September 15, 2005
As of May 2004, the median annual earnings of radiation therapists were $57,700; this means that 50 percent of those workers earned more than that amount, and 50 percent earned less.
The highest earning 10 percent earned more than $83,340, and the lowest 10 percent earned less than $38,550.
Radiation therapists administer radiation therapy to cancer patients, which helps to shrink tumors and save lives. As part of a medical radiation oncology team, radiation therapists use machines—called linear accelerators—to administer radiation to patients. Linear accelerators, used in a procedure called external beam therapy, project radioactive x-rays at targeted cancer cells. As the radioactive x-rays collide with human tissue, they produce highly energized ions that can shrink and eliminate cancerous tumors. Radiation therapy is sometimes used as the sole treatment for cancer, but it is most often used in conjunctions with chemotherapy or surgery.
In addition to providing a chance to help patients and apply scientific expertise, the occupation of radiation therapist often offers above-average salaries, and it is expected to have faster-than-average job growth over the 2002-12 decade.
The Occupational Employment Statistics program produces employment and wage estimates for radiation therapists and other occupations. For more information, see "Radiation Therapists: Treating cancer with technology" by Benjamin Wright, Occupational Outlook Quarterly, Summer 2005. Note about the chart: deciles divide the dataset into 10 equal-size groups and quartiles divide the dataset into 4 equal-size groups.