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Occupational Profile

Radiation Therapist

Radiation therapists administer prescribed radiation treatments for cancer patients.

  • Avg. Salary $68,897.00
  • Avg. Wage $42.56
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary
  • Outlook Up
  • Employed 2,400
  • In Demand High
Also Known As

Health Care Technologist, Medical Technologist, Medical Radiation Technologist

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

25%
25%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Radiation Therapist is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Radiation Therapists
NOC code: 3215.3
OBJECTIVE

Interest in precision working with radiation therapy equipment to administer treatments prescribed by radiation oncologists, and to help with the construction of devices such as plaster casts and acrylic moulds used for radiation treatments; and in checking radiation therapy equipment to ensure proper operation

METHODICAL

Interest in assisting radiation oncologists and clinical physicists with administration of radiation treatment plans and preparation of sealed radioactive materials; and in monitoring patients' physical and psychological well-being during the entire course of treatments

innovative

Interest in compiling information to prepare and administer radiation treatments

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Radiation damages and destroys cancer cells. Radiation treatments may be administered externally using radiation-emitting equipment such as linear accelerators, or internally by placing radioactive material into body cavities or tissue.

Radiation therapists work closely with medical specialists such as radiation oncologists and medical physicists. In general, radiation therapists:

  • operate complex technical apparatus and treatment units
  • plan the physical and technical aspects of radiation treatments
  • deliver high-energy radiation therapy to patients
  • construct patient positioning aides and individual treatment devices
  • educate patients, families and significant others about treatments, side effects, on-site care, dietary requirements and available support programs
  • support and care for patients during treatment sessions and implement appropriate follow-up care plans
  • assess individual patients' reactions to treatments
  • calculate actual treatment dosages delivered during each session.
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Working hours may vary including regular weekday hours, evening shifts or on-call shifts. They may spend extended periods standing or walking. Radiation therapists lift and move patients and routinely handle treatment accessories that weigh up to 10 kilograms.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Radiation therapists need the following characteristics:

  • good physical health
  • a sense of responsibility and a high degree of integrity
  • empathy and compassion
  • patience and consideration for people of all ages and backgrounds
  • an understanding of the special needs of cancer patients
  • good communication skills and the ability to put people at ease
  • an interest in science and technology
  • interest in keeping their skills and knowledge of radiation therapy practices and technology up to date
  • the ability to maintain a high level of accuracy in their duties
  • good organizational skills
  • good problem solving and critical thinking skills
  • the ability to work well in a team environment.

They should enjoy using equipment to perform tasks requiring precision, having procedures and standards for their work, compiling information and working with the public.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 16, 2016

The University of Alberta in Edmonton offers a three year bachelor of science (BSc.) degree in radiation therapy. The classroom component of the program is attended in Edmonton. The clinical component includes a simulation semester and clinical practicums at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary, the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton and the Jack Ady Cancer Centre in Lethbridge. Program entrance requirements include completion of a "pre-professional" year at any post-secondary school with a minimum 3.2 GPA. Applicants must also complete a personal interview and write a career reflection letter. Specific pre-professional year course requirements are listed on the program website.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Medical Radiation Technologist

Medical radiation technologists apply ionizing radiation and other forms of energy to produce diagnostic images, evaluate the technical sufficiency of such images, use ionizing radiation and other forms of energy for treatment purposes, and take part in patient care through interdisciplinary, peer and public education, patient counselling, radiation protection, management and related research.

Legislation

Under Alberta's Health Professions Act and Medical Diagnostic and Therapeutic Technologists Profession Regulation, only registered members of the Alberta College of Medical Diagnostic and Therapeutic Technologists (ACMDTT) may call themselves a magnetic resonance technologist, nuclear medicine technologist, radiological technologist or radiation therapist. Registered members provide health services listed in Schedule 12 of the Health Professions Act.

Education

Registration requires successful completion of: (1) an approved program of studies and (2) an approved examination. Applicants who have been out of practice for a period of time also may have to demonstrate that they are currently competent to practice. For official, detailed information about registration requirements, visit the ACMDTT website or contact the ACMDTT registrar.

Working in Alberta

Medical radiation technologists and therapists who are registered by and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for registration in Alberta if registered practitioners in the two jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see "What if I am already certified in another province or territory?" and the Alberta regulatory authority (below).

To find more information on the certification process for internationally educated medical radiation technologists and therapists, see Electroneurophysiology Technologist Registration ProcessMagnetic Resonance Technologist Registration ProcessNuclear Medicine Technologist Registration ProcessRadiation Therapist Registration Process and Radiological Technologist Registration Process on the AlbertaCanada.com website.

Contact Details

Alberta College of Medical Diagnostic and Therapeutic Technologists
#800, 4445 Calgary Trail
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada  T6H 5R7
Phone number: 780-487-6130
Toll-free phone number: 1-800-282-2165
Fax number: 780-432-9106
Website: www.acmdtt.com

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Above-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

In Alberta, radiation therapists are employed by Alberta Health Services - CancerControl Alberta at the following facilities:

  • Tom Baker Centre in Calgary
  • Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton
  • Jack Ady Cancer Centre in Lethbridge.

In Canada, there are about 33 cancer care facilities that offer radiation therapy services.

Experienced radiation therapists may advance to senior therapist positions. With additional education and experience, they may move into management or teaching positions.

Radiation therapists are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 3215: Medical radiation technologists. In Alberta, 94% of people employed in this classification work in the Health Care and Social Assistance (PDF) industry.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 16, 2016
Medical radiation technologists
NOC code: 3215

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $32.91 $41.01 $35.15 $35.64
Overall $37.97 $49.59 $42.56 $42.39
Top $43.33 $52.92 $45.55 $45.80

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES
Health Care & Social Assistance

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

25%
25%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

N/A

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

N/A

2015 Vacancy Rate

N/A
Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
    • Biology
    • Physics
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Health Care Services
    • Human and Social Services
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Alberta College of Medical Diagnostic and Therapeutic Technologists (ACMDTT) website: www.acmdtt.com

Alberta Health Services - CancerControl Alberta website: www.albertahealthservices.ca/8109.asp

Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website: www.hsaa.ca


 

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 27, 2014. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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