Medical Dosimetrist - Job Description, Duties, Education, Skills, Salary, & Growth

Medical Dosimetrist


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Medical Dosimetrist Job Description

 

The medical dosimetrist works as a vital member on the radiation oncology team. Radiation therapy involves treating cancer through a directed radiation beam or the insertion of radioactive seeds into or near a cancerous tumor. This therapy is designed to help shrink the tumor, but it can also cause damage to surrounding healthy tissues and organs. The job of the medical dosimetrist is to ensure that radiation treatment does the most good with a minimal amount of harm to the patient.

Radiation oncology teams usually include a radiation oncologist, a medical dosimetrist, a medical physicist, radiation therapists and nurses. When radiation therapy is prescribed for a cancer patient, a medical dosimetrist is responsible for determining exactly how to deliver the prescribed dose of radiation.

The medical dosimetrist first uses a three-dimensional computer model to calculate the exact location of the tumor and how to best distribute the radiation. Beam modification devices may be used to better target the radiation, thus minimizing the damage to surrounding tissues. To protect the patient’s body against exposure in non-cancerous areas, specialized equipment may be used to immobilize or cover body parts.

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Responsibilities

 

The medical dosimetrist is responsible for running computer simulations before the patient receives treatment, in order to make needed adaptations. This procedure is designed to make sure the plan will work as designed before the patient is exposed to it. The medical dosimetrist will then supervise the radiation therapist as he or she implements the treatment plan. The plan for radiation treatment may include only one dose or it may require several treatments to be scheduled over days or weeks.

According to the American Association of Medical Dosimetrists (AAMD), common responsibilities of medical dosimetrists include:

  • Designing radiation treatment plans to deliver precise levels of radiation doses with optimal beam geometry.

  • Identifying and contouring normal and dose-limiting structures by utilizing images from one or more data sets.

  • Creating and transferring reference images and localization markers for portal verification and treatment delivery.

  • Using specified imaging devices, such as CT, MRI, and PET scans, to supervise, perform, or assist in simulations or tumor localization.

  • Planning and implementing the fabrication of compensation filters, wedges, custom shields, and other beam-modifying devices.

  • Performing calculations to ensure accurate delivery of the prescribed radiation dose.

  • Documenting all pertinent information in patient records.

  • Verifying the mathematical accuracy of all calculation by an approved method.

  • Providing support and assistance to the medical physicist.

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Skills

 

Good communication is a necessary skill for a medical dosimetrist. He or she must be able to pay close attention to the radiation oncologist in order to understand the treatment goals. The medical dosimetrist must accurately document the treatment plan, and must be able to clearly explain the plan to the radiation therapist who will be responsible for implementing the course of treatment.

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Working Conditions

 

A medical dosimetrist will usually work a normal 40-hour week in a cancer treatment center or hospital. Medical dosimetrists use computers to design radiation treatments and test the effectiveness of the treatment. They are required to precisely document treatment plans, a responsibility that takes a good deal of time. They frequently consult with physicians, with patients and their families and with the radiation oncology team.

The very nature of this work places the medical dosimetrist in close proximity to radioactive materials. Proper safety precautions are absolutely necessary to minimize exposure.

 


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How to Become a Medical Dosimetrist:

 

1. Earn a Bachelor's Degree (4 Years)

 

Aspiring medical dosimetrists should first pursue a bachelor's degree program in radiation therapy, or a closely related field such as biology, microbiology, physics, chemistry, biochemistry, or premed. 

