Last Updated on January 29, 2023 by Omoyeni Adeniyi
Get more information on How to Become a Radiation Therapist in Florida, how to become a radiation therapist in florida, how do i become a radiation therapist in florida, is it easy to become a radiation therapist & what are the requirements to become a radiation therapist on collegelearners.org.
radiation therapist programs in florida
Radiation therapy is used both in the treatment of cancer and to ease symptoms of the disease. Both internal and external beam radiation therapies are local treatments used to cure, prevent reoccurrence, and stop or slow cancer cell growth by targeting specific areas of the body.
Types of internal radiation therapy include radiopharmaceuticals, brachytherapy, and systemic radiation therapy. Palliative radiation therapy is used to ease the severity of symptoms such as pain, breathing difficulties, and incontinence.
Radiation therapists are responsible for a number of important duties. These medical professionals assist in treating cancer and other diseases by administering radiation treatment and explaining radiation therapy to patients; operating x-ray machines and other related medical equipment to ensure they are working up to certain standards; monitoring the patient throughout the course of the treatment; and recording the results of the treatment once it is finished.
Because radiation therapists are most often working as part of an oncology team, they may interact and report to radiation oncologists, oncology nurses, radiation physicists, and anyone else participating in the process of administering and monitoring radiation treatment.
Ultimately, radiation therapists hold meaningful positions that help improve the quality of life of their patients. Not surprisingly, the National Center for Biotechnology Information found in a study that patients feel most comforted when they are informed and emotionally cared for. The relationship with radiation therapists was cited as one of the ways patients received this vital emotional comfort during treatment.
Read on to learn more about how prospective radiation therapists can take the first steps on the path toward this rewarding new career.
Skills and Traits of a Successful Radiation Therapist
There is no one specific personality most suited to becoming a successful radiation therapist. However, there are certain personality traits and skills that may help an aspiring radiation therapist fulfill their goals. O*NET (2020) lists the following attributes and skills as being potentially useful for someone interested in becoming a radiation therapist:
- Critical Thinking: Perhaps most importantly, radiation therapists must be able to assess issues they face and craft logical approaches and solutions given the resources at hand.
- Customer and Personal Service Skills: Because radiation therapists work directly with patients undergoing treatments, they should be adept at monitoring patient comfort and satisfaction at all times.
- Science, Math, and Medical Knowledge: Radiation therapists must have a solid background in physics, mathematical concepts, and medicine and dentistry, including the types of illnesses treated by radiation therapy.
- Operation Monitoring: These therapists must also be able to actively monitor radiation treatments to ensure safety and success.
- English Language Abilities: Radiation therapists must have the English-language skills needed to communicate effectively, both with patients and other medical professionals.
Role Requirements and Responsibilities
Those pursuing a career in radiation therapy should be aware of licensing procedures and key role requirements.
Specifically, in order to work as a radiation therapist in the United States, an individual must first have completed education in the field of radiation therapy or radiography at an accredited institution. This includes completion of the Radiation Therapy Didactic and Clinical Competency Requirements set forth by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) within an accredited program.
Many four-year universities and colleges offer degrees that fulfill these requirements in the course of study. For that reason, many choose to pursue inclusive bachelor’s degrees. However, a radiation therapist does not necessarily have to possess a bachelor’s degree in radiation therapy or radiography; instead, those pursuing a career in radiation therapy may obtain an associate’s degree from an accredited institution, which may, in fact, be a community or technical college. The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) is currently the sole agency recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation and the US Department of Education for the accreditation of radiation therapy programs.
Once an individual has obtained either an undergraduate degree in radiation therapy, he or she must then become certified with the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT), the national body tasked with licensing radiation therapists. In order to do so, the aspiring radiation therapist must apply for and take an examination that will test the candidate’s competency in the field. The cost of the exam is $200 for those taking it for the first time, and subsequent examinations cost $175. Reinstatement by examination costs $200 as well. For some students, an online reinstatement fee of $75 can be paid to recertify the ARRT credential.
