By Shayla Crane & Mike Jones
Publication date: June 2012
Buy now at the TSTC Waco Bookstore.
Each TechCareers book has three sections:
- detailed career information, necessary skill sets and potential career pathways including salary ranges;
- overview of required degrees and/or certifications that includes sample degree plans from schools in the United States; and
- additional information including a comprehensive listing of instructional programs, major employers and industry-related websites/blogs.
Whether you’re a high school or workforce counselor looking to steer people into a career field best suited for them, a mid-life career changer, or just want to learn more about the state of the industry, the TechCareers series has the information you need.
“While the overall career is kind of cool,” says Osman Dongos, a radiation therapist, “the best part of my job is the patients. The daily interaction with patients, knowing that I am helping them survive their disease, it makes my day better.”
From scientists to doctors to pharmacologists, the science industry is discovering more and exciting uses for radiation to help improve lives – although sometimes, radiation may cause problems. The March 2011 earthquake in Japan resulted in a tsunami leveling large swaths of land and a nuclear facility crisis that had governmental officials and workers around the world worried they might have another Chernobyl on their hands. Because of radiation protection specialists, however, the government took swift action. Radiation protection specialists took strategic actions to prevent a nuclear meltdown at the plant and organized testing for radiation poisoning among the population. Later the same year, an earthquake shook the eastern coast of the United States. The jolt shifted huge concrete containers holding spent nuclear fuel at the North Anna power plant in Virginia. These are only two examples of why the world needs radiation protection technology, the subject of one of the TechCareers Series’ forthcoming books, TechCareers: Radiation Protection Technology.
The radiation field is constantly changing as better equipment is designed and technological advances create new devices to save lives and progress science. As new discoveries of radiation use are made in areas such as nuclear power, X-rays and MRIs, Radiation Protection Technologists (RPTs), or health physicists, ensure that no harm is done to the environment or the public.
Long before there were nuclear power plants or X-ray machines, there was the atom. In 500 B.C., Democritus claimed the world was made up of tiny particles, called “atomos,” meaning indivisible. Leaping ahead in time to 1895, Wilhelm Roentgen of Germany first used radiation to X-ray a human hand, his wife’s. With more and more uses for radiation, Americans adopted Britain’s rules for radiation protection in the early 20th century, increasing the need for RPTs.
RPTs are trained to know and understand radiation standards, solve challenging problems, use critical thinking to advise management and handle radiation emergencies. Between 2008 and 2018, the demand for RPTs is expected to increase 14 percent, a faster average than most other occupations.
The salary outlook is good for those interested in a career in health and safety. Hourly wages average $30.86 an hour or $64,200 a year, but this figure changes depending on where one works. Those who get jobs in the federal government are paid considerably more than those working for the local government. Education also comes into play. The higher the level of education, the higher pay one will receive.
Currently, the top industries using RPTs are:
- Federal government
- Government contractors
- Nuclear power utilities
- Medical facilities
- National laboratories
There are many careers in radiation protection, but a few you may strive for are:
- Radiation protection technologist
- Certified health physicist
- Radiation safety officer
- Power reactor physicist
- Medical physicist
TechCareers: Radiation Protection Technology serves as a valuable overview of the growing industry of radiation protection technology. The book features essential information for anyone considering a career in the industry, including education requirements and employment opportunities.
About the Authors
Shayla Crane graduated from Baylor University in May 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a minor in Creative Writing. She currently works as the Senior Technical Writer at Nuclear Logistics, Inc., where she assists the engineers in writing reports, plans and manuals to distribute to their nuclear clients.
Mike Jones is a freelance writer based in Waco, Texas. He is a transplant from New Mexico, where he graduated from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque with training in writing for theatre and broadcast media. He worked extensively in the broadcasting, advertising and marketing fields before moving to Texas to work as a writer/producer for instructional and student recruitment videos for Texas State Technical College. More recently, he has been involved in technical instructional curriculum research and development, as well as freelance media writing and production.