Medical Dosimetrist: Salary and Career Facts

Explore the career requirements for medical dosimetrists. Get the facts about job duties, certification and education requirements and salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Cardiovascular Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Medical Dosimetrist?

Dosimetry is the calculation of the appropriate dosage of radiation to use in cancer treatment. Medical dosimetrists work with cancer patients to apply the correct dosage of radiation at the correct location of the body. This is often done through computer programs on medical equipment. These professionals must communicate well with patients to explain the procedure and answer any questions or concerns they may have. They also work closely with the patient's physician to determine the required amount and duration of treatment. Medical dosimetrists also ensure the patient's safety during treatments and make sure that the machines are working properly. After treatments they may monitor the patient for any negative side effects. They must keep detailed records of all treatments they perform. The table below outlines the general requirements for a career as a medical dosimetrist.

Education Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Related science preferred
Other Requirements To become certified, must graduate from accredited program or obtain required clinical experience and complete approved credits
Key Responsibilities Calculate dosage of radiation administered for oncology treatment plan, plan treatment to deliver the dosage prescribed, check all calculations for mathematical accuracy, may supervise radiation therapists in proper implementation of procedures
Job Growth (2014-2024) 14% for all radiation therapists*
Median Salary (2017) $110,412**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Salary.com

What Type of Work Will I Do As a Medical Dosimetrist?

Medical dosimetrists calculate the dosage of radiation to be administered as part of an oncology treatment plan, working under the supervision of radiation oncologists and medical physicists. You'll plan treatment to deliver the dosage prescribed by the radiation oncologist. Your treatment planning will be based on the tumor(s) being treated, as well as on your knowledge of organs potentially affected by treatment of a tumor in their vicinity. You may also be involved in research, equipment calibrations and quality assurance. You'll check all calculations for mathematical accuracy and may supervise radiation therapists in proper implementation of procedures.

Patient simulations and computer modeling may also be an area of responsibility. You may work both with external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) and internal radiotherapy, or brachytherapy.

Another role you may perform is education, either of new dosimetrists under your supervision or as a university or college instructor. Some dosimetrists also accept employment in sales for radiation oncology vendors or work as independent contractors or consultants.

What Education and Certification Do I Need?

To become a Certified Medical Dosimetrist (CMD), a credential required by many employers, you must pass the exams administered by the Medical Dosimetrist Certification Board (MDCB). As of 2017, there is only one standard for certification. Candidates must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree and graduation from a Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) Medical Dosimetry program of at least 12 months.

Are There Opportunities for Advancement?

Positions such as Chief Medical Dosimetrist, Radiation or Dosimetry Department Manager or Chief Radiation Therapist are all administrative roles to which you may advance as a dosimetrist. Hospital administration is another potential avenue for advancement.

What Can I Expect to Earn?

According to Salary.com, the 2017 median annual salary for medical dosimetrists was $110,412. The median salary for the lowest ten percent was $92,164, while the median for the top 10% was $128,823.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Registered nurses are closely related to medical dosimetrists and require a bachelor's degree. These professionals perform a variety of procedures as part of routine patient care. They also help coordinate patient care, support patients and educate the public about different health issues. Radiologic and MRI technologists are also related positions, but they require only an associate's degree. Radiologic technologists produce diagnostic images of patients using medical equipment like x-ray machines. MRI technologists also produce diagnostic images, but specialize in using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners.

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