Those who are interested in understanding the inner workings of the human body opt for a variety of career options in health and research. One such option is a four-year degree program in radiation therapy.
With a degree in this field, you will feel comfortable using technology to aid eradicate cancer. Hence, this article garners information on the best radiation therapist schools in 2021.
Radiation Therapist are known for their burning desire to help. And, considering the number of cases from cancer daily, their services are always required.
The profession is potentially lucrative and captivating; however, students must meet up with the significant educational and certification requirements.
Upon completion of a degree program, students qualify for certification through the American Registry of Radiology Technologists (ARRT).
To become a certified radiation therapist, read through a list of top radiation therapist schools to earn a degree.
A glance at the table of contents below will highlight the schools and reveal other questions pertinent to this course duly answered in this article.
Table of Contents Hide
- What is Radiation Therapy?
- What do You Need to Major in to Become a Radiation Therapist?
- How Many Years Does it Take to Become a Radiation Therapist?
- Can You Get a Radiation Therapy Degree Online?
- What are the Degree and Certifications in Radiation Therapy
- Can You Become a Radiation Therapist with an Associate’s Degree?
- What are the Best Radiation Therapist Schools in 2022?
- #1. Virginia Western Community College (VWCC)
- 2. University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (UNC)
- #3. University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC)
- #4. University of Vermont (UV)
- #5. Oregon University of Science and Health (OHSU)
- #6. Gateway Community College (GCC)
- #7. Ohio State University in Columbus
- #8. Ivy Tech Community College
- #9. Pennsylvania College of Technology
- #10. Armstrong State University
- #11. Amarillo College
- #12. Galveston College
- #13. Texas State University-San Marcos
- #14. The MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas
- #15. Southwestern Medical Center, University of Texas (UT)
- What are the Basic Admission Requirements for Radiation Therapy Study?
- Radiation Therapy Schools: Tuition Fees
- Radiation Therapist Schools | FAQs
What is Radiation Therapy?
Radiation therapy is used to treat cancer. Radiation therapy involves the use of machines such as linear accelerators to direct high-energy x-rays to destroy cancer cells in a patient’s body.
These high-energy x-rays destroy cancer cells by shrinking or eliminating them. Radiation therapists are responsible for operating linear accelerators and for administering, interpreting and recording patient data in cancer centers and hospitals.
They are also responsible for simulating the procedure to determine the appropriate location of the patient and the linear accelerator.
Radiation therapists must follow strict safety procedures to avoid overexposure to radiation. They develop a treatment plan in consultation with the specialist in radiation therapy.
A radiation therapist works in coordination with radiologists to implement therapeutic treatment plans for patients. Radiation therapists administer radiation therapy to patients under the instruction of oncologists and radiologists and locate tumors, measure the amount of radiation administered and update treatment reports.
Radiation therapists use X-rays, gamma rays or charged particles emitted to cancer cells or inject radioisotopes internally near cancerous tumors as a means of treatment.
Duties of a Radiation Therapist
Radiation therapists are an essential part of a patient’s health care team. Some of the duties and tasks of a radiation therapist include:
- Administer prescribed doses of radiation to specific parts of the body, using radiation therapy equipment in accordance with the radiation oncologist’s prescription.
- Position patients for treatment and administer high doses of ionizing radiation as prescribed.
- Explain the procedures clearly to patients.
- Operate the machine to treat a patient with radiation.
- Monitor the patient to check for unusual reactions to the treatment.
- Keep detailed records of the patient’s treatment.
What do You Need to Major in to Become a Radiation Therapist?
To become a certified radiation therapist, you need to complete at least a four year degree program in Radiation therapy.
This is essential to sit for and earn a certification. However, to get into radiation therapist school you need an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree in a related field.
You need to major in potential courses that make up radiation therapy degree program. For most radiation therapist schools, you would need an excellent result in physiology and anatomy, radiation therapy physics, radiologic patient care and radiation protection among other courses.
How Many Years Does it Take to Become a Radiation Therapist?
While it may take two years to get an associate degree in radiation therapy, becoming a radiation therapist implies graduating from a four year degree program.
So, it takes four years to complete a Bachelor of Science in Radiation Therapy or two years, if you just want to earn an associate degree.
Can You Get a Radiation Therapy Degree Online?
Radiation therapy degree programs require a lot of hands on deck practicals. This makes such degree programs unavailable as an online program.
