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Medical Dosimetrists

Summary

medical dosimetrists
Quick Facts: Medical Dosimetrists
2022 Median Pay $128,970 per year
$62.01 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Bachelor's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2022 3,500
Job Outlook, 2022-32 3% (As fast as average)
Employment Change, 2022-32 100

What Medical Dosimetrists Do

Medical dosimetrists calculate doses of radiation and design and oversee treatment plans for patients with cancer and other serious diseases.

Work Environment

Most medical dosimetrists work in healthcare settings, such as hospitals and physicians' offices. They may spend much of their time working at a computer.

How to Become a Medical Dosimetrist

To enter the occupation, medical dosimetrists typically need a bachelor's degree and must complete an accredited medical dosimetry program. Employers usually require workers to have certification.

Pay

The median annual wage for medical dosimetrists was $128,970 in May 2022.

Job Outlook

Employment of medical dosimetrists is projected to grow 3 percent from 2022 to 2032, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

About 200 openings for medical dosimetrists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for medical dosimetrists.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of medical dosimetrists with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about medical dosimetrists by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Medical Dosimetrists Do About this section

medical dosimetrists
Medical dosimetrists consult with other members of the oncology team to create patient treatment plans.

Medical dosimetrists calculate doses of radiation and design and oversee treatment plans for patients with cancer and other serious diseases.

Duties

Medical dosimetrists typically do the following:

  • Review a patient’s documents, such as their CT and MRI scans
  • Calculate the proper dose of radiation to be administered to a patient
  • Consult with other members of the radiation oncology team and design the radiation-delivery plan for patients
  • May assist in designing molds, casts, and other immobilization devices to position patients during treatment
  • Document treatment provided to a patient
  • Perform quality assurance checks of treatment equipment

Medical dosimetrists develop and manage the radiation plans for patients receiving treatment for cancer or other diseases. They may begin by reviewing patient records, such as computer tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Then, based on a dosage range prescribed by the physician, medical dosimetrists calculate the exact dose and angle of radiation to be administered. They make these calculations both manually and with computers.

Medical dosimetrists’ calculations may vary based on the type of radiation treatment a physician prescribes. For example, external beam radiation angled at a tumor from outside the body may be administered at a higher dose than brachytherapy, which involves placing a radioactive device near the tumor inside the body.

In addition to overseeing radiation treatment, medical dosimetrists’ other responsibilities include helping to design immobilization devices that ensure patients remain motionless during procedures. They also keep records of each patient’s treatment, load or receive shipments, use radiation monitoring devices to measure radioactivity levels in patients, and calibrate equipment to ensure accuracy.

Dosimetrists are part of a radiation oncology team that usually includes medical physicists, oncology nurses, radiation oncologists and other physicians, and radiation therapists.

Work Environment About this section

medical dosimetrists
Medical dosimetrists spend much of their time working at a computer.

Medical dosimetrists held about 3,500 jobs in 2022. The largest employers of medical dosimetrists were as follows:

Hospitals; state, local, and private 48%
Offices of physicians 23
Self-employed workers 5
Outpatient care centers 4
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private 3

Medical dosimetrists spend much of their time at the computer when calculating doses of radiation and designing treatment plans. Dosimetrists typically have less direct contact with patients compared with other members of the radiation oncology team. However, they occasionally interact with patients, such as to reposition them for procedures.

Injuries and Illnesses

Medical dosimetrists work with radiation and radioactive material, so they must follow procedures for safe handling. Safety protocol includes wearing a film badge dosimeter to track radiation exposure.

Work Schedules

Most medical dosimetrists work full time. They usually have a regular work schedule because radiation therapy procedures are often planned in advance.

How to Become a Medical Dosimetrist About this section

medical dosimetrists
Medical dosimetrists must complete an accredited medical dosimetry program.

To enter the occupation, medical dosimetrists typically need a bachelor's degree and must complete an accredited medical dosimetry program. Employers usually require workers to have certification.

Education

Medical dosimetrists typically need a bachelor’s degree in medical dosimetry or a related field, such as biology or physical science. Prospective dosimetrists whose degree is not in medical dosimetry may complete a certificate or master’s degree program in medical dosimetry. These programs usually last 1 to 2 years. A list of accredited medical dosimetry programs is available from the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT).

Admission to medical dosimetry programs is often competitive. Applicants may be required to be a registered radiation therapist or have a bachelor’s degree that includes coursework in specific subjects, such as biology, medical terminology, and calculus.