 

The preparation timeline below provides an example premed undergraduate curriculum:

 

Grade Level Example Courses

Freshman Year

 

  • Health Care Systems
  • Biology I & Lab
  • Biology II & Lab
  • Calculus I
  • Chemistry I & Lab
  • Chemistry II & Lab
  • English I
  • Psychology 
  • Humanities Requirements
  • Electives

Sophomore Year

  • Public Health
  • Anatomy & Physiology I & Lab
  • Anatomy & Physiology II & Lab
  • Statistics
  • Organic Chemistry I & Lab
  • Organic Chemistry II & Lab
  • Basic Skills for Healthcare
  • Nutrition
  • Humanities Requirements
  • Electives

Junior Year

 

  • Healthcare Communication
  • Healthcare Professional Writing
  • Genetics & Microbiology I & Lab
  • Physics I & Lab
  • Physics II & Lab
  • Problems in Healthcare
  • Healthcare Research
  • Biochemistry I & Lab
  • Humanities Requirements
  • Electives

Senior Year

  • Health in the US
  • Health Education and Planning
  • Healthcare Management
  • Health Policy
  • Capstone
  • Remaining Requirements
  • Remaining Electives

 

2. Complete a JRCERT Accredited Medical Dosimetry Program (1 Year)

 

The educational program to become a medical dosimetrist is rigorous. It requires a thorough understanding of the effects of cancer on the body and how radiation is used as a treatment for cancerous cells. A medical dosimetrist must be able to calculate the exact dose of radiation needed to achieve the objectives of the treatment plan. Higher-level math is required to accurately calculate dosages. Computer-generated models must be used to visualize bodily structures, thus requiring an ability to accurately interpret these images.

A medical dosimetrist must learn all about the equipment used in radiation therapy and the proper techniques to deliver radiation treat in a safe manner. Protecting the safety of the patient and other medical personnel is paramount.

Classroom education as well as clinical practice is included in the program of study.

 

Search JRCERT Accredited Medical Dosimetry Programs

 

3. Become a Certified Medical Dosimetrist

 

Medical dosimetrists must pass an examination and meet continuing education requirements in order to maintain certification through the Medical Dosimetrist Certification Board (MDCB).

