About the Major

Radiation therapy involves the use of different forms of ionizing radiation for the treatment of benign and malignant tumors. Radiation therapists administer the prescribed dose of ionizing radiation to specific sites of the patient's body as directed by a physician. They operate various types of equipment, including high-energy linear accelerators, and work with radioactive materials. Radiation therapists also observe the clinical progress of the patient, note the first signs of complications, and determine when treatment should be withheld until a physician may be consulted.

Skills and abilities this major develops include: effective communication, ability to think critically and solve problems in a health care environment, ability to perform radiation dose calculations, ability to assess treatment plans and apply basic research methods, and ability to evaluate a patient's therapeutic responses.

Quick Facts

Sample Coursework

  • Human physiology
  • Sectional anatomy
  • Simulation/treatment procedures
  • Physics of radiation oncology
  • Clinical dosimetry I and II
  • Radiation and cancer biology

Possible Careers

  • Staff radiation therapists
  • Chief radiation therapist
  • Department manager
  • Medical dosimetrist*
  • Pharmaceutical sales representative
  • Educator*

*Career options require additional training or education.

Where could I work?

  • Hospitals
  • Physicians' offices
  • Outpatient centers

Health and Life Sciences Cluster

This major belongs to the Health and Life Sciences (HLS) cluster.

Learn about the HLS cluster

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