Before signing up for the examination, however, the ARRT suggests that those interested in becoming radiation therapists familiarize themselves with ARRT’s Equation for Excellence, a three-factor test that individuals can use to determine their eligibility. The three portions of this equation are:
The ARRT goes on to elaborate on each piece of this three-part equation. In regards to education, as mentioned before, an aspiring radiation therapist must obtain a degree from an accredited institution and complete certain requirements involving clinical competency. These requirements often include a number of years of clinical experience. Furthermore, if a current radiation therapist wants to obtain a specialty certification in a certain field, such as mammography, bone densitometry, sonography, or one of the many other sub-sects of radiation therapy, he or she must complete an additional set of clinical experience requirements, as well.
In regards to the examination, as previously mentioned, aspiring therapists must submit an application to take the examination along with an application fee. In order to receive certification, individuals must pass all sections of the examination. The contents of these exams varies from state to state.
Finally, in order to obtain certification, ARRT requires that all radiation therapists uphold a standard of ethics. In general, prospective radiation therapists must commit to behaving in a professional manner and working towards the improvement of the health of their patients. In addition, radiation therapists must not be convicted of any crime or commit any other ethical violations while working in the field.
While an individual who meets these standards is not guaranteed a position as a radiation therapist, fulfilling these requirements is necessary in order to obtain certification.
Radiation Therapy Schools in Florida
How to qualify as a Radiation Therapist in Florida
There are two programs in Florida that offer non-degree holders the opportunity to study directly for an accredited associate degree in Radiation Therapy. These programs have a two-year duration. Completion of one of these programs will ensure that the graduate is eligible to apply for state licensure and apply to the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) to obtain professional credentials.
For candidates with an existing baccalaureate degree, undertaking an accredited post-graduate certificate in Radiation Therapy is an alternative option. There are two of these types of programs available in Florida. The duration of these programs is typically 15-16 months. Completion of one of these programs will be sufficient to ensure that the graduate is eligible to apply for a license to practice in Florida plus apply for professional credentials from ARRT.
- View radiologic technology schools in Florida
- Learn about radiation therapy education & career requirements
- A day in The life of a radiation therapist
As Florida does not require candidates for licensure as a Radiation Therapist to hold ARRT credentials, completion of a two-year general Radiologic Technologist associate degree would also make an applicant eligible for licensure as a Radiation Therapist in Florida. However, completion of a general Radiologic Technology associate degree would need to be followed by additional ARRT-approved studies specifically in Radiation Therapy in order for the graduate to be eligible to apply for ARRT credentials as a Radiation Therapist. At the time of writing, there were no programs available in Florida that would enable a holder of an associate degree in Radiologic Technology to pursue additional approved studies specifically in Radiation Technology in order to obtain professional credentials as a Radiation Therapist from ARRT.
How to obtain professional credentials as a Radiation Therapist in Florida
The credential-awarding body for Radiation Therapists is the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). The majority of Radiation Therapists choose to obtain professional credentials as they help to guarantee that the holder has achieved the expected standard of knowledge and competence to practice safely and effectively as a Radiation Therapist. In particular, professional credentials help to assure prospective employers of the credibility of candidates when they apply for roles as Radiation Therapists. In addition, although Florida does not require ARRT credentials for licensure, the majority of states do require Radiation Therapists to hold these credentials.
ARRT has three requirements that candidates for professional credentials must meet. The first is to maintain the ARRT standards of ethical behavior. These are fully detailed in the ARRT Standard of Ethics document plus candidates must provide acceptable answers to a selection of ethics-related questions on their application form.
The second ARRT criteria for conferring profession credentials is that the individual can demonstrate that they have completed a minimum of an associate level degree and completed a specific program of education as a Radiation Therapist. Both educational programs must have been completed at an accredited institution. There are various ways to meet this requirement. A candidate may complete an associate degree in Radiation Therapy that would satisfy both requirements at once. Alternatively, a candidate could complete a baccalaureate degree in a different field and then complete a post-baccalaureate certificate in Radiation Therapy. This combination would also satisfy the educational requirements of ARRT.
