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Medical radiation therapist

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Summary of occupation

Medical Radiation therapists design treatment plans for cancer patients and administer radiation therapy treatment in conjunction with radiation oncologists or other medical specialists.

Radiation therapy also known as Radiation oncology, is the treatment and management of cancer by radiation. Radiation therapy plays a major role in treating cancer patients and in many cases offers a cure and relief of symptoms.

There are approximately 150 medical radiation therapists in Western Australia all of who work in the metropolitan area.

ANZSCO description: Operates high energy X-ray and other radiation and electron generating and monitoring equipment to administer radiation treatment for medical purposes in conjunction with Radiation Oncologists or other specialist Medical Practitioners.  Registration or licensing is required.
Alternative names: Medical Therapeutic Radiographer, Radiation Therapist
Specialisations:
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A radiation therapist needs:

  • an interest and ability in science
  • to be able to work neatly and precisely
  • good communication skills
  • to work well within a team
  • understanding, patience and empathy
  • to counsel patients who are fearful and anxious about their diagnosis and treatment
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Working conditions

Radiation therapists work in hospitals or radiation oncology centres. They work with a team of radiation oncologists, nurses, medical physicists and other hospital staff.

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Salary details

On average, medical radiation therapists, classified under medical imaging professionals, can expect to earn between $1 500 and $1 999 per week ($78 000 and $103 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a medical radiation therapist develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase. 

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Tools and technologies

Radiation therapists use simulators and/or CT scanners to identify the areas to be treated and those to be avoided. They use advanced computer systems to calculate precise radiation dosages and create treatment plans.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a medical radiation therapist you need to study radiation therapy at university to postgraduate level.

Curtin University offers a four year Bachelor of Science (Medical Imaging Science), followed by a 30 month Master of Radiation Therapy. Contact the university for more information.

Graduates must be registered with the Medical Radiation Practice Board of Australia to practise in any state or territory in Australia.

In Western Australia, you must obtain a licence to operate radiation equipment from the Radiological Council. Contact the Council for more information. 

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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