In 2016, there were about 110 accredited educational programs recognized by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for radiation therapists

In most states, radiation therapists must be licensed or certified. Requirements vary by state, but typically include graduation from an accredited radiation therapy program and ARRT certification.

To become ARRT certified, an applicant must complete an accredited radiation therapy program, adhere to ARRT ethical standards, and pass the certification exam. The exam covers radiation protection and quality assurance, clinical concepts in radiation oncology, treatment planning, treatment delivery, and patient care and education. A list of accredited programs is available from ARRT.

Many jobs also require cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or basic life support (BLS) certification.

Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for radiation therapists? Below we see the distribution of radiation therapists salaries based on the education attained. These comparisons are based on all survey responses by those who identified themselves as radiation therapists, and are not intended as a statistical analysis of salary differences that would correct for non-educational factors that could contribute to high or low earnings.

$82K$79K$77K$93K$0$50K$100K$150KSome College (11%)Associate's Degree (32%)Bachelor's Degree (44%)Master's Degree (6%)
Bachelor's degree pathways
College majors held by radiation therapists

This table shows the college majors held by people working as radiation therapists. Select any degree to see detailed information. We are able to connect careers to degrees using the American Community Survey (ACS), and their degrees are defined a little differently from our programs, which are based on standard CIP classifications. Therefore, selecting some degrees will lead to a selection of CIP-level programs from which to choose.

If you see "**" before the name of a degree/program, that means this field is one that the Department of Education believes is preparatory for this career. However, you can see from this list that those recommendations are far from your only path to this job!

Degree
Select any title to learn more about that degree
Percentage of Radiation therapists with this degree
Salary for all majors
Salary distribution (across jobs). Showing 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
Final education level of all people with this major
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Gender of people this bachelor's degree
Men
Women
The link between degrees and careers
The link between degrees and careers

With the following "sankey" diagram, you can follow the top ten bachelor's degrees held by people working as radiation therapists, and then, in turn, you can see the 10 occupations that hire the most of each degree's graduates. This visualization links fields of studies and careers, suggesting both similar careers and options for degrees. The full list of bachelor's degrees held by radiation therapists given in the previous section reminds us that there are many paths to these careers beyond what we can summarize here.

This job
Top 10 majors
Each major's top ten jobs
Physical therapistsOccupational therapistsHealthcare practitioners and technical occupations (specialized areas)Therapists (specialized areas)Medical and health services managersPhysicians and surgeonsPhysician assistantsRegistered nursesElementary and middle school teachersPostsecondary teachersClinical laboratory technologists and techniciansDiagnostic related technologists and techniciansEpidemiologists and Medical/Life ScientistsRespiratory therapistsManagers (specialized areas)Physical scientists (specialized areas)Radiation therapistsComputer and information systems managersCustomer service representativesComputer occupations (specialized areas)Engineers (specialized areas)Biological scientistsScience techniciansApplications and systems software developersSecretaries and administrative assistantsMedical records and health information techniciansFirst-line supervisors of office and administrative support workersSocial workersNursing, psychiatric, and home health aidesAccountants and auditorsFirst-line supervisors of retail sales workersFinancial managersWholesale and manufacturing sales representativesChief executives and legislatorsHuman resources workersFirst-line supervisors of non-retail sales workersMarketing and sales managersNurse PractitionersNurse anesthetistsDentistsPharmacistsRetail salespersonsMarket research analysts and marketing specialistsService sales representativesTreatment TherapyProfessionsMedical TechnologiesTechniciansNuclear, IndustrialRadiology, and BiologicalTechnologiesSpecialized Program inBiologyHealth and MedicalAdministrative ServicesGeneral Medical and HealthServicesBusiness Management andAdministrationNursingBiologyMarketingAll other degrees
Switching Careers
Most common new jobs
The most common next careers for radiation therapists

What jobs will most radiation therapists hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of radiation therapists reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

Radiation therapistsDiagnostic related technologists and techniciansSecretaries and administrative assistantsManagers (specialized areas)Healthcare practitioners and technical occupations (specialized areas)Therapists (specialized areas)Registered nursesNursing, psychiatric, and home health aides
Lateral career moves
Lateral job transitions for radiation therapists

