Radiation Therapist - How to Become a Radiation Therapist

Radiation Therapist

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Radiation Therapist Job Description

 

Radiation therapists work in the field of oncology, where they treat cancer and other diseases in patients by administering radiation treatments. Radiation therapists treat the cancer by administering doses of radiation to cancerous growths in patients. They deliver radiation in various forms and via various methods to help shirnk the tumor. A great thing about this career is that there is a lower educational requirement than other jobs in the medical field and the pay is still great. There are postgraduate certificates you can get to grow in the field and make more money.

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Responsibilities

 

Radiation therapists have a list of responsibilities. They are responsible for locating the tumor with imagining equipment, preparing radiation, and administering radiation.

They identify the location of the tumor using imaging equipment, such as a CT scanner. Then, radiation therapists use high tech machines, called linear accelerators, to administer beams of radiation directly to the patient's tumor.  They deliver regular doses of radiation to patients during sessions that can last as long as 30 minutes. During the therapy, radiation therapists monitor patients and adjust treatment for any serious side effects. 

Other duties may include the following:

  • Reviewing prescription and diagnosis

  • Acting as liaison with physician and supportive care personnel

  • Preparing equipment

  • Maintaining records

  • Assisting in dosimetry procedures 

 

Skills

 

Communication

Must be able to clearly convey thoughts and ideas about patient's treatment plans and diagnoses. Must correspond with other medical professionals to ensure patient care.

Monitoring

Monitoring/Assessing patient to make sure they are responding well to radiation treatments and make improvements or take corrective action when necessary.

Critical Thinking

Must use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Judgment and Decision Making

Needs to be able to act autonomously and make difficult decisions that would benefit the patient or make corrections. Must consider all benefits and repercussions of potential actions and choose the appropriate one. 

Complex Problem Solving

Must be able to identify complex problems and develop and evaluate corrective options and implement solutions. 

Empathy

Must be able to empathize with a patient's pain and difficulties. Need to make people feel comfortable and meet them at their emotional level to humanize themselves since they deal with people going through trying circumstances.

Trustworthiness

Must be trustworthy because you have people's lives in your hands and what you do could help or hurt them. They are entrusted with a great responsibility and must live up to it.

Operation Monitoring

Must be able to monitor gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.

Coordination

Must work with other healthcare professionals to ensure patient care.

Equipment Maintenance

Must perform routine maintenance on equipment and determine when and what kind of maintenance is needed.

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Working Conditions 

 

Most therapists work in hospitals, offices of physicians, and outpatient centers. They usually work full time and keep regular work schedules because all procedures are usually planned in advance.

Radiation therapists can be on their feet for long periods and may need to lift or turn disabled patients, so it can be physically taxing. Radiation therapists must follow safety procedures to ensure they aren't exposed to harmful amounts of radiation. Because they work with radiation and radioactive material, the threat of radiation exposure is present and should be taken into account. Most of these procedures usually require that therapists stand in a different room while the patient undergoes radiation procedures.

 


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How to Become a Radiation Therapist:

 

Most employers like to hire applicants who have an associate’s degree or a bachelor's degree in radiation therapy. However, candidates can qualify for some jobs by completing a 12-month certificate program.

Radiation therapy programs include courses in radiation therapy procedures and scientific theories. These programs include clinical training and courses in human anatomy, physiology, physics, algebra, computer science, and research methodology.

 

1. Finish High School & Earn Prerequisites

 

To be a radiation therapist, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent with two years of math and two years of lab science. In order to get into the proper schools, you must take a drug test, get a criminal background check done, and show record of current immunizations. Being CPR certified is also a plus and a must for becoming a radiation therapist. 

 

2. Complete a Radiation Therapy Training


Many colleges offer radiation therapy programs that award certificates, associate's degrees, and bachelor's degrees. The lengths of these programs vary by program: certificate programs take a year; associate's degree programs require two years; and bachelor's degree programs take four years to complete.

In addition to coursework and lab studies, students complete clinical training at hospitals to get hands on training in their field. After you complete whichever program you choose, you are awarded with your certificate or degree and can sit for the licensing exam. 

 

3. Earn the Required License & Certification


You must get your state license to be a radiation therapists. The requirements to obtain licensure vary by state, but many require candidates to pass a certification exam through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).  The exam consists of a written test and a practical skills test and a total of 220 questions. The entire test is 4 hours long and has computer based tests in multiple-choice format. Once you pass the test, you are eligible to practice as a radiation therapist in your location.  