Medical dosimetry programs include courses such as physics, anatomy, and radiology. Programs also include supervised clinical experience in which students work onsite with practicing dosimetrists.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Employers usually prefer to hire medical dosimetrists who have earned the Certified Medical Dosimetrist (CMD) credential from the Medical Dosimetrist Certification Board (MDCB). Certification requires that candidates have a bachelor's degree, graduate from an accredited medical dosimetry program, and pass an exam. Maintaining certification requires completion of a specified number of hours of continuing education.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Some medical dosimetrists work as radiation therapists before earning the credentials to become dosimetrists.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. To ensure proper treatment, medical dosimetrists must convey important information about a patient’s radiation dosage both orally and in writing.

Critical-thinking skills. Medical dosimetrists analyze a patient's needs and health-related data, along with other factors, to determine treatment plans.

Detail oriented. Medical dosimetrists must be precise when calculating the amount and location of radiation that a patient will receive.

Interpersonal skills. Medical dosimetrists collaborate with other members of the radiation oncology team throughout a patient’s treatment.

Math skills. Medical dosimetrists need a strong background in mathematics in order to calculate and verify the proper doses of radiation.

Technical skills. Medical dosimetrists use computers and must be comfortable working with a variety of specialized medical equipment.

Pay About this section

Medical Dosimetrists

Median annual wages, May 2022

Medical dosimetrists

$128,970

Health technologists and technicians

$48,560

Total, all occupations

$46,310

 

The median annual wage for medical dosimetrists was $128,970 in May 2022. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $90,970, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $163,040.

In May 2022, the median annual wages for medical dosimetrists in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Offices of physicians $131,510
Hospitals; state, local, and private 129,540
Outpatient care centers 123,000
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private 106,560

Most medical dosimetrists work full time. They usually have a regular work schedule because radiation therapy procedures are often planned in advance.

Job Outlook About this section

Medical Dosimetrists

Percent change in employment, projected 2022-32

Health technologists and technicians

7%

Medical dosimetrists

3%

Total, all occupations

3%

 

Employment of medical dosimetrists is projected to grow 3 percent from 2022 to 2032, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

About 200 openings for medical dosimetrists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment

As adults get older, their likelihood of being diagnosed with cancer rises. The expected increase in the number of older people will therefore increase the demand for cancer care. Because radiotherapy plays a vital role in treating this disease, medical dosimetrists will be needed to help develop treatment plans for patients.

Employment projections data for medical dosimetrists, 2022-32
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2022 Projected Employment, 2032 Change, 2022-32 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Medical dosimetrists

29-2036 3,500 3,600 3 100 Get data

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OEWS data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.org. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of medical dosimetrists.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help on Entry-Level Education 2022 MEDIAN PAY Help on Median Pay
Nuclear medicine technologists Nuclear Medicine Technologists

Nuclear medicine technologists prepare and administer radioactive drugs for imaging or treatment.

Associate's degree $85,300
Physicians and surgeons Physicians and Surgeons

Physicians and surgeons diagnose and treat injuries or illnesses and address health maintenance.

Doctoral or professional degree $229,300
Physicists and astronomers Physicists and Astronomers

Physicists and astronomers study the interactions of matter and energy.

Doctoral or professional degree $139,220
Radiation therapists Radiation Therapists

Radiation therapists administer doses of radiation to patients who have cancer or other serious diseases.

Associate's degree $89,530
Radiologic technologists Radiologic and MRI Technologists

Radiologic technologists perform diagnostic imaging examinations on patients. MRI technologists operate magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners to create diagnostic images.

Associate's degree $67,180
Registered nurses Registered Nurses

Registered nurses (RNs) provide and coordinate patient care and educate patients and the public about various health conditions.

Bachelor's degree $81,220
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Medical Dosimetrists,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-dosimetrists.htm (visited January 27, 2024).

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, September 6, 2023

What They Do

The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. This tab also covers different types of occupational specialties.

Work Environment

The Work Environment tab includes the number of jobs held in the occupation and describes the workplace, the level of physical activity expected, and typical hours worked. It may also discuss the major industries that employed the occupation. This tab may also describe opportunities for part-time work, the amount and type of travel required, any safety equipment that is used, and the risk of injury that workers may face.

How to Become One

The How to Become One tab describes how to prepare for a job in the occupation. This tab can include information on education, training, work experience, licensing and certification, and important qualities that are required or helpful for entering or working in the occupation.

Pay

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State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's CareerOneStop.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

The Similar Occupations tab describes occupations that share similar duties, skills, interests, education, or training with the occupation covered in the profile.

Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2022 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2022, the median annual wage for all workers was $46,310.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2022

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2022, which is the base year of the 2022-32 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2022-32

The projected percent change in employment from 2022 to 2032. The average growth rate for all occupations is 3 percent.

Employment Change, 2022-32

The projected numeric change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2022-32

The projected numeric change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2022 to 2032.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

2022 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2022, the median annual wage for all workers was $46,310.