Medical Dosimetry

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What is Medical Dosimetry?  The field of Medical Dosimetry involves the measurement and calculation of dose for the treatment of cancer patients.  Dosimetrists use their knowledge of physics, anatomy, and radiobiology to develop an optimal arrangement of radiation portals to spare normal and radiosensitive tissues while applying a prescribed dose to the targeted disease volume.

UW-La Crosse sponsors the only Medical Dosimetry Program in the nation that offers online distance education for dosimetry students using the Canvas E-learning course management system.

This web site informs prospective students about the program, the profession, and the unique possibilities associated with it.  Additionally, a wealth of information regarding admissions and application materials is also available here.  Please contact the program via e-mail with any questions or concerns you may have regarding the program.

What is Medical Dosimetry?  The field of Medical Dosimetry involves the measurement and calculation of dose for the treatment of cancer patients.  Dosimetrists use their knowledge of physics, anatomy, and radiobiology to develop an optimal arrangement of radiation portals to spare normal and radiosensitive tissues while applying a prescribed dose to the targeted disease volume.

The medical dosimetrist is a member of the radiation oncology team that plays a role in the management of cancer. Medical Dosimetry allows professionals to utilize their knowledge of mathematics, medical physics, science, and critical thinking in his/her everyday work. Medical Dosimetrists specialize in the planning of optimal radiation treatment techniques and dose calculations in collaboration with the medical physicist and radiation oncologist.

According to the American Association of Medical Dosimetrists (AAMD), the professional organization, the medical dosimetry profession is described as:

After the Radiation Oncologist has consulted with the patient on their plan of treatment, he/she will write a prescription of radiation dose to a defined tumor volume. The medical dosimetrist will then design a treatment plan by means of computer and/or manual computation to determine a treatment field technique that will deliver that prescribed radiation dose. When designing that plan, also taken into consideration are the dose-limiting structures. These structures could include the eye when treating the brain, the heart when treating the lung, or the spinal cord when it is included in the area of treatment.

The medical dosimetrist maintains a delicate balance between delivering the prescription the physician has written while ensuring the patient will not lose important healthy organ function. In many institutions, the medical dosimetrist also has the ability to execute planning for intracavitary and interstitial brachytherapy procedures.

Following the planning process, the patient will have a simulation for tumor localization to ensure reproducibility of treatment set up and plan delivery. Here, it may be necessary to produce moulds, casts, and other immobilization devices for accurate treatment delivery. A medical dosimetrist may supervise, perform, or assist in this process. The medical dosimetrist will then work with the radiation therapists in the implementation of the patient treatment plans including: the correct application of immobilization devices, beam modification devices, approved field arrangements, and other treatment variables.

The advancements in computer technology place us at the forefront of many new processes. Using imaging modalities such as CT scans, alone or in combination with MRI or PET scans, we plan with 3-D computers that enable us to give higher doses of radiation to a tumor while lowering the doses to the sensitive structures around it. In some environments we play a part in cutting edge clinical research for the development and implementation of new techniques in cancer treatment. It is an exciting and amazing profession to work in. We are members of a team that contributes toward cancer survivorship on a daily basis.

In summation, the medical dosimetrist performs calculations for the accurate delivery of the Radiation Oncologist's prescribed dose, documents pertinent information in the patient record, and verifies the mathematical accuracy of all calculations using a system established by the Medical Physicist. We perform, or assist in, the application of specific methods of radiation measurement including ion chamber, thermoluminescent dosimeters (TLD), or film measurement as directed by the Medical Physicist. Another area that we may contribute to is giving technical and physics support to the Medical Physicist; this support could be in radiation protection, qualitative machine calibrations, and quality assurance of the radiation oncology equipment. Also, we often take on the role of educator in facilities that have radiation oncology residents, radiation therapy students or medical dosimetry students.

