Radiation Therapist Salary

As with most health care related career paths, radiation therapy salary can cover a wide range. There are several factors that affect salary level including education, experience, specialization, and work environment. Along with salary, benefit packages will often vary, particularly with the work setting that you choose to pursue.

How much does a radiation therapist make?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average radiation therapy salary for all those employed in the industry was $78,290 as of May 2010. However, salary can range from as low as $50,950 all the way up to $110,550. Much of that large discrepancy is due to the factors discussed above.

The educational requirements for even an entry-level position will start with a minimum two-year program to attain an associate's degree in radiation therapy. It's better if you get your bachelor's degree, which is a four-year program. If you already are in a program for radiography or have obtained a degree in that field, you can take and complete a one year program to get a certificate in radiation therapy.

While licensing is not required in every state, taking and passing the ARRT examination in order to have an official certification is always a good idea. Even when the state doesn't require it, the employer may. If you have it, you won't be limiting your potential opportunities.

As with any career, the more experience you have, the higher your salary potential. This is especially true if you've been able to acquire new skills along the way, either with continuing education or work experience. Management skills will open up a new level for the radiation therapy salary range, as well. Often there will be a therapy team or department so there will also be supervisor and management positions.

Specialization of any sort will always command a higher radiation therapy salary. There are not as many specialist areas in this field but there are some such as pediatrics or geriatrics. Pediatric radiation therapists are in particular demand as it takes a special kind of person to be able to work with children with cancer.

Working in a public hospital will almost always offer lower salary than working in a private cancer center or other specialty settings. Benefit packages will usually be much more attractive in the private sector, as well, and that is also a consideration.

As this is a growing field, expected to grow by 27% by 2018, the range of radiation therapy salary is very likely to also continue to grow.

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