Finally, candidates must pass the ARRT examination by achieving a scaled score of 75 on the four-hour computer-based test. The test examines the same curriculum covered by an associate degree or post-graduate certificate in Radiation Therapy, therefore recent graduates of these educational programs will be familiar with the knowledge required. This includes radiation safety and quality, patient care and communication, treatment planning and delivery, and overarching concepts of radiation oncology.
ARRT credentials must be renewed bi-annually by completion of Continuing Education credits and once a decade by completion of Continuing Qualification credits.
How to become a licensed Radiation Therapist in Florida
The Florida Department of Health is accountable for licensing Radiation Therapists within Florida. Candidates for the first-time licensure in Florida must provide evidence of completion of an accredited two-year Radiologic Technology Program and are then required to demonstrate that they are of a good moral character and pass a computer-based examination.
It is worthy of note that the Florida Department of Health does not currently require candidates for the first-time licensure to hold ARRT credentials. The examination for Florida licensure is broadly similar in content to the content of the examination required to obtain professional credentials from ARRT, however, both examinations must be completed if a candidate is seeking both credentials and licensure.
For candidates licensed in other states who are subsequently seeking licensure in Florida, a different set of criteria apply. Candidates for this type of licensure must show evidence of completion of an accredited two-year Radiologic Technology program and proof of ARRT credentials. However, they are not required to pass the Florida examination.
Accredited Radiation Therapy Schools in Florida
21st Century Oncology, Inc. School for Radiation Therapy Technology
21st Century Oncology is a large provider of cancer care services and the largest radiation oncology provider in the US. The organization is headquartered in Fort Myers while the School for Radiation Therapy Technology is located in Cape Coral.
The school offers a 16-month post-baccalaureate certificate in Radiation Therapy which has been accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). The goals of the program are to develop clinical competence, professionalism, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. In addition to holding a baccalaureate degree, candidates for the program must already hold credentials as diagnostic radiographers from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).
The majority of classroom learning in conducted in Cape Coral. Students are also required to undertake rotations at a minimum of three clinical locations which include: Port Charlotte, Lehigh Acres, Cape Coral, Lakes Park, Bonita Springs, and North Naples. Each rotation has a duration of 12-16 weeks.
School for Radiation Therapy Technology
1419 SE 8th Terrace
Cape Coral, Florida 33990
Broward College North Campus
Founded in 1959, Broward College is part of the Florida state college system and has three campuses at Davie, Pembroke Pines, and Coconut Creek. Broward College offers an Associate of Science in Radiation Therapy. General Education courses are offered at all Broward College locations while Radiation Therapy courses are only available at the North Campus in Coconut Creek.
The Associate of Science in Radiation Therapy is a two-year degree program. Applicants must complete all of the AS general education course requirements prior to the second year of the program and are required to complete a supplemental application and meet specific criteria. There are a limited number of students admitted to the program each year. The program is accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiological Technology (JRCERT).
All lecture and laboratory courses are taught at the North Campus. Clinical courses are located in hospitals and Cancer Centers throughout Broward, Palm Beach, and Martin Counties. Students will develop skills in patient care and communication, problem-solving, patient-record keeping, and radiation safety. Graduates will be prepared to identify and administer treatment protocols, perform tumor localization through the use of diagnostic radiographs and computed tomography, and calculate dosimetry formulas.
Upon completion of the degree program, graduates are eligible to take the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) credentials exam and subsequently apply to the state of Florida for licensure.
111 East Las Olas Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Hillsborough Community College (Dale Mabry Campus)
Serving the Tampa Bay area, Hillsborough Community College has five primary campuses and three satellite locations. The Radiation Therapy program is delivered at the Dale Mabry Campus which is the largest and oldest campus. It is situated on 108-acres of property in the urban community of Drew Park in Tampa, across from the Raymond James Stadium.
The college offers a 77-credit Associate of Science program and a 43 credit post-graduate Radiation Therapy Specialist Certificate. Candidates for the post-graduate certificate program must already be certified, licensed radiographers. All graduates of the AS degree program are eligible for admission into the University of South Florida Bachelor of Science in Applied Science (BSAS) degree program. Graduates of both programs are eligible to sit the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) exam and then apply to the state of Florida for licensure. The Radiation Therapy program is fully accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT).
