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A Closer Look at Radiation Oncology Field Service Engineers

A Closer Look at Radiation Oncology Field Service Engineers

The healthcare system at large is full of medical professionals of all stripes. At Mission Search, we have a dedicated team devoted to radiation oncology field service engineers. These folks are in the trenches, working directly with life-saving equipment that’s critical in the fight to end cancer. We caught up with Gail Cole, a Radiation Oncology Consultant at Mission Search, to talk about current industry trends, challenges, and predictions for the future.

What Does This Side of Health Care Look Like?

Cole helps connect third-party vendors, cancer centers and hospitals with skilled radiotherapy field engineers. It’s an offshoot of the original equipment manufacturers (OEM) service line, which stands alone as a valuable health care solution. “Their skillset is extremely high,” she says. “They work on linear accelerators, which is an important cancer machine. In addition, they work alongside the physicists and the entire radiation oncology team.”

These health care professionals are often called out at odd hours. For example, when a complex piece of oncology machinery acts up or breaks down, it’s a field engineer who swoops in to repair it. Cole says this talent is quite hard to come by. There are currently more permanent work opportunities than candidates—a trend that’s taken hold over the last year or two.

What Challenges is this Service Line Facing?

Cole shares that her clients are searching for specially trained candidates who have experience working with very specific technology. It’s a small industry space that a single prominent player largely dominates. So, a big part of Cole’s job is to attract talent to the smaller companies she represents. 

“A lot of it is word of mouth,” she says. “That’s where most of my referrals for these positions come from. When someone is looking to make a transition, one of my contacts will give me a heads up.”

She also utilizes popular recruitment platforms to discover qualified candidates. Once she has their attention, she highlights the many perks of going to work for a smaller operation. For one, travel time is typically much less demanding. Compensation is also competitive, setting the stage for a better work-life balance.

Predictions for the Future

In recent years, in-the-know candidates have gained a leg up within this side of the industry. Their unique skills, specialized knowledge, and thin competition have put them in high demand among third-party vendors, cancer centers and hospitals who need field engineers. Time will tell if that changes in the coming year. Before the pandemic, Cole recalls a period when there were more candidates than jobs. Unfortunately, that kind of cyclical pattern seems to be the nature of the beast when it comes to health care recruiting.

Beyond radiation oncology field service engineers, Cole also helps place engineers in the diagnostic, biomedical and ultrasound sectors. Compensation isn’t quite as high as it is for radiotherapy field service engineers, but candidates are more readily available. That’s certainly good news for companies in need of talent.

What Value Does Mission Search Bring to the Table?

Something that can’t be overstated enough is the fact that Mission Search is deeply entrenched in all things related to radiation oncology.

“We’ve been in business for over 20 years, and radiation oncology is a specialty focus,” says Cole. “Everything we do ties back to that.”

What’s more, Mission Search recruiters are experienced in radiation oncology tech and innovation. This experience gives us an advantage over other recruiting firms. It’s the drive that keeps Mission Search moving forward and provides a competitive edge in the ever-evolving healthcare industry.

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