To qualify for the radiation therapist certification, you need to complete a bachelor’s degree program in radiation sciences with a radiation therapy concentration.
This can be done in a radiation therapist school either as an on-campus program or partial online program that requires students to visit campus from time to time.
Joint Review Committee on Radiological Technology (JRCERT) has a complete list of these programs that can be sorted by type of title.
What are the Degree and Certifications in Radiation Therapy
To become a radiation therapist, students must obtain a diploma, certificate, associate’s degree or degree in the field.
These programs cover a wide variety of valuable techniques in the workplace, from specific radiological principles and skills to more general science courses, along with practical work.
Consider the different levels of degrees and certification for the radiation therapy program.
The certificate in radiation therapy programs prepares students for radiation therapist careers, even for national certification. The program generally takes a little over a year and maybe intended for diagnostic radiographs who wish to specialize.
Prerequisite courses may include radiation protection, radiation physics, psychology, anatomy, and physiology. Other programs require applicants to be a radiologic technologist registered with AART or a registered nurse (RN).
The courses generally focus on all aspects of radiation therapy in theory and practice, radiological oncology, ethics, and patient care.
Students may need to complete an observation requirement. Distance learning may be possible.
In addition to preparing for the ARRT exam and certification, associate students study general education curricula. Programs can also offer more clinical experience practicing radiation therapy than a certified program.
Classes generally include psychosocial patient care, sectional anatomy, dosimetry, advanced treatment techniques, and treatment planning.
Bachelor of Science programs in Radiation therapy may require two-year general education requirements in liberal arts, such as English, philosophy, mathematics, and history, although some schools will consider them as transfer credits.
Application to the program may be required in the third year of a student. Students study the health care system, medical terminology, biology, and physics before advancing to specific radiation therapy courses in years three and four.
The course generally includes radiological oncology, patient care, dosimetry, and professional development.
Can You Become a Radiation Therapist with an Associate’s Degree?
While you can earn an associate degree as a radiation therapist, it does not qualify you for the necessary registrations that allow you to obtain a certification or licensure.
You need a bachelor of science degree in radiation science with a concentration in radiation therapy to become a certified radiation therapist.
What are the Best Radiation Therapist Schools in 2022?
It is important to attend a good school-accredited and strong curriculum defines a good school.
Following statistics on accredited therapy programs in the world, below are the best radiation therapist schools:
#1. Virginia Western Community College (VWCC)
At VWCC, located in Roanoke, Virginia, the AAS degree of radiation oncology prepares students to perform the tasks of a radiation therapist and has an impressive ARRT certification approval rate of 97 percent. It is reputed to be among the best radiation therapist schools
In addition, VWCC reports that more than 87 percent of its graduates are employed within six months after the end of the two-year program.
The curriculum at VWCC is considered intense and, therefore, it is discouraged that students work while attending.
2. University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (UNC)
Recently named as one of the 30 best national universities by the U.S. News and World Report (2018), UNC, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, has a long tradition of excellence in health education and can be counted as one of the top radiation therapist schools in the world.
To be eligible for the UNC program, applicants must have obtained (or be in the process of winning) a minimum of an associate’s degree and must be certified in radiography before entering the program.
The 12-month post-baccalaureate certificate program qualifies students to take the certification exam of the national ARRT board in radiation therapy.
This program also has an impressive post-graduation employment rate of 100 percent.
#3. University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC)
The U.S. News and World Report named UNMC, located in Omaha, Nebraska, as one of the top 20 primary care graduate schools in the nation (2018) and among the best Radiation Therapist Schools in USA.
Students who complete the 12-month radiation therapy program may choose to obtain a degree in radiation science technology or a graduate certificate, which qualifies them to take the ARRT exam.
#4. University of Vermont (UV)
Located in Burlington, Vermont is one of the most profitable radiation therapy programs with less than $16,000 annually (tuition in the state). The university’s degree program provides the perfect professional trampoline since its average job placement rate in the last five years is 100 percent.
As an investment, this is one of the options of lower cost and higher performance when it comes to radiation therapy programs.
#5. Oregon University of Science and Health (OHSU)
In addition to being located in one of the most beautiful parts of the country (with campuses throughout the state of Oregon and Washington), the OHSU school was ranked by the US News and World Report as the fifth best primary care medical school in the nation (2018).
The OHSU BS in OHSU radiation therapy has a 97% completion rate, a 95% exam passing rate and an 87% job placement rate.
