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.