About this Program

A radiation therapist works with a team of oncology professionals who use carefully targeted doses of powerful radiation beams to destroy tumors without permanently damaging the surrounding normal tissues.

The radiation therapist is directly responsible for the daily treatment of patients using sophisticated equipment. Since these treatments are normally given daily for up to seven weeks, radiation therapists often develop close relationships with their patients.

Radiation therapy is the careful use of various kinds of high-energy ionizing radiation, such as X-rays, gamma rays, electrons, and protons, to treat cancer and other diseases.

A radiation therapist works as an integral member of a team of radiation oncology health professionals who use a variety of different ionizing radiation to treat cancer patients. Cancer is a very common disease, and radiation therapy can CURE cancer in the majority of patients and definitely improve the quality of life in others. As a therapist, you can positively impact the lives of all the patients you treat.

The radiation therapist is directly responsible for the actual daily treatment of patients with the use of sophisticated radiation-producing equipment. Since radiation treatments are usually given daily for seven or more weeks, the radiation therapist has the opportunity to develop a close relationship with each patient. The therapist can also participate in a wide range of other tasks, including the simulation of the area to be treated (here you will be using your medical radiography skills), the hand and computer calculations of the radiation dosage, as well as the construction of patient immobilization and beam shaping devices.

PROFESSIONAL ACCREDITATION

The program has professional accreditation from the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Suite 2850, Chicago, IL 60606-3182, 312-704-5300 http://www.jrcert.org

Bachelor of Science Degree Program (BS)

For students who are transferring with at least 60 arts and science credits.

Bachelor of Professional Studies Program (BPS)

For students who have an associate's degree and are registered or registry-eligible medical radiographers.

Graduates of both programs are eligible to apply to take the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists qualifying examination.

Working Conditions

Radiation Therapy is usually administered on weekdays, during normal business hours; there is very little on-call work. Radiation therapists are employed in freestanding centers, community hospitals, and academic teaching centers. Some departments employ one or two therapists, while others may have more than a dozen. Radiation therapy is a very active profession; therapists are constantly walking and talking, moving patients and equipment.

The Employment Market

The job market for therapists can fluctuate according to geographic region. Graduates who are place-bound will very like l to experience difficulty. Over the last three and a half decades almost all of our graduates who have passed their licensing exam and have actively looked for positions have found employment, although some have had to move and some start out in per diem or temporary positions. The 2014 Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the median average annual salary for radiation therapists as $77,560 http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/home.htm Salaries typically are higher in larger metropolitan areas, and lower in smaller communities.

Graduate Mobility

Our graduates are eligible to apply to take the national board exams. This qualification is nationally recognized.

Most of our graduates start their careers as staff therapists in departments across the United States. With more experience and further education, many have moved into positions in medical dosimetry, and administration. A smaller number have gone on to become medical physicists, physician assistants, and physicians.

 

Exploring Radiation Therapy as a Career

Contact the education coordinator, Elton Garvin (315) 464-6938, or a local radiation therapy center. Make an appointment to talk to a therapist and find out what they like about the profession. For a general video see the American Society of Radiologic Technologists career videos.

Resource Links

  • Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology External Icon External Icon
    The JRCERT is dedicated to excellence in education and to quality and safety of patient care through the accreditation of educational programs in radiation and imaging sciences.
  • The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists External Icon External Icon
    It is the mission of the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) to recognize individuals qualified in the use of both ionizing and nonionizing radiation to promote high standards of patient care in diagnostic medical imaging, interventional procedures, and therapeutic treatment.
  • American Society of Radiologic Technologists External Icon External Icon
    The mission of the American Society of Radiologic Technologists is to give medical imaging and radiation therapy professionals the knowledge, resources and support they need to provide quality patient care.

    ASRT achieves this mission by:
    • Developing useful educational materials for radiologic technologists and delivering them in innovative ways
    • Strengthening professional standards
    • Enhancing the profession's image and reputation
    • Upholding the profession's code of ethics
    • Promoting unity within the profession while respecting its diversity
    • Supporting research and progress in the radiologic sciences