 

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Salary Outlook

Title Company Location Posted
12.05.2016
Under the supervision of the Chief Radiation Therapist and Director of Imaging, the Radiation Therapist performs a variety of technical duties relating to patient treatments. The Therapist is responsible for performing machine warm-up and quality...
12.05.2016
The Radiation Therapist facilitates the preparation, administration and accurate documentation of radiation therapy treatments as prescribed by the Radiation Oncologist. Minimum Requirements: Graduation from an accredited school of radiation...
12.05.2016
- Registration Required - Experience is required Per Diem Radiation Therapist Position is Available. Essential Duties and Responsibilities: Treatment Planning and Delivery: Accurately delivers the prescribed course of...
12.11.2016
Department: Radiation OncologyA Life-Changing CareerPosition Summary: The posted positions are for the Proton department 2nd shift. Currently the schedule is five, eight-hour shifts which include fluctuating start and end times and overtime (if...
12.05.2016
GENERAL SUMMARY AND PURPOSE: Administers high-energy radiation therapy treatments to patients with malignant and benign disease processes with consideration of treatment techniques and patient's age and mobility. Contributes to department...
12.05.2016
- Radiation Therapist - UC Medical Center - Radiation Oncology (039482) Job Description Radiation Therapist - UC Medical Center - Radiation Oncology(Job Number: 039482) Description Title: Radiation Therapist Location: UC Medical Center...
12.05.2016
- Advanced Radiation Therapist II - UC Medical Center - Rad Onc (037970) Job Description Advanced Radiation Therapist II - UC Medical Center - Rad Onc(Job Number: 037970) Description Title: Advanced Radiation Therapist II Location: UC...
12.05.2016
- Chief Radiation Therapist - UC Medical Center - Radiation Oncology (039486) Job Description Chief Radiation Therapist - UC Medical Center - Radiation Oncology(Job Number: 039486) Description Primary Purpose: This position provides...
12.05.2016
Under the general supervision of the Radiation Oncologists and Radiation Physicist, the incumbent administers ionizing radiation treatments to cancer patients. Other responsibilities include transporting patients, if needed from the hospital...
12.11.2016
DescriptionUnder supervision, operate various ionizing radiation producingequipment in the administration of treatments,and promote anatmosphere conducive to maximum physical comfort and psychological support for patients undergoing radiation...
12.09.2016
Applies ionizing radiation to patients as prescribed by radiation oncologists. Responsible for providing comprehensive care to patients of all ages, through the proper use of ionizing radiation in accordance with established standards, policies,...
  1. Radiation Therapist OLYMPIA, WA Capital Medical Center
    Under the supervision of the Chief Radiation Therapist and Director of Imaging, the Radiation Therapist performs a variety of technical duties relating to patient treatments. The Therapist is responsible for performing machine warm-up and quality...
  2. Radiation Therapist Hendersonville, NC Pardee Hospital
    The Radiation Therapist facilitates the preparation, administration and accurate documentation of radiation therapy treatments as prescribed by the Radiation Oncologist. Minimum Requirements: Graduation from an accredited school of radiation...
  3. Radiation Therapist Plymouth, MA Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital - Plymouth
    - Registration Required - Experience is required Per Diem Radiation Therapist Position is Available. Essential Duties and Responsibilities: Treatment Planning and Delivery: Accurately delivers the prescribed course of...
  4. Radiation Therapist Job Rochester, MN Mayo Clinic - Rochester
    Department: Radiation OncologyA Life-Changing CareerPosition Summary: The posted positions are for the Proton department 2nd shift. Currently the schedule is five, eight-hour shifts which include fluctuating start and end times and overtime (if...
  5. Radiation Therapist I Boise, ID Saint Alphonsus Health System
    GENERAL SUMMARY AND PURPOSE: Administers high-energy radiation therapy treatments to patients with malignant and benign disease processes with consideration of treatment techniques and patient's age and mobility. Contributes to department...
  6. Radiation Therapist - UC Medical Center - Radiation Oncology Cincinnati, OH University of Cincinnati Medical Center
    - Radiation Therapist - UC Medical Center - Radiation Oncology (039482) Job Description Radiation Therapist - UC Medical Center - Radiation Oncology(Job Number: 039482) Description Title: Radiation Therapist Location: UC Medical Center...
  7. Advanced Radiation Therapist II - UC Medical Center - Rad Onc Cincinnati, OH University of Cincinnati Medical Center
    - Advanced Radiation Therapist II - UC Medical Center - Rad Onc (037970) Job Description Advanced Radiation Therapist II - UC Medical Center - Rad Onc(Job Number: 037970) Description Title: Advanced Radiation Therapist II Location: UC...
  8. Chief Radiation Therapist - UC Medical Center - Radiation Oncology Cincinnati, OH University of Cincinnati Medical Center
    - Chief Radiation Therapist - UC Medical Center - Radiation Oncology (039486) Job Description Chief Radiation Therapist - UC Medical Center - Radiation Oncology(Job Number: 039486) Description Primary Purpose: This position provides...
  9. RADIATION THERAPIST Tulsa, OK Hillcrest Medical Center
    Under the general supervision of the Radiation Oncologists and Radiation Physicist, the incumbent administers ionizing radiation treatments to cancer patients. Other responsibilities include transporting patients, if needed from the hospital...
  10. Radiation Therapist Oklahoma City, OK St. Anthony Hospital
    DescriptionUnder supervision, operate various ionizing radiation producingequipment in the administration of treatments,and promote anatmosphere conducive to maximum physical comfort and psychological support for patients undergoing radiation...
  11. Simulation Radiation Therapist Springfield, IL Memorial Health System
    Applies ionizing radiation to patients as prescribed by radiation oncologists. Responsible for providing comprehensive care to patients of all ages, through the proper use of ionizing radiation in accordance with established standards, policies,...