Radiation Therapist Salary Guide

It’s no secret that the healthcare industry has plenty of high-paying jobs. What you may not know is that you don’t need to go to medical school or get a nursing degree to enjoy a rewarding career with above-average pay. This guide explains what it’s like to work as a radiation therapist, provides in-depth radiation therapist salary data and offers tips for getting started.

How to Become a Radiation Therapist

If you’re not already working in radiation therapy and think it sounds like an exciting career, you must meet a few requirements before you search for your first job. Review the education, certification and licensure requirements below.

Radiation Therapist Education Requirements

The first step in becoming a radiation therapist is to complete an associate or a bachelor’s degree in radiation therapy. Completing this education should take 2 to 4 years, depending on your chosen path. If you already have a degree in something other than radiation therapy, you may be able to enter the field by completing a certificate program. These programs typically last 12 to 18 months and focus on what you need to know to begin your radiation therapy career.

Although it’s possible to enter this field with an associate degree, many employers now view a bachelor’s degree as the minimum education requirement. If you have the time and money, enrolling in a 4-year program gives you as many employment opportunities as possible.

Once you complete general education requirements, courses focus on radiation therapy. It’s a math-heavy field but requires a solid education in mathematical concepts, physics and medicine.

Your program may also include courses in radiation therapy principles, oncology procedures and radiobiology. Some students find these courses difficult, but don’t let this discourage you. Many schools offer free tutoring or have teaching assistants available to help you understand challenging concepts.

Degree programs typically require students to complete a minimum number of clinical hours before graduating. Depending on where you attend school, your clinical placement may be at an academic medical center, a community hospital, an oncology practice or another healthcare facility.

Professional Certifications for Radiation Therapists

The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists offers professional certification in radiation therapy (R.T.(T)(ARRT)). Although not every state requires it, some states use your ARRT scores to determine if you’re eligible for a license to practice.

To obtain this certification, you must complete an associate degree or higher, demonstrate that you’re of good moral character and pass a comprehensive exam covering the principles of radiation therapy.

To keep your R.T.(R)(ARRT) credential, you must complete an annual renewal process and report your continuing education activities every 2 years. ARRT also requires certified radiation therapists to complete continuing qualification requirements every 10 years.

Licensure Requirements

As of March 2023, only the following 12 states don’t have any licensure requirements for radiation therapists:

  • Alabama

  • Alaska

  • Georgia

  • Idaho

  • Michigan

  • Minnesota

  • Missouri

  • Montana

  • North Carolina

  • Oklahoma

  • South Dakota

  • Wyoming

If you don’t live in one of these states, you may need to obtain a professional license and/or pass the ARRT certification exam before applying for a job. The requirements vary significantly from one state to the next.

For example, the Consolidated Laws of New York require radiation therapists, radiologic technologists and other healthcare professionals who apply ionizing radiation to humans to obtain a state license. Contact your state licensing body for more information about the requirements in your area.

Average Radiation Therapist Salary


The average salary for a Radiation Therapist is $57.64 per hour. This is 32% higher than the practicing US average of $38.94.

Last updated on March 1, 2024. Based on active jobs on Vivian.com.

Salaries for Radiation Therapist compared to Allied Health Professional National Averages


32% higher than the practicing US average.


United States

Where do Radiation Therapists get paid the most?
StateAverage Hourly SalaryMax Hourly Salary
What are the highest paying Employers and Agencies for Radiation Therapist jobs?

Last updated on March 1, 2024. Information based on active jobs on Vivian.com and pay data from BLS and around the web.

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Tips for Increasing Your Earnings

Although radiation therapy pays well compared to many other allied health occupations, there are a few ways to increase your earnings. Consider the following tips to boost your

  • Get certified: Some employers pay radiation therapists more if they earn a professional certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). If your state doesn’t require the credential, consider getting it anyway.

  • Accept a promotion: Many healthcare employers seek senior radiation therapists or lead
    radiation therapists. Qualifying for one of these roles significantly increases your salary and strengthens your career profile.

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