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Radiation Therapist
Radiation therapists design treatment plans for patients and administer radiation therapy treatment in conjunction with radiologists or other medical specialists, such as oncologists (treating cancer).

Radiation therapists follow the prescriptions of radiologists to establish a treatment plan that delivers the precise radiation dosage to the diseased area. They calculate details of procedures such as length of time and intensity of exposure to radiation, size and strength of dosages and settings of recording equipment. They are required to submit detailed treatment plans to radiologists for approval before treatment is commenced.

Radiation therapists explain procedures to patients and position patients on treatment couches. They monitor patients carefully during the treatment. They identify surface bones and measure and outline with a skin marker the area where the radiation beam is be applied. Then they operate the treatment machines, ancillary equipment and computer verification systems to deliver the planned treatment accurately.

They need to observe quality assurance and safety procedures and record dosage and other relevant details on patients' record sheets. They advise patients about self-care procedures for radiation side effects, or refer patients for further assistance.

Some radiation therapists prepare radioactive materials for use in radiation treatments and perform associated calculations. Others supervise and train students allocated from universities in the practical aspects of radiation therapy. A further group participates in patient and community education regarding radiation therapy.

Radiation therapists work in hospitals or radiation oncology centres. They work in teams, which include radiologists, nurses, medical physicists and other hospital staff.

Satisfying Aspects
- seeing patients improve with treatment
- working with and helping others
- interesting and varied work
- pleasant working conditions
- being in a specialist career that is also internationally recognized

Demanding aspects
- the heavy responsibility involved as lives depend on accuracy, reliability and conscientiousness
- the sadness when a patient dies

- interest and ability in science
- able to work accurately and neatly
- able to communicate well
- able to work as part of a team
- patience and empathy

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics, Physical Sciences
Recommended Subjects: Life Sciences

Degree: BSc Medical Radiation Science or Radiotherapy Technology or BRadiography (Radio Diagnostics) - UP, UCT, US, Wits.

Diploma: N.Dip:and B.Tech: Radiography (Diagnostic) - CUT, CPUT, DUT.

All students and qualified radiation therapists, after completing a year of clinical practice, must register with the Health professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), before receiving full accreditation. On successful completion of the year, the graduate is eligible for membership of the South African Institute of Radiography.

- radiation treatment centres
- government and private hospitals and clinics
- oncologists (cancer specialists)

The Society of Radiographers of South Africa
P O Box 6014
Roggebaai, 8012
Tel: (021) 419-4857 Fax: (021) 421-2566

Faculty of Health and Biotechnology
University of Johannesburg (Wits Tech)