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Summary Report for:
29-1124.00 - Radiation Therapists

Provide radiation therapy to patients as prescribed by a radiologist according to established practices and standards. Duties may include reviewing prescription and diagnosis; acting as liaison with physician and supportive care personnel; preparing equipment, such as immobilization, treatment, and protection devices; and maintaining records, reports, and files. May assist in dosimetry procedures and tumor localization.

Sample of reported job titles: Chief Radiation Therapist (Chief RT), Computed Tomography Simulation Therapist (CT Simulation Therapist), Dosimetrist, Lead Radiation Therapist, Medical Dosimetrist, Radiation Therapist, Radiation Therapy Technologist (RTT), Registered Radiation Therapist, Senior Radiation Therapist, Staff Radiation Therapist

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Tasks  |  Tools & Technology  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Detailed Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Credentials  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings  |  Additional Information

Tasks

  • Position patients for treatment with accuracy, according to prescription.
  • Administer prescribed doses of radiation to specific body parts, using radiation therapy equipment according to established practices and standards.
  • Follow principles of radiation protection for patient, self, and others.
  • Review prescription, diagnosis, patient chart, and identification.
  • Conduct most treatment sessions independently, in accordance with the long-term treatment plan and under the general direction of the patient's physician.
  • Enter data into computer and set controls to operate or adjust equipment or regulate dosage.
  • Check radiation therapy equipment to ensure proper operation.
  • Observe and reassure patients during treatment and report unusual reactions to physician or turn equipment off if unexpected adverse reactions occur.
  • Educate, prepare, and reassure patients and their families by answering questions, providing physical assistance, and reinforcing physicians' advice regarding treatment reactions or post-treatment care.
  • Maintain records, reports, or files as required, including such information as radiation dosages, equipment settings, or patients' reactions.
  • Check for side effects, such as skin irritation, nausea, or hair loss to assess patients' reaction to treatment.
  • Prepare or construct equipment, such as immobilization, treatment, or protection devices.
  • Help physicians, radiation oncologists, or clinical physicists to prepare physical or technical aspects of radiation treatment plans, using information about patient condition and anatomy.
  • Calculate actual treatment dosages delivered during each session.
  • Photograph treated area of patient and process film.
  • Act as liaison with physicist and supportive care personnel.
  • Schedule patients for treatment times.
  • Provide assistance to other healthcare personnel during dosimetry procedures and tumor localization.
  • Train or supervise student or subordinate radiotherapy technologists.
  • Implement appropriate follow-up care plans.
  • Store, sterilize, or prepare the special applicators containing the radioactive substance implanted by the physician.
  • Assist in the preparation of sealed radioactive materials, such as cobalt, radium, cesium, or isotopes, for use in radiation treatments.

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Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

  • Automated external defibrillators AED or hard paddles — Automated external defibrillators AED
  • Automatic lathe or chucking machine — Workshop lathes
  • Brachytherapy units
  • Computed tomography CT or CAT radiotherapy simulators — Computed tomography CT radiation therapy planning simulators
  • Desktop computers
  • Digital cameras
  • Distance meters — Optical distance indicators
  • Drilling machines — Drill presses
  • Electrometers
  • Eye shields — Radiation protection eyewear
  • Heat guns
  • Hospital intercom systems — Treatment room intercoms
  • Lasers — Position verification lasers
  • Medical cine fluoroscopy equipment — Medical imaging fluoroscopes
  • Medical computed tomography CT or CAT scanners or tubes — Computed tomography CT scanners
  • Medical exam or non surgical procedure gloves — Protective medical gloves
  • Medical imaging wet darkroom or daylight processors — Daylight medical film processing equipment
  • Medical linear accelerator intensity modulated radiation therapy IMRT collimators — Linear accelerator compensation filters; Multi-leaf radiation therapy collimators; Radiation therapy beam directing wedges
  • Medical linear accelerator intensity modulated radiation therapy IMRT three dimensional units
  • Medical linear accelerator intensity modulated radiation therapy IMRT two dimensional units
  • Medical magnetic resonance imaging MRI scanners — Magnetic resonance imaging MRI systems
  • Medical positron emission tomography PET units — Treatment verification equipment
  • Medical radiation dosimeters — Dual diode dosimeter patient dose monitors; Multi-monitor dosimetry systems; Wireless patient dosimeters
  • Medical radiation films or badges — Personal radiation monitors
  • Medical radiological positioning aids for general radiological use — Beam direction shells; Patient positioning devices; Patient positioning straps; Patient treatment area casts (see all 7 examples)
  • Medical radiological shielding aprons or masks or drapes — Radiation shielding lead aprons; Thyroid shields
  • Medical radiological shielding freestanding or portable screens — Lead alloy shielding blocks
  • Medical ultrasound or doppler or pulse echo or echography units for general diagnostic use — Ultrasound imaging scanners
  • Medical x ray intensifying screens — Medical x ray image intensifiers
  • Medical x ray units for general diagnostic use — Medical diagnostic x ray equipment
  • Notebook computers — Laptop computers
  • Phantom dosimeters — Dynamic phantoms
  • Power drills
  • Power saws — Band saws
  • Radiation detectors — Area radiation monitors; Solid state diode detectors; Survey meters
  • Radiotherapy teletherapy cobalt 60 equipment — Cobalt radiation therapy machines
  • Respiratory monitoring kits or its accessories — Respiration monitors
  • Sawing machines — Computerized block cutting equipment
  • Skinfold calipers — Body-fat calipers
  • Still cameras — 35 millimeter cameras
  • Vacuum molding machines — Vacuum formers
  • Water baths — Laboratory water baths
  • Wood chisels
  • X ray and fluoroscopy RF radiotherapy planning simulators — X ray or fluoroscopy treatment planning simulators