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Salary Outlook

Title Company Location Posted
08.11.2019
Duke University Hospital is consistently rated as one of the best in the United States and is known around the world for its outstanding care and groundbreaking research. Duke University Hospital has 957 inpatient beds and offers comprehensive...
08.19.2019
Position Summary: The dosimetrist is employed by the hospital and reports dually to the Physicist (for technical performance) and to the Radiation Center Administrative Director (for non-technical performance). The dosimetrist is responsible...
08.15.2019
Description Performs treatment planning, dose calculations and brachytherapy procedures for Radiation Oncology patients. Performs quality control checks on radiation therapy equipment. Qualifications Certified Medical Dosimetrist...
08.19.2019
The Dosimetrist reports to the Chief of Treatment Planning. This position is responsible for supporting the ongoing mission of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to provide high quality, state of the art patient care. Essential...
08.19.2019
This is a professional position contributing to the development of individual radiation treatment plans. Work involves calculating doses for treatment, extensive treatment planning of radiation treatments, and fabricating treatment aids. Work is...
08.02.2019
Thank you for your interest in Northwest Floridas leading health care provider Sacred Heart Health System. Northwest Florida is a growing, family-oriented community, offering a mild climate, year-round recreational opportunities and beautiful...
08.19.2019
Is knowledgeable of hospital and HGNCCC compliance requirements for federally funded healthcare programs (eg. Medicare and Medicaid) regarding fraud, waste and abuse. Brings any questions or concerns regarding compliance to the immediate...
07.23.2019
Under the supervision of the Chief Radiation Therapist and Director of Imaging, the Radiation Therapist performs a variety of technical duties relating to patient treatments. The Therapist is responsible for performing machine warm-up and quality...
06.19.2019
One of the nations largest and most respected hospital companies, Universal Health Services, Inc. (UHS)* has built an impressive record of achievement and performance. Steadily growing from a startup to an esteemed Fortune 500 corporation, UHS...
11.27.2018
Provides nursing care to patients, under the direction of a physician, who present with a broad range of medical complaints. The job includes, but is not limited to, the following: receiving patients, performing vital signs, specimen collection,...
07.31.2019
This position is responsible for accurate laboratory testing in a hospital-based clinical lab to include Blood Bank, Chemistry, Special Chemistry, Coagulation, Hematology, Microbiology, Phlebotomy, and Urinalysis. This individual must demonstrate...
08.19.2019
This position is at Moscow Family Medicine This position can be filled with a Medical Assistant or LPN Medical Assistant (MA) personnel perform a variety of clinical tasks within their scope of training and certification, under the direct...
03.19.2019
One of the nations largest and most respected hospital companies, Universal Health Services, Inc. (UHS)* has built an impressive record of achievement and performance. Steadily growing from a startup to an esteemed Fortune 500 corporation, UHS...
07.08.2019
Provides nursing care to patients, under the direction of a physician, who present with a broad range of medical complaints. The job includes, but is not limited to, the following: receiving patients, performing vital signs, specimen collection,...
07.17.2019
Responsible for maintaining the uniform operation of the department by performing a broad range of duties. Receives and processes necessary paperwork; maintains on-going records, performs exams according to policy while assuring patient safety,...
  1. DOSIMETRIST Durham, NC Duke Health
    Duke University Hospital is consistently rated as one of the best in the United States and is known around the world for its outstanding care and groundbreaking research. Duke University Hospital has 957 inpatient beds and offers comprehensive...
  2. Dosimetrist- Certified Springfield, IL Memorial Health System
    Position Summary: The dosimetrist is employed by the hospital and reports dually to the Physicist (for technical performance) and to the Radiation Center Administrative Director (for non-technical performance). The dosimetrist is responsible...
  3. Dosimetrist- Salem Shaker Heights, OH University Hospitals
    Description Performs treatment planning, dose calculations and brachytherapy procedures for Radiation Oncology patients. Performs quality control checks on radiation therapy equipment. Qualifications Certified Medical Dosimetrist...
  4. Dosimetrist Boston, MA Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
    The Dosimetrist reports to the Chief of Treatment Planning. This position is responsible for supporting the ongoing mission of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to provide high quality, state of the art patient care. Essential...
  5. Dosimetrist-Radiation Oncology Therapy Portland, ME MaineHealth
    This is a professional position contributing to the development of individual radiation treatment plans. Work involves calculating doses for treatment, extensive treatment planning of radiation treatments, and fabricating treatment aids. Work is...
  6. Dosimetrist - PRN Panama City, FL Bay Medical Sacred Heart
    Thank you for your interest in Northwest Floridas leading health care provider Sacred Heart Health System. Northwest Florida is a growing, family-oriented community, offering a mild climate, year-round recreational opportunities and beautiful...
  7. Medical Physicist Dubuque, IA UnityPoint Health - Finley Hospital
    Is knowledgeable of hospital and HGNCCC compliance requirements for federally funded healthcare programs (eg. Medicare and Medicaid) regarding fraud, waste and abuse. Brings any questions or concerns regarding compliance to the immediate...
  8. Radiation Therapist Olympia, WA Capital Medical Center
    Under the supervision of the Chief Radiation Therapist and Director of Imaging, the Radiation Therapist performs a variety of technical duties relating to patient treatments. The Therapist is responsible for performing machine warm-up and quality...
  9. MEDICAL ASSISTANT Aiken, SC Aiken Regional Medical Centers
    One of the nations largest and most respected hospital companies, Universal Health Services, Inc. (UHS)* has built an impressive record of achievement and performance. Steadily growing from a startup to an esteemed Fortune 500 corporation, UHS...
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    This position is responsible for accurate laboratory testing in a hospital-based clinical lab to include Blood Bank, Chemistry, Special Chemistry, Coagulation, Hematology, Microbiology, Phlebotomy, and Urinalysis. This individual must demonstrate...
  12. MFM Medical Assistant/LPN Moscow, ID Gritman Medical Center
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  13. MEDICAL TECHNOLOGIST- PRN Aiken, SC Aiken Regional Medical Centers
    One of the nations largest and most respected hospital companies, Universal Health Services, Inc. (UHS)* has built an impressive record of achievement and performance. Steadily growing from a startup to an esteemed Fortune 500 corporation, UHS...
  14. Medical Assistant OJT Guntersville, AL Marshall Medical Centers
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