#6. Gateway Community College (GCC)
With just over $10,000 per year in out-of-state tuition costs, this is one of the most economical AS Radiation Therapist Schools that operate radiation therapy programs available. GCC is known for its flexible and extensive online course options.
Its radiation technician program lasts only 13 months and offers a clinical course of radiation therapy (RTT150) that can be partially completed online.
Not only is it economical and flexible, but the learning outcomes are stellar. 90 percent of graduates pass the national certification exam on the first attempt and have a 100 percent job placement rate upon graduation.
It is important to keep in mind that this program is only open to students who are already certified through the ARRT as medical radiographers.
#7. Ohio State University in Columbus
OSU has it’s Medical School tied for 30th in research. OSU houses the Wright Innovation Center in Biomedical Imaging.
The OSU School of Medicine includes the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, which offers a Bachelor of Science in Radiological Sciences. Specialization options in the program are available in radiotherapy, radiography, and ultrasound.
The study of radiological sciences is also offered through a Certificate of Study or a degree completion option if you already have the medical imaging certification.
#8. Ivy Tech Community College
Ivy Tech offers the only associate degree radiotherapy program in the state of Indiana and our VERT program is one of 29 such programs in the United States.
The mission of the radiotherapy program at Ivy Tech Community College – Bloomington is to provide the student with an affordable and high-quality education that will guide them to pursue a career in radiation oncology.
Through strategic alliances and innovative training, the program will prepare graduates for entry-level radiation therapist positions.
#9. Pennsylvania College of Technology
At Penn College, students study how to harness the power of radiographic technology to improve patient care. An immersive practical experience, this fully accredited program includes more than 1,500 hours of training in clinical settings.
Apply technical skills in our suite of fully energized digital radiographic images and guaranteed clinical rotations in three systems to ensure a deep experience.
#10. Armstrong State University
Armstrong State University of Georgia offers both a B.S. and a post-baccalaureate certificate option for registered radiology technicians. In this flexible program, student attendance at physical facilities is necessary during the first semester of instructional instruction.
For the rest of the program, students can complete a large part of the online courses and establish clinical rotations at a facility near their home at their convenience.
#11. Amarillo College
Amarillo College runs one of the best Radiation Therapist Schools and offers an associate degree in radiation therapy. The 24-month program consists mainly of day courses, as well as 1,500 hours of clinical training.
Students complete their courses on campus and participate in five clinical practice experiences throughout the program. The course examines medical terminology, anatomy, technical procedures and oncology.
This school is one of the few campuses in the country that has an energized laboratory to practice radiation techniques. This program is also open to radiographers and nurses, who can complete the program in 16 months.
#12. Galveston College
Galveston College offers an associate degree in radiation therapy, as well as a certification program for registered radiographers. Within the programs, students participate in classroom instruction and clinical practice experiences.
The certification program consists of 34 credit hours, and the associate’s program requires 71 credit hours. The associate’s degree program is the oldest in the state of Texas and is accredited by JRCERT.
The programs prepare students for national certification, and the school has a national credential exam pass rate of 96.7%.
#13. Texas State University-San Marcos
Texas State University-San Marcos is among those Radiation Therapist Schools that offers a bachelor’s degree in radiation therapy through the College of Health Professions. Under the JRCERT accredited program, students complete courses in biology, medical terminology, health law, radio-oncology, and radiobiology.
The program also offers simulation labs and targeted clinical experiences. Graduates are ready to take the national ARRT certification exam.
In addition, the school has collaborative relationships with 16 cancer centers for clinical education and a dedicated computer lab for dosimetry and treatment planning.
#14. The MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas
The University of Texas Anderson Cancer Center is one of the Radiation Therapist Schools that offers a bachelor’s degree in radiation therapy through its School of Health Professions.
Students must complete didactic courses in health ethics, dosimetry and treatment planning, human pathology, clinical radio-oncology and digital imaging, which may be offered in an audio-video conference format.
The program includes clinical experiences in which students receive hands-on training in therapeutic treatment, treatment planning, and simulation. The program prepares students for ARRT certification.
In addition, students have access to a state-of-the-art oncology center and numerous medical conferences.
At the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center, radiation therapy students complete a two-year BS program, either in person or remotely.
The distance education option includes synchronous student-faculty interaction, clinical rotations at affiliate facilities, and a brief session on campus in Houston.
#15. Southwestern Medical Center, University of Texas (UT)
The School of Health Professions at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas offers a post-graduate radiation therapy certificate. This is a 21-month full-time program that offers lessons only on weekdays.
