Radiation therapists use linear accelerators to direct high-energy X-rays at diseased body tissues, especially cancerous tumors. These treatments aim at destroying or shrinking abnormal cells as part of the overall therapy prescribed by a physician. Radiation therapists usually qualify for the career through associate or bachelor's degree programs in radiation therapy, and most states also require certification and licensing. A career as a radiation therapist typically pays well.
The average salary for radiation therapy jobs was $39.30 per hour as of 2013, or $81,740 annually, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest-earning 10 percent of radiation therapists earned $53,010 per year or less, and the top 10 percent received $114,900 annually or more.
As of 2013, the two top industries of employment for radiation therapists were general medical and surgical hospitals, and doctors' offices. Radiation therapists in hospitals averaged $79,050 annually in 2013, and those in doctors' offices averaged $86,920 a year, according to the BLS. The third-largest employer was outpatient care centers, where they averaged $85,860 per year. Specialty hospitals, in fourth place for jobs, paid $90,490 in average annual wages.
The state with the most jobs for radiation therapists in 2013 was New York, where wages averaged $96,770 annually, according to the BLS. California came next for jobs and reported average earnings of $98,230 per year. In Pennsylvania, third for employment, annual wages averaged $75,270 a year. Connecticut reported the highest wages of any state, an average of $105,120 annually, but had only 300 radiation therapy jobs.