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Radiation therapists are some of the highest paid medical technology experts in the United States, and their salaries in California are commensurate with positions that have much longer formal education requirements. Radiation therapy programs in California answer the need for medical professionals who are prepared to combat the growing cancer epidemic. Cancer is one of the most prevalent killers in the United States, with several thousand people dying of some form of cancer each and every day. Some forms of cancer, such as skin cancer related to sun exposure and lung cancer that may be aggravated by air pollution, are more common in California than the national average.
As a result, now is a good time to ask how to become a radiation therapy in California. Many of the University of California medical centers dispersed throughout the state include advanced radiation therapy equipment and research. For this reason, it is often a good idea for California radiation therapy students to seek a program affiliated with one of these major centers. In response to the reality of over a half million cancer deaths in the U.S. each year, new technologies are constantly being developed and tested -- radiation therapists with these skills can expect to raise their base pay substantially.
It is possible to begin your career in this field with a two year associate's degree, but a four year California bachelor's degree will strengthen your opportunities to transition to medical roles such as radiation oncologist, a job that requires medical school. When you work as a radiation therapist, you will deploy radiation in a targeted manner to help a patient according to a radiation oncologist's recommendation. Radiation therapists have a more 'hands on' role than other technologists, since they can be required to help discover the location of tumors using imaging equipment prior to treatment. Some are also adept at repairing and improving the equipment they use.
Like many related professions, California's Department of Public Health is in charge of credentialing radiation therapists. Additional requirements may apply depending upon the type of equipment that you use. In exchange for these high standards, you can expect a very competitive salary. $80,000 is considered on the low end for California radiation therapists, with $75,000 a typical starting salary -- although starting figures can vary based upon your employer. $95,000 is the state-wide median for this job in California, while few will reach $105,000 and higher. The state provides some placement assistance through its CalJOBS state employment site and One-Stop Career Centers around the state.