Skills Needed


  • possess an understanding of the technical aspects of radiation oncology and medical physics to derive computerized treatment plans.  They communicate these aspects to the Radiation Oncologist for plan approval and to the Radiation Therapist for plan implementation.
  • are able to perform routine duties independent of supervision, consulting with the Radiation Oncologist and Medical Physicist as required.
  • operate and perform quality assurance on the treatment planning system , under the direction of the Medical Physicist.
  • have a working knowledge of radiation safety in addition to the current rules and regulations of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
  • are able to interpret and execute treatment plans as defined in relevant treatment protocols.
  • possess mathematical skills including algebra, trigonometry, and introductory calculus and are able to visualize objects in three-dimensional concepts to facilitate the treatment planning process.
  • are experienced and comfortable with computer operations and functions.
  • are at ease with having close patient contact while working in a health career field.

Career Outlook

The future job market for Medical Dosimetry is strong.  The advances in treatment planning increase the demand for qualified medical dosimetrists.  Wages are comparable with other healthcare professions.  Given the diversity and ever changing technology of the job, lifelong career satisfaction is achievable.


After successful completion of the medical dosimetry program and six months of work experience, students are eligible to apply to take the medical dosimetry certification exam.  The exam is held in various locations throughout the United States every year in June.  The Medical Dosimetry Certification Board (MDCB) is the credentialing body for the certification exam


The Medical Dosimetry Program offers a Master’s Degree program that provide students with an educational foundation in medical dosimetry as well as clinical experience in a radiation oncology department. The curriculum requires online courses taken synchronously with a clinical internship at an affiliated site.  Admission to the program is on a competitive basis.


The Medical Dosimetry Program at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse is committed to the education of medical dosimetrists who are knowledgeable, competent, and dedicated to their profession and their patients.

Goals & Student Learning Outcomes (SLO)

    1. Students will demonstrate competence in medical dosimetry.
      • SLO: Students will demonstrate the ability to contour structures against a gold standard.
      • Students will calculate the correction for incorrect radiation delivery.
    2. Students will use critical thinking and problem-solving skills necessary to practice in current and emerging technology.
      • SLO: Students will compare and critique multiple plans for a specific patient treatment
      • SLO:  Students will critique plans and identify methods for improvement
    3. Students will demonstrate effective communication skills.
      • SLO: Students will apply effective oral communication skills.
      • SLO: Students will demonstrate effective written communication skills.
    4. Students will develop and exhibit professional practices.
      • SLO: Students will demonstrate professional behavior during an interview process.
      • SLO: Students will integrate patient safety into daily practice.
    5. Students will demonstrate research skills needed to approach medical dosimetry with scholarly rigor.
      • SLO: Students will be competent in effective research principles.
    6. The program will successfully meet the needs of its students and communities of interest.
      • SLO: Students will complete all graduation requirements.
      • SLO: Students will pass the national certification exam.
      • SLO: Graduates will obtain employment within 12 months of graduation.
      • SLO: Employers will exhibit satisfaction with the graduates' performance.
      • SLO: Graduates will exhibit their preparedness from the clinical experience and satisfaction with the program.

The University is accredited at the institutional level by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. Additionally, the UWL- Medical Dosimetry program is accredited by a discipline-specific, professional accreditation organization - the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology.

The program completed the most recent accreditation site visit in July of 2011 and received an 8 year accreditation, with no citations. This is the maximum accreditation awarded by the JRCERT. The interim report is due in 2015 and a re-accreditation is due in 2019.

For more information regarding accreditation of medical dosimetry programs, visit the JRCERT web site at

20 N. Wacker Drive, Suite 2850
Chicago, IL 60606-3182
Phone: (312) 704-5300
Fax: (312) 704-5304 

What does an accredited program mean to a prospective student?             

  • The profession is assured, through programmatic accreditation, that educational programs in the field are providing consistent minimum education in the profession as the profession itself has defined it.
  • Through the process of programmatic accreditation, educators are assured that their educational programs are keeping pace with the profession and with standards developed through national consensus.
  • Accreditation of educational programs assures patients that students who perform procedures have appropriate supervision during the educational process. It also assures them that graduates will have met the minimum level of competency as defined nationally by the profession.
  • Accreditation of an educational program provides students, as graduates, assurance that the educational program will provide them with the requisite knowledge, skills, and values to competently perform the range of professional responsibilities expected by potential employers nationwide. It also assures they will be eligible for licensure in each of the 50 states. By requiring programs to teach the entire curriculum developed by the professional society, the American Society of Radiologic Technology, it also assures students they will have the foundation knowledge to continue to develop as professionals in the various fields of the radiation sciences.                

