Last Updated on August 12, 2023 by Oluwajuwon Alvina
Are you about to start an education in radiation therapy or are already in college? There are many steps you will need to take in order to get the education you need to become a radiation therapist. Overall, these can be confusing and stressful, but if you do some research and make some key decisions on your path, it will be easy. First of all, you need to decide what type of radiation therapy program you want to enter into. One of the most popular programs is the one offered at the City of Hope National Medical Center. It combines hands-on experience with classroom learning.
Are you considering a career in healthcare? Radiation therapy is one of the niche courses that will guarantee you an exciting spot in today’s complex healthcare industry. According to a recent study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for certified radiation therapists is expected to grow by over twenty percent through 2022.
Radiation therapy involves the use of specialized equipment to identify the location of tumorous cells in the body. After that, the radiation therapist utilizes a linear accelerator to kill targeted cancerous cells. It would suffice to say that the actual procedure is much more complicated. There are multiple techniques employed including advanced methods such as particle therapy.
Role of a radiation therapist
A licensed radiation therapist plays a vital role in the medical profession. The primary function is to administer therapy to cancer patients using advanced radiation techniques. This effectively stops them from growing. Normal cells that may be affected by the process repair and regenerate quickly. The treatment is typically done on five days of the week and could last up to ten weeks. However, for you to practice, you need to be licensed.
How to become a radiation therapist in California
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 Licenture (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.
Radiation Therapist Schools In California
- The direct route is to find a school that offers radiation therapy as a major.
- The alternative path it to enroll in a radiologic technology program and then specialize in radiation therapy later. It is essential to identify a college with a program that is accredited by the corresponding professional body such as American Registry of Radiologic Technicians (JRCERT) and other organizations.
The strategy makes you more marketable and expands your employment options. It also indicates to potential employers and patients that you can be relied upon to observe the professional standards of ethics strictly. The certification requires continuous education and annual renewal. Let us review a few schools to consider in California.
With a comprehensive bachelor’s degree course in radiation therapy, it is easy to see the appeal the award-winning university has for potential radiation therapists. It is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and JRCERT. The program is an excellent choice for students qualified in radiologic technology to specialize in radiation therapy. It is also perfect for those who cleared high school and wish to pursue a career in radiation therapy.
Consequently, the degree program is split into two tracks; ARRT-certified entrants and non-ARRT applicants. The program is fulltime with a distinct Department of Radiation Technology faculty. It is headed by an ARRT certified clinical coordinator. The faith-oriented university launched the program recently to meet the growing demand for radiation therapy specialists in the country.
In a tradition of pioneering excellence, the program has advanced training modules including proton treatment. The university’s medical center made history in 1990 for its dedicated proton center, a world’s first. Its teaching hospital was ranked number fourteen by US News & World Report in 2014.
Address: 11139 Anderson St, Loma Linda, CA 92350, USA
Phone: +1 909-558-4508
The university was established in 1971. It has seven schools with a strong focus on student success. The program presents an excellent choice to prepare you for the iconic ARRT certification and state licensing. This will open the doors to helping millions of people find relief and improve their quality of life. The degree course in radiation therapy is a fulltime course, and clinical internships are allocated.
The university has an additional satellite campus in Sacramento, California. JRCERT accredits it besides more than ten other professional organizations. This ensures you get quality training on radiation therapy treatments, soft skills, agile thinking and professional codes of conduct.
Address: 3390 Harbor Blvd, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, USA
Phone: +1 714-429-5100
Rated among the leading 20 trade schools in the US, the Beverly Hills Institute offers two associate degree programs in radiation therapy that are accredited by the ARRT. These are the Diagnostic Medical Sonography and the Magnetic Resonance Imaging associate degree programs. The two-year courses are available at the main campus in Beverly Hills, California and the satellite campuses of Ontario, California and Phoenix, Arizona.
The Institute empowers you with the skills and knowledge to build your radiation therapy career. The college was established by board-certified radiation therapy specialists and employs a fun approach to training. The institute also operates an on-campus, low-cost imaging clinic that enables students to advance their practical training. The teaching staff is all certified, and they hold actual jobs in the medical profession.
This ensures you get access to innovative technology, evolving trends, and imaging standards. The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools (ACCSC) recognized the school with two national awards this year.
Address: 291 S La Cienega Blvd #500, Beverly Hills, CA 90211, USA
Phone: +1 310-289-5123
Previously referred to as Kaplan College, the institution is now a part of Brightwood College. The school provides a couple of diploma programs that can form a solid foundation for further studies to a career in radiation therapy. These are the Diagnostic Medical Sonography diploma course and the Radiologic Technology associate degree course that is recognized by the ARRT. The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges, based in Washington, DC recognizes the programs.
The college had the second largest number of graduates as of 2013 in the country who qualified to get further certification as radiation therapists. Remember to identify a program that offers specialization in radiation therapy after completing any of these two programs. The college has recently expanded and has around ten campuses in California alone.
Besides Los Angeles, it has a campus in Fresno, San Diego, Riverside, and Sacramento. It offers flexible programs some of which do not demand fulltime attendance.
national university radiation therapy
Prepare to play an active role in the fight against cancer and other diseases by earning a Bachelor of Science in Radiation Therapy from National University. The Radiation Therapy Program combines classroom work with clinical experiences to prepare you to become an integral part of a healthcare team using radiation to treat cancer as well as benign diseases. You’ll learn to assess the physical, emotional, and educational needs of the patients you serve, determine the efficacy of a prescribed treatment, and carry out the accurate delivery and documentation of treatment. The radiation therapy education program covers all aspects of radiation therapy, including effective patient care and education, treatment planning, radiation physics, and the biological effects of radiation.
city of hope radiation therapy program
City of Hope’s School of Radiation Therapy is a 12-month certificate program, accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology and approved by the state of California Department of Public Health, Radiologic Health Branch. The program is designed to offer a full curriculum that incorporates both didactic and clinical elements that are reflective of contemporary practice in radiation therapy today. The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) has awarded the program an 8-year accreditation with the next review in 2026.
The program’s mission is to educate and train radiation therapy professionals who are knowledgeable, technically competent and dedicated to the needs of their patients, the community and profession.
Successful preparation is through the program’s ability to provide structural learning experiences that facilitate attitudes and skills that prepare graduates to demonstrate a commitment to patient care and continued personal and professional development.
Upon successful completion of the program, the student is eligible to sit for the national certification exam offered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists . Having successfully passed this exam, the certificate holder is classified as a registered radiation therapist, or R.T.