Technology used in this occupation:

  • Graphics or photo imaging software — Image processing software
  • Internet browser software — Web browser software
  • Medical software — Electronic medical record EMR software; Lifeline Software RadCalc; Radiation dose calculation software; Sun Nuclear MapCHECK (see all 11 examples)
  • Office suite software — Microsoft Office
  • Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel Hot technology
  • Word processing software — Microsoft Word

Hot technology Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.

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Knowledge

  • Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Medicine and Dentistry — Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • Physics — Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
  • Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Biology — Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • Psychology — Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Therapy and Counseling — Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
  • Clerical — Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.

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Skills

  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.

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Abilities

  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
  • Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.

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Work Activities

  • Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
  • Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
  • Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
  • Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
  • Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
  • Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
  • Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
  • Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
  • Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
  • Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment — Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
  • Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment — Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
  • Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
  • Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
  • Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment — Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.

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Detailed Work Activities

  • Administer cancer treatments.
  • Operate diagnostic or therapeutic medical instruments or equipment.
  • Position patients for treatment or examination.
  • Protect patients or staff members using safety equipment.
  • Verify accuracy of patient information.
  • Adjust settings or positions of medical equipment.
  • Enter patient or treatment data into computers.
  • Examine medical instruments or equipment to ensure proper operation.
  • Inform medical professionals regarding patient conditions and care.
  • Monitor patient conditions during treatments, procedures, or activities.
  • Explain medical procedures or test results to patients or family members.
  • Interact with patients to build rapport or provide emotional support.
  • Maintain medical facility records.
  • Examine patients to assess general physical condition.
  • Fabricate medical devices.
  • Calculate numerical data for medical activities.
  • Develop medical treatment plans.
  • Operate diagnostic imaging equipment.
  • Process x-rays or other medical images.
  • Assist healthcare practitioners during examinations or treatments.
  • Schedule patient procedures or appointments.
  • Supervise patient care personnel.
  • Train medical providers.
  • Prepare medications or medical solutions.
  • Sterilize medical equipment or instruments.

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Work Context

  • Contact With Others — 98% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Physical Proximity — 92% responded “Very close (near touching).”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 90% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Exposed to Disease or Infections — 87% responded “Every day.”
  • Electronic Mail — 75% responded “Every day.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 85% responded “Every day.”
  • Telephone — 82% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 74% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 89% responded “Every day.”
  • Consequence of Error — 83% responded “Extremely serious.”
  • Time Pressure — 71% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 61% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 73% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 72% responded “Very important results.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 51% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 73% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 42% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Spend Time Walking and Running — 41% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Level of Competition — 43% responded “Extremely competitive.”
  • Spend Time Standing — 37% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 52% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 42% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 50% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 31% responded “Very important.”
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 32% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 38% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations — 42% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Deal With External Customers — 50% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 36% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Letters and Memos — 34% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to Radiation — 55% responded “Every day.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 35% responded “Every day.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 70% responded “40 hours.”

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Job Zone

Title Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed
Education Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.
Related Experience Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.
Job Training Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include food service managers, travel guides, electricians, agricultural technicians, barbers, nannies, and medical assistants.
SVP Range (6.0 to < 7.0)

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
50   Associate's degree
38   Bachelor's degree
9   Post-secondary certificate Help

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Credentials

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Interests

Interest code: SRC

  • Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
  • Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

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Work Styles

  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.

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Work Values

  • Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
  • Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.

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Related Occupations

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Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2015) $38.57 hourly, $80,220 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
 
Employment (2014) 17,000 employees
Projected growth (2014-2024) Much faster than average (14% or higher) Much faster than average (14% or higher)
Projected job openings (2014-2024) 6,200
State trends Employment Trends
 
Top industries (2014)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data external site and 2014-2024 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

  • Radiation therapists external site. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition.

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