(, 2008)

The UWL Medical Dosimetry program statistics include graduate statistics from various internship locations throughout the U.S.  The success of the graduates is due to their motivation & hard-work as well as the commitment and dedication of the faculty, clinical instructors, clinical preceptors, and mentors at each clinical internship site.  The program faculty and advisory committee ensures the highest quality of education and that the graduates are well prepared to enter the profession.

UW-La Crosse Medical Dosimetry Program Program Effectiveness Data
Outcome Measurement Tool Benchmark Timeframe Results
Attrition Program Completion Rate 90% Annual 2018 97% 28/29
2017 93% 28/30
2016 95% 18/19
2015 100% 24/24
2014 100% 21/21
5 yr Avg 97% 123/127
Pass Rate Credentialing Exam Pass Rate 75% 5 year average pass rate @ 1st attempt within 12 months of graduation 2018 96% 27/28
2017 93% 26/28
2016 100% 17/17
2015 78% 18/23
2014 85% 11/13
5 yr Avg 91% 99/109
Employment Job Placement Rate 75% 5 year average job placement rate within 12 months of graduation 2018 100% 28/28
2017 100% 28/28
2016 100% 18/18
2015 100% 24/24
2014 100% 21/21
5 yr Avg 100% 119/119
Graduate Satisfaction Graduate Survey sent after 12 months of employment 2018: 5 point scale; #15 & #19 3.75 or >
Annual 2018





2014 - 2017: (#19) Avg 2.5 or > (3 point scale) 4.38 13/28
2017 2.78 23/28
2016 2.80 12/18
2015 2.56 16/24
2014 2.72 8/12
May2014 2.98 4/9
Employer Satisfaction Employer Survey sent after 12 months of employment (#4) Avg 3 or > (5 point scale) Annual 2018 4.62 7/28
2017 4.41 10/27
2016 4.36 9/18
2015 4.53 6/24
2014 4.41 4/12
May2014 4.42 7/9

Visit JRCERT for more information about JRCERT accredited programs and program effectiveness data.

Assessment of student learning takes place at four levels at the university:

  • Institution-wide assessment
  • Assessment of student learning outcomes in general education
  • Assessment of student learning outcomes in each undergraduate and graduate academic program
  • Assessment of student learning in individual courses

The program develops, implements, and analyzes an annual outcomes assessment plan to:

