Jobs that Help Children with Cancer

Jan 18, 2020

For individuals who want to work with child cancer patients, there are a few different career options within the medical field. Some jobs involve hands-on treatment of pediatric patients in an oncology ward, while others focus on research.

Career Options That Involving Working with Children with Cancer

Children who have cancer often are treated by a team of medical professionals who are specifically trained to work with pediatric patients. There are many options in the medical field that would allow you to work with kids who have cancer. You career choice will likely depend on how long you want to spend in school, as some jobs only require an associate's degree whereas other professions will require that you complete at 7 years of post-bachelor's training. Below, we will discuss five different career possibilities.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Radiation Therapist $82,330 9%
Medical Scientist $84,810 8%
Registered Nurse $71,730 12%
Radiologic Technologist $59,520 9%
Surgeon 255,110 1%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Jobs That Involve Working with Children with Cancer

Radiation Therapist

Radiation therapists are medical professionals who treat patients who have cancer and various other types of diseases. They must be able to properly operate different types of machinery in order to give the proper doses of radiation treatment. Because exposure to radiation could be dangerous, radiation therapists also have to practice proper safety procedures to protect themselves and their patients. Some radiation therapists will work with children who have different types of cancer. To become a radiation therapist, you will need to complete either an associate's or bachelor's degree program in radiation therapy.

Medical Scientist

Medical scientists work in medical research. Some of them may work exclusively in cancer research for children. Their job could include setting up studies and clinical trials to better understand the nature of cancer. They could be responsible for testing the effectiveness of different types of cancer medications. Some medical scientists may publish their findings in journal articles or apply to different organizations and agencies for additional research grants. To become a medical scientist, you will usually need a Ph.D. in a field like biology or another life science. Some medical scientists have a medical degree but have chosen to pursue research rather than practice as a physician.

Registered Nurse

Nurses work in hospitals and clinics providing treatment and support to patients and their families. Some nurses work in cancer wards or in specialized clinics for cancer patients, including children. They keep track of a patient's vital signs, administer medications, keep family members informed, and update doctors of a patient's condition. To become a nurse, an individual must complete an associate's or bachelor's nursing program and pass certification examinations.

Radiologic Technologist

As a radiologic technologist, or radiographer, you are responsible for operating diagnostic imaging equipment to take x-rays and other similar images of patients. Radiologic technologists may work with children who have cancer and need internal images taken of the affected parts of their body. The technologist must know how to take the images safely by taking the proper precautions to protect patients from overexposure to radiation. They also keep records of their patients and work with physicians to analyze the images. To become a radiologic technologist, you will usually need an associate's degree and certification to work.


As a surgeon, you can choose to specialize in radiology and cancer treatment for children. You will work with children who have cancer and develop treatment plans for them which could include chemotherapy and radiation treatment. You may also perform surgery on patients to remove tumors and parts of the body that are affected with cancer cells. To become a surgeon, you will need to attend medical school, pass your board exams, and complete a residency in surgery.

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