How to Become a Radiation Therapist
As a radiation therapist, you can help treat patients with cancer. The therapist operates an X-ray or CT (computer tomography) scanning machine to determine the location of a cancer tumor. Then, the therapist administers treatment using a linear accelerator, which uses X-rays to shrink the cancer cells and eliminate the tumor. To become a radiation therapist, you must possess certain traits and pass several education and training requirements.
Part One of Two:
Becoming a Therapist Edit
Determine if you have the necessary technical skills. A radiation technician’s job can be physically demanding, beyond simply being able to work the machinery. You need good organizational skills to maintain detailed patient treatment records, and must have the physical strength to help patients onto treatment tables.
Determine if you have the right interpersonal skills. Working with cancer patients on a daily basis can be emotionally difficult. You should be empathetic, willing to provide emotional support during a stressful treatment session, and have good communication skills. 
Attend a college with an accredited radiation therapy program. In addition to learning about radiation therapy procedures, these programs will generally require coursework in human anatomy and physiology, physics, algebra, computer science, and research methodology. The website of the American Registry of Radiologic Technicians (ARRT)  can help you find an accredited school or program. 
- A Radiation Therapy degree can be either an associates degree or a bachelor’s degree. Starting in 2015, certification from the ARRT (which is not always necessary for employment) requires a college degree. 
Part Two of Two:
Working as a Therapist Edit
Follow the work requirements for your state and employer. Many states require licensing in order to practice. Even if you are not in one of those states, your employer may require it.
- The American Society of Radiologic Technicians (ASRT) has a list of the licensing requirements by state, as well as contact information for each state agency, on their website. 
Get certified by the ARRT. Most employers will require a certification, which is different from the state license. Though it may not be required by every state, having ARRT certification can give you more options of places to work. To receive certification, you must complete certain educational requirements, adhere to the ARRT Standards of Ethics, then pass a computer-based test at a testing center. The exam includes a $200 testing fee. 
- You need to take the ARRT certification exam within three years of receiving your associates or bachelor’s degree, and you can take the exam up to three times.
- To help prepare for the exam, the ARRT provides an outline of the exam. It does not specifically prescribe any particular preparation book, so you will have to find one that best suits your needs. 
- ARRT certification requires annual renewal by the end of your birth month. You can either renew by mail, on online through their website. Requirements include a $25 fee and continued adherence to the ARRT Standards of Ethics. In addition, you must complete a continuing education requirement every two years and Continuing Qualifications Requirements every ten years. 
- If your registration lapses, you can be reinstated with an additional fee. If you have gone more than six months without renewal, you will need to retake the examination, with a $200 fee.
Interview for job openings. The majority of radiation therapists work in hospitals, but there are also opportunities in doctor’s offices and outpatient facilities. During the interview process, you should demonstrate a good understanding of patient care activities, the application of radiation, safety protocols, and other relevant activities.
Keep a lookout for career advancement. An experienced therapist can rise to take on additional responsibility in a managerial role. With additional education and certification, you could even become a dosimetrist, who calculates the amount of radiation required for treatment.