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Medical Dosimetrist Programs / Job Prospects

Medical Dosimetrist Programs / Job ProspectsWhat Medical Dosimetrists do:
Would you like a highly rewarding career with excellent employment prospects, assisting cancer patients to fight their illness? Medical dosimetrists are specialists who calculate the specific required radiation dose for individual cancer patients on consultation with the medical physicist and radiation oncologist.

Working in hospitals with the use of 3D imaging, medical dosimetrists can localize the radiation doses specifically to the cancerous area while lessening the dose to the sensitive tissue around it. When designing their treatment plans, medical dosimetrists also evaluate the dose-limiting structures including the heart for lung cancer patients, the eye for brain cancer patients and  the spinal cord.

Part of the hospital's radiation oncology team, medical dosimetrists also have the necessary expertise to work in brachytherapy -  a form of radiation treatment for prostate cancer patients delivered via radioactive pellets placed within or a short distance from the tumor.

The main duties of a Medical Dosimetrist include:

  • Designing a treatment plans to kill cancer cells taking into consideration is the dose-limiting structures
  • Delivering prescribed radiation doses to patients
  • Working closely with the Medical Physicist and Radiation Oncologist to calculate dosages
  • Interpreting and executing treatment plans
  • Adhering to defined treatment protocols
  • Delicately balancing between delivering the prescription written by the physician, and making sure that the patient will not lose important healthy organ function
  • Giving technical and physics support to the Medical Physicist
  • Performing specific methods of dosimetry including TLD, ion chamber, or film measurement

Education & Qualifications:
To become a nationally Certified Medical Dosimetrist (CMD), you must pass the computer-based Medical Dosimetry Certification Board (MDCB) exam available from a variety of test sites nationwide. To be eligible to sit this exam you must take one of routes listed below:

Route 1:
Graduate from a Medical Dosimetry Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) accredited program of at least 12 months.**

Route 2:

Have an active registration with the The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) or a foreign equivalent.**
Complete a 2 year (or 35 hours per week equivalent of 3,640 hours) internship under the supervision of a CMD or medical physicist.
Complete 12 continuing education (CE) credits approved by the MDCB during your 2 year internship.*
or
Graduate with a Bachelors degree (BS) in a science field such as biophysics, chemistry, dosimetry, mathematics, radiation therapy or radiologic science.
Complete a 2 year (or 35 hours per week equivalent of 3,640 hours) internship under the supervision of a CMD or medical physicist.
Complete 12 continuing education (CE) credits approved by the MDCB during your 2 year internship.

Route 3:

Have an Associates Degree (AAS or AS) or a Bachelors Degree (BA) in any subject.
Complete a 36 month (or 35 hours per week equivalent of 5,460 hours) internship under the supervision of a CMD or medical physicist.*
Complete 12 continuing education (CE) credits approved by the MDCB during your 36 month clinical experience.

* In 2013, Route 2 and 3 will merge into a single Route 2, and exam applicants must have:
A Bachelors Degree in any field or hold an active registration with the ARRT or a relevant international registration.
Complete a 36 month (or 35 hours per week equivalent of 5,460 hours) internship under the supervision of a CMD or medical physicist.
Complete 24 continuing education (CE) credits approved by the MDCB during your 36 month (or 35 hours per week equivalent) internship.

** In 2015, Route 1 and 2 exam applicants must have a Bachelors Degree.

Note: In 2017, there will be one CMD entry route for all candidates. It will be necessary for applicants to hold a Bachelors Degree and to graduate form a JRCERT accredited program.

Salary & Job Prospects:
The future job market and outlook for medical dosimetry is strong due to advances in radiation therapy, and the fact that our population is aging and cancer is more widespread with the elderly. Medical dosimetrists salaries are comparable with other allied healthcare professions and are generally between $80,000 – $140,000 per year dependent on qualifications and location.



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