What is a Radiation Therapist

A radiation therapist is a health care professional working alongside of radiologist and other physicians to provide radiation therapy to patients. They may help with diagnosis, prescription reviews, equipment preparations, and record keeping.  For more on job description, please visit our radiation therapist job description page.

Work Environment

Radiation therapists work primarily in hospitals, cancer treatment centers, and physician offices. Lifting and turning disabled patients may be required. Since radiation therapist work with radioactive materials and radiation, they must adhere to strict safety procedures to ascertain no harmful substance affect the patients and themselves.

Radiation Therapist Salary

Work Schedule

Radiation therapists work fairly regular hours. Patients usually book therapy treatments way in advance, hence they usually do not have to work weekends and evenings.

Mean Annual Radiation Therapist Salary

The mean annual radiation therapist salary is $80,410. The mean salary is calculated by adding all the wages within the occupation and divid that value by the total number of employees. Lowest 10% of this occupation makes less than $51,720 and the top 10% makes over $113,810.

Radiation Therapist 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, 201218,230

Radiation Therapist Job Outlook and Prospects

The job outlook for radiation therapist is growing faster than average at a rate of 24%. New jobs will be available to highly trained radiation therapist at specialized treatment centers, hospitals, clinics, and rehabilitation centers across the U.S.  There is expected to be 4,500+ new jobs created in the next decade according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Affects Radiation Therapist Salary

Radiation therapists have a mean annual salary of $80,410, with a range from the lowest to highest 10% spanning $51,720 to $113,810. There are several factors at work influencing this $60,000 range, including experience, geographic location, and education.

Education and Specialization 

Education for radiation therapists is highly variable, and dependent on the state. Requirements for licensing varies between each state, and thus the required education has many differences. Some states require an associate’s degree, while others demand a bachelor’s degree.

Because of this variability, those seeking to work in a state with more lax requirements, or no licensing requirements at all, will find a greater education brings better wages. This is due in part to a greater knowledge base and skill set, and in part due to the added experience such an education brings, both from professorial training and from practical courses. Employers will often only hire individuals who has completed a certified program offered by ARRT.

Specialization is currently uncertain. There are specific requirements for all radiation therapists, and the field is growing to the point of requiring specialization in the near future, including topics such as intraoperative radiation therapy. However, at present, there are few subspecialties to study.

Experience and Position 

Experience is one of the primary methods of radiation therapist salary improvements. Starting radiation therapists can expect salaries in the $55,000 to $60,000 range, depending on their geography area. However, after 10 years in the field, the added knowledge and skills gained can mean salaries averaging $75,000 or more.

Position is a minor possibility for salary improvement. Radiation therapists typically work under a radiologist or other physician. However, in large hospitals, a team of radiation therapists will require a department head. As well, educational institutions require knowledgeable and experienced experts to teach new groups, so pursuing a pedagogical position can also bring wage increases.


Unlike other most medical fields, the industry worked has only a minor affect on radiation therapist salary. Most positions hover around the $80,410 average. The greatest outlier is working for a specialty hospital, which can see average salaries of $87,540. With only a $7,000 gain, this makes industry less important of a consideration.


Along with experience, location is one of the primary factors affecting radiation therapist salary. While working in Utah has the lowest salaries, averaging $61,210, working in Connecticut will bring the highest, at $99,440. Washington and California rank second and third, at $98,970 and $97,480, respectively.

These areas are reflected on the metropolitan level, with New Haven, CT bringing the second highest metropolitan averages at $107,620. It is outdone only by San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA, which has an average of $112,460.

Radiation Therapist Salary: Top 5

Top Paying Metropolitan AreasTop Paying StatesTop Paying IndustriesStates with Highest Employment Level
San Jose, CA: $112,460Connecticut: $99,440Specialty Hospitals: $87,540New York: (2,490 jobs) $92,190
New Haven, CT: $107,620Washington: $98,970Employment Services: $86,090California: (1,320 jobs) $97,480
San Francisco, CA: $105,720California: $97,480Offices of Physicians: $85,140Florida: (1,190 jobs) $79,920
Seattle, WA: $104,780New Jersey: $92,960Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories: $83,910Pennsylvania: (970 jobs) $75,740
Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, CA: $102,900New York: $92,190Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools: $81,170Texas: (940 jobs) $75,470

radiation therapist salary state by state