Radiation Therapy Degree
Nowadays radiation therapy is used mainly to treat cancer. The radiation therapist uses a linear accelerator machine that produces high-energy beams of radiation to treat patients. They administer, record and interpret treatment in hospitals or cancer centers. Patient care and records, tumor localization and treatment protocol are a focus of radiation therapy programs.
See also radiation therapy schools.
Radiation Therapy Programs
If you wish to become a radiation therapist, you should keep in mind that certification or a diploma is usually required. However, there are programs that offer a Bachelor of Science degree for advanced study. Most states require licensing and certification by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).
A traditional degree program is for students new to the radiation therapy field with little or no experience. Some undergraduate degree programs require freshman and sophomores to complete general education curriculum before entering their area of study in their junior year.
If you have an experience in medical imaging, you should investigate schools offering a shorter program.
You should keep in mind that most radiation therapy schools require a number of hours of clinical experience through volunteer hours in cancer centers, cooperating hospitals and medical centers.
After completing the prerequisite requirements of a university,2 years of intensive radiation core courses are a normal requirement for a bachelor’s degree. Certificate programs generally require less time. However, they still focus on the areas required for certification and licensure.
During your education, you study:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Social sciences and humanities
- Introduction to radiation therapy and oncology
- Human relations
- Caring for a patient at the end of life
- Radiology technology
- and Therapy techniques.
Admissions to Bachelor’s Degree Radiation Therapy Programs
Admissions to both certificate and bachelor’s degree radiation therapy programs are limited and selective, and some require visits to hospitals before consideration. After completion, you should pass a certification exam.
Nowadays you have an opportunity to get a radiation therapy degree, ranging from short-term certificate programs through multi-year bachelor’s degrees and even further education.
If you are interested in earning a certificate in Radiation Therapy, you should spend 2 years (full-time) taking courses such as:
- Clinical Anatomy
- Principles of Radiography
- Radiation Protection
- Quality Assurance
- Introduction to Radiation Therapy
- Methods of Patient Care and Film Review.
Sloan-Kettering School of Radiation Therapy
The Sloan-Kettering School of Radiation Therapy offers the certificate program. Manhattan College also offers a two and a half year certificate program in Radiation Therapy. The City of Hope’s California certificate program lasts one year. After the completion of this program, students take the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists exam.
A bachelor’s degree program usually lasts 4 years.
- Radiation Therapy
- Radiation Physics
- Radiation Detection and Protection
- Diagnostic Radiology
- Nuclear Medicine,
- Radiotherapy and Patient Care.
Depending on the school, students may perform internships (about nine months’ time) at affiliates such as Mount Sinai Medical Center, Good Samaritan Hospital and Beth Israel Medical Center.
Bachelor’s Degree in Radiation Therapy – Manhattan College
Manhattan College, located in New York, offers the bachelor’s degree program (plus the certificate program) and radiation-therapy related honor societies, clubs such as the Radiological Science Society, a library and computer centers. The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center College of Allied Health offers the four-year bachelor of radiation therapy program as well.
If you wish to further your education, you may seek a higher degree by pursuing a Master of Science of Medical Dosimetry. Classes may include Radiation Therapy Dosimetry & Instrumentation, Fusion Imaging, Physics of Radiation Therapy, Correlative Imaging and a multidisciplinary capstone seminar, a thesis-style project. After the completion of this degree, you may sit for the Medical Dosimetry Certification Board exam.
The master’s of medical dosimetry is available at schools including the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center College of Allied Health. You should keep in mind that a bachelor’s degree is required, as is holding of certification by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologist in Radiation Therapy.
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