  • promote programmatic improvement
  • improve teaching and learning
  • facilitate accountability
  • identify program strengths
Affiliated Clinical Site Location
Advanced Oncology Center
         South Bay Redondo Beach, CA
         West Covina West Covina, CA
Kaiser Permanente South San Francisco, CA
Sharp Memorial Hospital San Diego, CA
University of California-San Diego Moores Cancer Center La Jolla, CA
UCSD-South Bay Chula Vista, CA
University of California-San Francisco - Mission Bay, Mount Zion, Parnassus San Francisco, CA
Centura Health
        Littleton Adventist Hospital Littleton, CO
        Longmont United Hope Cancer Center Longmont, CO
        Parker Adventist Hospital Parker, CO
        Porter Adventist Hospital Denver, CO
University of Colorado Hospital - Anschutz Cancer Pavilion Aurora, CO
Yale New Haven Health - Smilow Hospital New Haven, CT
Parrish Cancer Center Titusville, FL
UF Health Cancer Center - Orlando Health Orlando, FL
University of Florida Health Proton Therapy Institute Jacksonville, FL
Georgia Cancer Center at Augusta University Augusta, GA
Advocate Health Care  
          Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center Chicago, IL
          Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital Downers Grove, IL
          Advocate Lutheran General Hospital Park Ridge, IL
          Advocate Sherman Hospital Elgin, IL
Loyola University Medical Center Maywood, IL
Northwestern Medicine  
          Central DuPage Hospital (CDH) Warrenville, IL
          Chicago Proton Center Warrenville, IL
          Delnor Hospital Geneva, IL
          Lake Forest Hospital Lake Forest, IL
James Graham Brown Cancer Center Louisville, KY
Maine General Hospital - Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care Augusta, ME
Johns Hopkins Hospital Baltimore, MD
Western Maryland Health System Cumberland, MD
Beaumont Health System  
          Beaumont Health System-Dearborn Dearborn, MI
          Beaumont Health System-Royal Oak Royal Oak, MI
          Beaumont Health System-Troy Sterling Heights, MI
University of Michigan Hospital and Health Centers Ann Arbor, MI
Mayo Clinic Rochester, MN
St. Paul Cancer Center St Paul, MN
Billings Clinic Billings, MT
Renown Institute for Cancer Reno, NV
New York  
New York - Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital  
        Wyckoff Heights Medical Center/TMA Rad. Oncology Brooklyn, NY
Northwell Health (formerly North Shore LIJ Hospital) New Hyde Park, NY
University of Rochester Medical Center  
          Pluta Cancer Center Rochester, NY
          Wilmot Cancer Institute Rochester, NY
North Dakota  
Bismarck Cancer Center Bismarck, ND
Ohio State University  
          Stefanie Spielman Comprehensive Breast Center Columbus, OH
        The James Cancer Hospital & Solove Research Institute Columbus, OH
Samaritan Pastega Regional Cancer Center Corvallis, OR
University of Utah Huntsman Cancer Hospital Salt Lake City, UT
Mary Washington Hospital Fredericksburg, VA
Massey Cancer Center at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Richmond, VA
          Columbia St. Mary's Cancer Center - Water Tower Milwaukee, WI
          Columbia St. Mary's - Ozaukee Mequon, WI
          All Saints Hospital Racine, WI
          All Saints SE WI Hospital - Elmbrook Brookfield, WI
          Aurora BayCare Medical Center Green Bay, WI
          Aurora Cancer Care - Kenosha Kenosha, WI
          Advocate Aurora West Allis Medical Center West Allis, WI
Froedtert Health & The Medical College of Wisconsin  
          Froedtert Hospital Milwaukee, WI
          St. Joseph's Hospital West Bend, WI
Gundersen Health System La Crosse, WI
University of Wisconsin Hospitals & Clinics Madison, WI
Rocky Mountain Oncology Center Casper, WY


Please note:  Not all sites will be available in a given year. A clinical site list of availability will be provided to candidates who are eligible to interview. If you have concerns about whether specific clinical sites are going to be active for the upcoming academic year, please contact

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse complies with regulations in other states to offer online education and clinical placement opportunities to students.  This is often referred to as "states authorization".  As a result of these regulations the program is not permitted to enroll students residing and/or interning in certain states.  UWL is part of the National Council for States Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA).  A map highlighting the current SARA status of each state is provided at State Authorization.

Students enrolled in the program must complete their clinical training at one of the program's affiliated clinical sites.  Prospective students may propose the addition of a new site to the program director, however, this process must be initiated well in advance of the application deadline.  In order for a new site to be considered, the applicant must submit their request to the program director at least six (6) months prior to the application deadline.  The site must also meet the program's requirements for a clinical internship site.  Simply listing an unaffiliated clinical site on the application will not be sufficient.  Requests not meeting this deadline will not be considered for that application cycle.

Please be aware that a felony charge may affect your ability to obtain clinical placements and/or sit for the board examination.

We respect that a student may elect to not receive immunizations for personal or medical reasons.  Students who have a medical condition that precludes them from receiving immunizations may be asked to provide additional documentation from a medical provider.  Clinical affiliates must comply with their organization's policy regarding immunizations and as such may decline a student without required immunizations or medical documentation.  Students should be aware that this may impact options for clinical education experiences and progression through the medical dosimetry curriculum.