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What’s a Radiation Therapist? Job Duties, Education & Salary

Learn how to become a radiation therapist and what you’ll do on the job.

therapist readying patient for a scan
Home » Specialties » Radiation Therapist

Radiation Therapist At a Glance

  • What you’ll do: A radiation therapist works in coordination with radiologists to implement therapeutic treatment plans for patients. Radiation therapists administer radiation therapy to patients under the instruction of oncologists and radiologists, and locate tumors, measure the amount of radiation given and update treatment reports. Most importantly, you’ll follow regulations to protect both patients and practitioners from high doses of radiation.
  • Where you’ll work: Hospitals, physician’s office, cancer hospitals, outpatient care centers, colleges, and universities
  • Degree you’ll need: Associate’s degree or certificate in radiation therapy to start
  • Median annual salary: $82,790

Education and Training

Radiation therapist programs can range from 1-to-2 years. One-year programs result in a certificate or diploma, while students in 2-year programs will earn associate’s degrees.

One-year programs emphasize supervised clinical education in training facilities like hospitals. The associate’s degree provides in-depth training that focuses both on theoretical knowledge (in the classroom) and hands-on experiences.

Licensing and Certification

There are no certification requirements, but employers often prefer Certified Radiation Therapists, who have passed national examinations that verify their professional skills and knowledge.

The most widely recognized certifying body is the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Certified radiation therapists must meet education and clinical competency standards set by the ARRT.

Radiation therapists can take the national exam after completing an accredited training program, or after working full-time for two years. Radiation therapists who pass this exam become Certified Radiation Therapists and can renew their certification annually.

Median Annual Salary

Take a look at median annual salaries by state for radiation therapists, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Radiation Therapists

National data

Median Salary: $82,790

Projected job growth: 9.1%

10th Percentile: $61,030

25th Percentile: $75,490

75th Percentile: $102,060

90th Percentile: $128,550

Projected job growth: 9.1%

State data

State Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Alabama $62,220 $47,310 $99,760
Arkansas $77,030 $58,650 $101,870
Arizona $95,620 $63,380 $120,800
California $131,000 $100,460 $165,620
Colorado $95,870 $72,420 $127,900
Connecticut $99,500 $76,860 $135,350
District of Columbia $95,870 $77,740 $121,060
Florida $77,630 $60,020 $100,200
Georgia $77,630 $63,600 $99,410
Iowa $72,690 $60,670 $99,410
Idaho $99,560 $77,030 $102,060
Illinois $80,740 $61,790 $101,740
Indiana $78,340 $59,830 $100,200
Kansas $77,450 $60,550 $98,680
Kentucky $81,900 $59,640 $107,540
Louisiana $77,030 $60,410 $98,030
Massachusetts $95,950 $63,090 $131,320
Maryland $79,100 $61,470 $117,130
Maine $78,070 $61,030 $127,860
Michigan $78,670 $61,790 $95,860
Minnesota $79,100 $62,550 $101,590
Missouri $76,710 $60,320 $98,780
Mississippi $77,630 $60,380 $110,540
Montana $79,870 $62,550 $130,630
North Carolina $77,450 $60,530 $99,620
Nebraska $95,620 $61,340 $152,420
New Hampshire $95,620 $66,550 $126,800
New Jersey $102,370 $62,060 $127,490
New Mexico $78,930 $60,550 $121,320
New York $107,420 $75,810 N/A
Ohio $79,310 $61,030 $107,110
Oklahoma $78,900 $62,370 N/A
Oregon $101,570 $77,880 $152,360
Pennsylvania $85,500 $63,230 $108,930
Rhode Island $95,950 $77,450 $125,930
South Carolina $78,930 $60,170 $122,090
South Dakota $77,030 $61,030 $98,780
Tennessee $75,460 $59,810 $99,700
Texas $89,630 $61,790 $126,800
Utah $95,620 $75,490 $130,630
Virginia $84,280 $60,550 $126,330
Vermont $95,870 $75,460 $104,830
Washington $101,100 $78,120 $149,980
Wisconsin $75,810 $59,810 $99,420
West Virginia $75,770 $60,060 $95,950

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2021 median salary; projected job growth through 2030. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.