The curriculum incorporates coverage of the newest technology including Multi Leaf Collimation, Intensity Modulating Radiation Therapy, Stereotactic Radiosurgery, and the Gamma Knife. Students have access to a three-dimensional linear accelerator simulator to help them to build their skills and undertake four clinical rotations.
4001 Tampa Bay Boulevard
Tampa, Florida 33614
How Long Does It Take to Become a Radiation Therapist?
The amount of time needed to become a certified radiation therapist varies according to the educational pathway taken. Those completing a bachelor’s degree may need four to five years to complete their studies, gain experience, become certified, and enter the field. Aspiring radiation therapists could be ready to work in less than three years if pursuing an associate degree and certification while working in a support role, which is why many see this as a compelling option.
Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming a Radiation Therapist
In general, the path to becoming a radiation therapist will look fairly similar from person to person, with minor differences at specific points in time depending on the individual. Consider going through the following steps if you are planning to pursue a career in this field:
Step One: Graduate High School or Obtain a GED (Four Years)
To begin, aspiring radiation therapists need to complete high school or obtain a GED. This is a requirement for virtually all two- or four-year colleges or universities. Furthermore, high school students interested in radiation therapy should take classes in biology, physics, chemistry, and mathematics, not only to learn the material but also to become comfortable managing a significant course load. Such students may also consider volunteering in a hospital radiation therapy department as observation hours may be required for admission to undergraduate programs in the field.
Step Two: Earn a Degree (Two to Four Years)
After high school, enroll in an undergraduate degree program in radiation therapy or a closely related major. The minimum requirement to become a certified, registered radiation therapist is an associate degree; however many radiation therapy professionals pursue a four-year undergraduate degree. The ARRT provides a list of ARRT-recognized educational programs from which a student can obtain a relevant and recognized degree necessary for certification in the future.
A candidate’s degree may be in any subject and completed at any time: before, during, or after completion of an accredited radiation therapy educational program. Depending on an applicant’s educational background, prerequisite coursework in subjects such as human development, English composition, technical writing, math, chemistry, anatomy and physiology, physics, and nutrition may be required prior to enrollment.
Step Three: Gain Clinical Experience (Time Varies)
During the course of a radiation therapy program, students will be required to complete certain clinical requirements in order to obtain a diploma. This may include 15 or more credit-hours working with a registered radiation therapist in a clinical setting.
In addition to this, however, students should also make sure to secure employment related to radiation therapy, which will provide a greater knowledge base and opportunities to develop the skill set needed to qualify for employment opportunities down the road.
Step Four: Become ARRT-Certified and/or State Licensed (Time Varies)
The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) offers a credential in radiation therapy: the ARRT (T).
Upon graduation, an individual is then able to register with ARRT to complete an examination, the passing of which is a prerequisite to becoming a certified radiation therapist. The exam only requires a single day; however, students must submit an application and fee and prepare accordingly, a process that could take months. Candidates have three years upon completion of educational requirements to apply for ARRT certification and may attempt the exam three times within three years.
Some states require radiation therapists to earn a state license in place of or in addition to ARRT certification. For specific state requirements, contact your state’s licensing entity.
Step Five: Seek Employment or Advanced Studies (Varies)
Finally, once candidates with at least an associate degree become certified, they are eligible for employment as radiation therapists or with advanced training, as dosimetrists. Settings that employ the services of radiation professionals include hospitals, cancer centers, and educational institutions. Depending on the therapist’s career plans, they may go on to obtain further specialization in a subfield, supporting discipline, or related field in order to pursue opportunities in teaching, technical sales, research, or management.
Step Six: Maintain ARRT Certification and Local Licensure (Every One to Ten Years)
Certified radiation therapists (RTs) need to renew their certification annually by completing continuing education (CE) requirements (every two years) and continuing qualifications (CQR) requirements (every ten years). This may also include renewing certification and registration in a supporting discipline, depending on the RT’s chosen eligibility pathway.
State renewal requirements vary.