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
04.24.2019
GENERALDESCRIPTION/MISSION STATEMENT: TheMedical Dosimetrist is a member of the radiation oncology team who hasknowledge of the overall characteristics and clinical relevance of radiationoncology treatment machines and equipment, and has the...
04.24.2019
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...
04.24.2019
Maine Medical Center Department: MaineHealth Maine Medical Center/ONC Radiation Therapy Physics Std Hrs/Wk: Full Time Shift: Day Shift Full/Part Time: 40 Apply Internal Apply Create Job Alert Add to Cart Job Details: Position...
04.05.2019
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...
04.24.2019
Job Number: 00125407 Location: Boise, ID Organization Name: Saint Alphonsus Health System Facility: SAHS 1055 N Curtis Road Employment Type: Full time Hours: 40 GENERAL SUMMARY AND PURPOSE: Prepares radiation isodose plans for...
03.29.2019
The Medical Dosimetrist is responsible for designing radiation treatment plans according to the Radiation Oncologist's prescription to deliver radiation dose while limiting the dose to critical structures surrounding the tumor site. They work...
04.24.2019
The Dosimetrist, under the general supervision of the Radiation Oncologist and Medical Physicist, is responsible for performing complex computation and verifications of treatment plans by means of computer and/or manual calculation with optimal...
04.21.2019
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...
04.24.2019
Occupational Summary A member of the radiation therapy treatment planning team who is thoroughly familiar with the physical and geometric characteristics of the radiation equipment and radioactive sources commonly employed, and has the training...
04.24.2019
Occupational Summary A member of the radiation therapy treatment planning team who is thoroughly familiar with the physical and geometric characteristics of the radiation equipment and radioactive sources commonly employed, and has the training...
04.24.2019
Perform external beam radiation therapy planning procedures and dose calculations. Planning utilizes CMS XiO and Monaco; a 3-D planning system proprietary to Elekta. Perform high dose radiation therapy (HDR) planning procedures and dose...
03.26.2019
The Dosimetrist is the member of the Radiation Oncology Team primarily responsible for designing a treatment plan and accurately calculating the delivery of radiation treatment based on the Radiation Oncologist prescribed course of radiation...
08.02.2018
Job Req ID: 169996 Position Number: 00162196 Employment Type: Full Time Shift: Variable/On Call Shift Details : M-F, Days Standard Hours:  40.00 Department Name: Radiation Therapy Location:...
03.11.2019
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...
04.24.2019
Responsible for assessing and maintaining the characteristics of the treatment equipment. Performs dose calculating in an accurate, efficient manner in accordance with the prescribed planned course of therapy. Advises the radiation oncologists,...
  1. Medical Dosimetrist Presque Isle, ME Northern Light A.R. Gould Hospital
    GENERALDESCRIPTION/MISSION STATEMENT: TheMedical Dosimetrist is a member of the radiation oncology team who hasknowledge of the overall characteristics and clinical relevance of radiationoncology treatment machines and equipment, and has the...
  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-Radiation Oncology Therapy Portland, ME MaineHealth
    Maine Medical Center Department: MaineHealth Maine Medical Center/ONC Radiation Therapy Physics Std Hrs/Wk: Full Time Shift: Day Shift Full/Part Time: 40 Apply Internal Apply Create Job Alert Add to Cart Job Details: Position...
  4. DOSIMETRIST-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...
  5. Radiation Dosimetrist Full Time Boise, ID Saint Alphonsus Health System
    Job Number: 00125407 Location: Boise, ID Organization Name: Saint Alphonsus Health System Facility: SAHS 1055 N Curtis Road Employment Type: Full time Hours: 40 GENERAL SUMMARY AND PURPOSE: Prepares radiation isodose plans for...
  6. Medical Dosimetrist (FT 100%) Adena Cancer Center Chillicothe, OH Adena Health System
    The Medical Dosimetrist is responsible for designing radiation treatment plans according to the Radiation Oncologist's prescription to deliver radiation dose while limiting the dose to critical structures surrounding the tumor site. They work...
  7. Dosimetrist - Radiation Oncology-16th St Wilmington, NC New Hanover Regional Medical Center
    The Dosimetrist, under the general supervision of the Radiation Oncologist and Medical Physicist, is responsible for performing complex computation and verifications of treatment plans by means of computer and/or manual calculation with optimal...
  8. DOSIMETRIST-FULL TIME- Monday-Friday 8am-4pm 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...
  9. DOSIMETRIST Durham, NC Duke Health
    Occupational Summary A member of the radiation therapy treatment planning team who is thoroughly familiar with the physical and geometric characteristics of the radiation equipment and radioactive sources commonly employed, and has the training...
  10. DOSIMETRIST Durham, NC Duke Health
    Occupational Summary A member of the radiation therapy treatment planning team who is thoroughly familiar with the physical and geometric characteristics of the radiation equipment and radioactive sources commonly employed, and has the training...
  11. Dosimetrist Seattle, WA Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
    Perform external beam radiation therapy planning procedures and dose calculations. Planning utilizes CMS XiO and Monaco; a 3-D planning system proprietary to Elekta. Perform high dose radiation therapy (HDR) planning procedures and dose...
  12. DOSIMETRIST (Radiation Therapy - PT 20) May consider FT 32 hours. Statesville, NC Iredell Health System
    The Dosimetrist is the member of the Radiation Oncology Team primarily responsible for designing a treatment plan and accurately calculating the delivery of radiation treatment based on the Radiation Oncologist prescribed course of radiation...
  13. Dosimetrist/Dosimetry/CMD- Radiation Therapy Charlotte, NC Carolinas HealthCare System
    Job Req ID: 169996 Position Number: 00162196 Employment Type: Full Time Shift: Variable/On Call Shift Details : M-F, Days Standard Hours:  40.00 Department Name: Radiation Therapy Location:...
  14. 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...
  15. Physicist Bowling Green, Med Center Health
    Responsible for assessing and maintaining the characteristics of the treatment equipment. Performs dose calculating in an accurate, efficient manner in accordance with the prescribed planned course of therapy. Advises the radiation oncologists,...