Radiation Therapy FAQ

Southern Illinois University



students in lab


What does a Radiation Therapist do?

The professional responsibilities of a Radiation Therapist include, but are not limited to:

  • Performing radiation therapy simulations (setting the patient up for daily treatments) 
  • Delivering the daily radiation treatments
  • Evaluating and monitoring treatment delivery equipment 
  • Performing radiation dose calculations 
  • Working under supervision as a member of the medical team 
  • Providing high quality patient care 
  • Collaborating with physicians and other members of the health care team.

Radiation Therapists must be able to interact compassionately and effectively with people who range from healthy to terminally ill. 

How do I become a Radiation Therapist?

The Radiation Therapy Specialization is offered during the fourth year of the Radiologic Sciences bachelor's degree program (See course sequence). Upon completion of the Radiation Therapy curriculum the student will be prepared to challenge the national registry examination in Radiation Therapy offered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.

What is the eligibility for the Radiation Therapy Specialization?

Individuals should be registered radiologic technologists. Preferred candidates have completed all core curriculum and senior institution requirements.

What are the technical aspects of a Radiation Therapist?

Radiation Therapists should be able to:

  • Lift more than 50 pounds routinely 
  • Push and pull routinely 
  • Bend and stoop routinely 
  • Have full use of both hands, wrists, and shoulders 
  • Distinguish audible sounds 
  • Work standing on their feet 90% of the time 
  • Assist patients on and off treatment tables, carts and in and out of wheelchairs 
  • Communicate effectively with patients, patients' families, and other health care professionals 
  • Organize and accurately perform the individual steps in a radiation therapy procedure in the proper sequence

How many students are admitted to the program each time?

Due to clinical hour requirements and the number of clinical sites, a maximum of 20 students is admitted to the program each year. These students will serve at two internship sites: one during the spring clinical and one during the summer clinical.

Where are the lectures given?

Classes during the fall semester are held on the campus at SIU in Carbondale, Illinois. During the spring and summer semesters students will attend distant cancer centers for their clinical training.

What are the job opportunities for Radiation Therapists?

Radiation Therapists can choose to work in hospitals, physician clinics, or for technical companies within the industry. Career advancement opportunities exist in education, administration, research and commercial companies as education/application specialists, sales representatives, technical advisors, etc. The therapist can also pursue a career in medical dosimetry, the treatment planning and dose calculations specialty within radiation therapy. In addition to excellent career opportunities, salaries for radiation therapists are competitive with or higher than those of other professionals with similar levels of education.

Are there any extra expenses that a Radiation Therapist student would incur?

In addition to University tuition, the fees for textbooks and lab coats are approximately $500. The living expenses vary depending upon the individual.. 

A computer, scanner, and high speed Internet are required for the spring and summer semesters.