What is a Dosimetrist
Medical dosimetrists are medical professionals trained in the use of radiation therapy for the purpose of treating cancer. Working with radiation therapists, they diagnose and treat cancers with radiation; the dosimetrist specializes in establishing the optimal dose of radiation for each individual, with the goal of maximizing treatment while minimizing the harmful effects. For more information related to job duties, please visit our dosimetrist job description page.
Dosimetrists typically work in hospitals, clinics, physicians’ offices, cancer treatment centers, and outpatient care centers. As such, they will have clean, spacious work areas in which to work, with plenty of lighting.
The work does involving close proximity to radiation and radioactive devices. There is certainly a potential for an increased risk of exposure to these harmful elements, however health care centers will typically have systems and safety measures in place to minimize exposure for those working in the field.
A dosimetrist will typically work a forty-hour work week, often with standard business hours of 9-5 or 8-4. Occasionally, some variability may be required; some patients may require treatment in the evenings or on weekends, and this may necessitate a slightly different schedule from the normal. However, dosimetrists will rarely, if ever, be required to work more than the standard forty hours.
Mean Annual Dosimetrist Salary
The average annual dosimetrist salary is $81,410. This total is computed by adding the salaries of all of the dosimetrists and then dividing by the total number employed. There is a large gap between the highest earners and those with the lowest mean annual wages. The bottom 10% can expect to earn less than $51,720 each year whereas dosimetrists in the top 10% have salaries that begin at $113,810 and escalate from there.
Dosimetrist Salary: Quick Summary
|2012 Mean Salary||$80,410 per year
$38.66 per hour
|Top 10% Salary||$113,810 per year
$54.72 per hour
|Bottom 10% Salary||$51,720 per year
$24.86 per hour
|Number of Jobs, 2012||18,230|
Dosimetrist Job Outlook and Prospects
The job outlook for dosimetrists, closely related to radiation therapists, is expected to grow by around 24 percent between 2012 and 2022. This is due, in part, to the aging population; as people age, the incidence or potential for cancer rises steadily. As well, radiation therapy as a technology is advancing quite rapidly, and is a growing choice for the treatment of many types of cancers. As this growth continues, more dosimetrists will be needed to help with the increased number of patients in need of their skills. As well, many of the current dosimetrists are nearing retirement age, meaning there will be a greater demand than normal for new graduates in this field.
What Affects Dosimetrist Salary
Dosimetrist salary is affected by numerous factors, including experience, geographic location, and the industry worked. Specialization and position are of little consequence, however education can make some minor difference.
Overall, the mean annual wage for dosimetrists is around $80,410, covering a span of $51,720 to $113,810.
Education and Specialization
There are several paths to becoming a dosimetrist; the first is the completion of a twelve-month medical dosimetry course at an accredited institution, followed by six months of supervised clinical experience. The second is to acquire three years of experience as a dosimetrist while being supervised by a qualified professional. Or, if you are already a radiation therapist (or have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in that field), then two years (24 months) of supervised experience will also bring you certification. Those with related degrees will receive higher wages, especially those already working as radiation therapists; they will have the qualifications and experience with the position, as well as the ability to complete work in both areas.
Dosimetry does not have any particular specializations; it is a career that is focused enough on one area (ie treatment of cancer with radiation) that there is no requirement for it to involve specialties, at least as of yet.
Experience and Position
Experience is one of the primary methods of dosimetrist salary improvement, making a potential difference of nearly $25,000. Those new to the field will earn a lower salary, often between $50,000-$60,000. However, with ten or more years’ experience, this can grow to between $81,000 and $114,000.
Position is not a great matter for consideration; while in a large healthcare center, one might have a group of dosimetrists with which to work, the field is not yet large enough to have many directions for position gains.
The industry worked can have a significant impact on dosimetrist salary; while it doesn’t bring the $25,000 gains of experience, those working in a specialty hospital can earn almost $7,000 more than the average. Physicians’ offices offer around $85,000, and medical and diagnostic laboratories bring minor gains, with wages around $84,000.
The geographic location worked brings major changes to dosimetrist salary. Connecticut has the highest wages, at nearly $100,000. Washington shows wages of $98,970, and California has the third position at $97,500.
On the metropolitan level, the improvements are even more striking; San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA has the highest wages at $112,500. New Haven Connecticut follows at $107,600, and San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City rounds out the top three at $105,700.