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
12.13.2019
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...
12.01.2019
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...
12.06.2019
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...
12.13.2019
Click HERE to apply for Medical Dosimetrist The Dosimetrist is responsible for developing computer generated radiation dose distributions, calculating radiation dose treatment times or monitoring unit settings to deliver prescribed radiation to...
12.13.2019
Responsibilities The Department of Radiation Oncology at UCLA is seeking a certified medical dosimetrist to join our team of 13 physicists and 7 medical dosimetrists. UCLA is a progressive department focused on using cutting edge radiation...
12.13.2019
This position supports Mercys philosophy of patient centered care by taking the patient's data and creating a radiation therapy plan that helps destroy the cancer while limiting the treatment side effects. Is a member of the radiation oncology...
12.13.2019
GENERAL SUMMARY This is professional work in the development of individual radiation treatment plans. Provides technical information and support to radiation therapists, physicians, and physicists; performs simple three dimensional conformal...
12.13.2019
The Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA), located in Seattle, Washington, is part of a dynamic collaboration among three organizations known nationally and internationally for their patient care and research: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research...
08.23.2019
Observes and participates in a variety of duties in the areas of Dosimetry, treatment, planning, protection and safety as they relate to Radiation Therapy. Description: Accounts for Geometrical variations in the shape of the irradiated field;...
12.08.2019
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...
12.13.2019
Current Employees: If you are a current employee, please apply via the internal career site by logging into your Workday Account and clicking the "Career" icon on your homepage. Job Category Diagnostics Department CCI...
10.24.2019
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...
11.05.2018
MercyOne Elkader Medical Center has an opening for a PRN Medical Lab Technician (MLT/MLS). This position works a flexible work schedule. Previous hospital experience preferred, but not required. MercyOne Elkader Medical Center offers a...
08.08.2019
The Medical Assistant will perform routine administrative and clinical tasks to maintain and support the office and to assure efficient patient flow through the office. Assist the physician or other clinical staff with procedures, treatments,...
12.13.2019
The Medical Assistant provides direct patient care by taking vitals, patient history, venipuncture, lab, x-ray, referrals, and patient phone messages as directed by the provider and/or clinical supervisor. This position requires population...
  1. 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...
  2. Dosimetrist Therapy 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...
  3. Dosimetrist- Parma 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. Medical Dosimetrist - SCCA Proton Therapy Center Seattle, WA Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
    Click HERE to apply for Medical Dosimetrist The Dosimetrist is responsible for developing computer generated radiation dose distributions, calculating radiation dose treatment times or monitoring unit settings to deliver prescribed radiation to...
  5. Senior Dosimetrist Los Angeles, CA UCLA Health
    Responsibilities The Department of Radiation Oncology at UCLA is seeking a certified medical dosimetrist to join our team of 13 physicists and 7 medical dosimetrists. UCLA is a progressive department focused on using cutting edge radiation...
  6. Dosimetrist (full time) Cedar Rapids, IA Mercy Cedar Rapids
    This position supports Mercys philosophy of patient centered care by taking the patient's data and creating a radiation therapy plan that helps destroy the cancer while limiting the treatment side effects. Is a member of the radiation oncology...
  7. Dosimetrist-Radiation Oncology Therapy Portland, ME MaineHealth
    GENERAL SUMMARY This is professional work in the development of individual radiation treatment plans. Provides technical information and support to radiation therapists, physicians, and physicists; performs simple three dimensional conformal...
  8. Dosimetrist I/II Seattle, WA Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
    The Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA), located in Seattle, Washington, is part of a dynamic collaboration among three organizations known nationally and internationally for their patient care and research: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research...
  9. Dosimetrist Hyannis, MA Cape Cod Healthcare
    Observes and participates in a variety of duties in the areas of Dosimetry, treatment, planning, protection and safety as they relate to Radiation Therapy. Description: Accounts for Geometrical variations in the shape of the irradiated field;...
  10. Dosimetrist Therapy (NE).UH Geauga. SCC Radiation Oncology-Per Diem (as needed) 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...
  11. Medical Physicist Cancer Care Institute Full Time Rapid City, SD Regional Health
    Current Employees: If you are a current employee, please apply via the internal career site by logging into your Workday Account and clicking the "Career" icon on your homepage. Job Category Diagnostics Department CCI...
  12. 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...
  13. Medical Lab Technician (MLT or MLS) Elkader, IA MercyOne Elkader Medical Center
    MercyOne Elkader Medical Center has an opening for a PRN Medical Lab Technician (MLT/MLS). This position works a flexible work schedule. Previous hospital experience preferred, but not required. MercyOne Elkader Medical Center offers a...
  14. Medical Assistant - Medical Oncology Brockton, MA Signature Healthcare
    The Medical Assistant will perform routine administrative and clinical tasks to maintain and support the office and to assure efficient patient flow through the office. Assist the physician or other clinical staff with procedures, treatments,...
  15. Medical Assistant - Medical Oncology Oklahoma City, OK INTEGRIS Health
    The Medical Assistant provides direct patient care by taking vitals, patient history, venipuncture, lab, x-ray, referrals, and patient phone messages as directed by the provider and/or clinical supervisor. This position requires population...