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies the one job which was held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as radiation therapists as well as 1% of respondents after working as radiation therapists. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Lateral-move careers for radiation therapists
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Therapists (specialized areas)
3,000
$0$200K$47K
Full prior and next career listings
Prior and next careers for radiation therapists: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as radiation therapists? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of radiation therapists surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Prior careers for radiation therapists
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Percentage Transitioning
What percentage worked in this job the previous year?
Hand laborers and freight, stock, and material movers
389,900
$0$200K$28K
7.0%
Lawyers, judges, and magistrates
44,000
$0$200K$93K
1.3%
Highway maintenance workers
16,500
$0$200K$39K
1.2%
Therapists (specialized areas)
3,000
$0$200K$47K
9.8%
Radiation therapists
1,200
$0$200K$80K
70.2%
No occupation
10.4%
Read about radiation therapists
Responsibilities and activities
Responsibilities and activities

Radiation therapists typically do the following:

  • Explain treatment plans to the patient and answer questions about treatment
  • Protect the patients and themselves from improper exposure to radiation
  • Determine the exact location of the area requiring treatment
  • Calibrate and operate the machine to treat the patient with radiation
  • Monitor the patient to check for unusual reactions to the treatment
  • Keep detailed records of treatment

Radiation therapists operate machines, such as linear accelerators, to deliver concentrated radiation therapy to the region of a patient’s tumor. Radiation treatment can shrink or remove cancers and tumors.

Radiation therapists are part of the oncology teams that treat patients with cancer. They often work with the following specialists:

  • Radiation oncologists are physicians who specialize in radiation therapy
  • Oncology nurses specialize in caring for patients with cancer
  • Medical physicists help in planning of radiation treatments, develop better and safer radiation therapies, and check that radiation output is accurate
Personality and skills
Personality and skills

Can you see yourself in the ranks of radiation therapists? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.

Detail oriented
Radiation therapists must follow exact instructions and input exact measurements to make sure the patient is exposed to the correct amount of radiation.
Interpersonal skills
Radiation therapists work closely with patients. It is important that therapists be comfortable interacting with people who may be going through physical and emotional stress.
Physical stamina
Radiation therapists must be able to be on their feet for long periods and be able to lift and move patients who need assistance.
Technical skills
Radiation therapists work with computers and large pieces of technological equipment, so they must be comfortable operating those devices.
Trends in employment
Salary trends
Distribution and trends: Salaries for radiation therapists
Choose actual dollars or inflation-adjusted dollars to view
Adjusted for inflation
Historic dollars

In 2018, the median (middle) salary for radiation therapists was higher than 86% of all other jobs' middle salaries. This graphic shows how the salary distribution (adjusted for inflation) has changed for this job over recent years. The gray line, as a comparison, shows the median salary of all US workers.

This job's median $82KAll jobs' median $39K$76K$38K200420052006200720082009201020112012201320142015201620172018$0$50K$100K$150K
Projected versus actual employment
Exploring actual employment trends versus projected trends

Currently, jobs for radiation therapists are anticipated to grow by 13% over the next decade; only 16% of jobs are predicted to grow more.

The projected employment for radiation therapists is the best guess created by talented economists and statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, as you look through several careers you'll notice that the projections are heavily influenced by past performance and may miss current trends. No one can tell the future, and as new information and better techniques are developed, actual counts and future projections may change. Here's a glimpse at the actual counts versus the projections over time.

200020102020203005,00010,00015,00020,00025,000
Employment counts
Actual measured employment
BLS 10-year predictions
Variation by state
Employment
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most radiation therapists? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as radiation therapists. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS
Number of Radiation Therapists per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
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0.00.10.20.30.4
Salary
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where radiation therapists earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for radiation therapists compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for radiation therapists.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information.

Choose the metric to review
In-state comparisions
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS
Median salary ratio: Radiation Therapists to all workers (BLS)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which radiation therapists earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
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0.01.02.03.0
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the dots below to find other jobs you might like. The dots closer to the top represent jobs that are like Radiation therapists (shown with a blue star). Look for the dots to the right to find the best salaries! (We pulled salary data from BLS, and they give a top salary value of just over $200K to protect privacy, so our graph would go much higher if the salaries were not top coded.)

How should the career similarity be computed

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?
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