Medical Dosimetrist

Medical dosimetrists serve on teams with oncologists and radiation specialists. They’re trained to operate specialized radiation technology used to treat cancer. As such, they understand the methods utilized in brachytherapy. They work closely with radiation oncologists to calculate radiation doses for each patient.

After radiation oncologists prescribe radiation doses, dosimetrists use sophisticated technology to develop radiation treatment plans. They must take into account sensitive areas of the body when developing radiation treatment plans, which includes the eyes, lungs, spinal cord, heart, liver, etc.

Job Responsibilities

Medical dosimetrists calculate radiation dosages and then use state-of-the-art technology to deliver radiation therapy to patients. Cancer patients typically receive daily treatments for multiple weeks, but this depends on where the cancer is located and how much it has spread through the body. To learn their job duties, dosimetrists complete extensive brachytherapy and oncology training. Since radiation treatment kills healthy cells as well as cancerous ones, dosimetrists must be precise in their calculations, so extra harm is not done to patients. Dosimetrists are primarily responsible for developing radiation treatment plans.

Dosimetrists must possess excellent analytical skills since they’re responsible for examining data and developing a radiation treatment plan from their observations. Likewise, they must complete extensive mathematical training since they’re constantly performing precise calculations and rechecking them for accuracy. Improper calculations can lead to incorrect radiation dosages, which can harm patients.

Additionally, dosimetrists frequently calibrate and maintain radiation therapy equipment, so they must complete extensive technical training. Equipment they operate includes thermoluminescent dosimeters and ion chambers.

Education and Training

To become licensed as a Certified Medical Dosimetrist (CMD), the medical dosimetrist certification exam must be passed. One can qualify to take this examination by:

  • Completing a training program in radiation therapy. After you become licensed and acquire some work experience, enroll in a 2 year clinical dosimetry training program.
  • Earning a college degree in the subject of your choosing and obtaining 3 years of dosimetry experience by working for a licensed oncologist. Students can no longer become certified this way beginning in 2013.
  • Completing a yearlong medical dosimetry training program, followed by 6 months of clinical experience where students will work closely with oncologists and medical radiation specialists.

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