The program covers 65 hours of programming and covers the areas of oncology, medical imaging and ethical issues in radiation therapy. Students complete four clinical training experiences during normal business hours on weekdays.
Graduates should have the skills and knowledge to pass the ARRT Certification Examination for Radiation therapy.
What are the Requirements for Enrolling into a Radiation Therapy School?
A certificate in the field is the minimum educational level that must be achieved for a career in the field; however, employers often wish to obtain an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.
Schools that teach this form of education generally offer programs at the certificate, associate and bachelor’s levels.
To become a radiation therapist, a two- or four-year radiation therapy degree or certificate from an accredited radiation therapy school is required, followed by ARRT certification as a radiation therapist.
There are several programs available that offer a Bachelor of Science degree for advanced studies in radiation therapy. Most states in the US and in other nations require licenses and certifications.
Some states even require radiation therapists to pass the ARRT certification exam in order to practice. Therefore, when selecting a radiation therapy school, it is important to ensure that the school is accredited by the ARRT.
To access a radiation therapy school, students must complete their general education requirements followed by pre-professional courses in radiation therapy.
Normally two years of intensive radiation courses are required to obtain a bachelor’s degree.
Some programs require students to graduate from an accredited radiography course along with a passing grade required on the ARRT certification exam.
What are the Basic Admission Requirements for Radiation Therapy Study?
Technical schools, colleges, and universities offer training as radiotherapists. Each of these schools has requirements that you must meet before you are eligible for admission into this program.
- be 18 years or older
- have a high school diploma or a GED
- have a pass on entrance examinations
Radiation Therapy Schools: Tuition Fees
Tuition costs for different radiation therapy schools vary according to the structure of the program and the reputation of the institute.
The average tuition costs are expected to range between $9,700 and $12,000 per semester. The duration of the course in a radiation therapy program is 12 months to two years, depending on the institute.
Students who have graduated from an X-ray program can opt for a 12-month course. However, those who want to specialize in radiation therapy may want to follow a two-year program to qualify as a radiation therapist.
Where do Radiation therapists work?
Radiation therapists can find employment opportunities in any of the following establishments;
- Hospitals; state, local and private: Radiation therapists work in hospitals to help treat cancer.
- Medical practices: A physician may offer certain types of radiotherapy in their clinics, for which the expertise of a certified radiotherapist is required.
- Self-Employed: Some radiotherapists are self-employed and work with other members of the medical community on a contractual or one-off basis.
- Outpatient clinics: Many outpatient clinics offer cancer treatment where patients can receive radiotherapy and return home the same day.
What are the Working conditions for a Radiation Therapist?
As a radiation therapist, you can expect to work with patients undergoing medical treatments that are generally designed to prevent or eliminate cancerous tumors.
Therefore, you can anticipate spending a portion of your appointments to provide information to people who may be new to this type of treatment.
You must also identify the precise area to be treated and calibrate the machinery to apply the correct treatment. This type of work can be stressful because it requires strict attention to every detail.
However, radiotherapists also find it gratifying to know that they are helping patients at a difficult time. Since the position carries the risk of accidental exposure to radiation, you will receive training on how to adequately protect and protect patients from hazards.
How much does a Radiation Therapist earn?
One of the highest paid paths may be a two or four year degree from a high school of radiation therapy.
With an average salary of $85,190 per year, radiation therapy is a relatively lucrative profession in the US. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs in this field will grow 13 percent between 2016 and 2026, faster than the national average projected for all occupations
Radiation Therapist Schools | FAQs
How long do you have to go to school to be a radiation therapist?
An associate’s degree takes two years to complete, and a Bachelor of Science in Radiation Therapy takes four years to complete.
While you can become a radiation therapist with only an associate’s degree, many employers prefer their therapists to have a bachelor’s degree in order to be considered for the position.
What kind of degree do you need to be a radiation therapist?
Most radiation therapists complete programs that lead to an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in radiation therapy.
Radiation therapists must be licensed or certified in most states. Requirements vary by state but often include passing a national certification exam.
Is radiation therapist in demand?
The employment of radiation therapists is projected to grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations.
Demand for radiation therapists may stem from the aging population and advances in radiation therapies
How much does it cost to get a degree in radiation Therapy?
The average tuition costs are expected to range between $9,700 and $12,000 per semester. The duration of the course in a radiation therapy program is 12 months to two years, depending on the institute.
What do Radiation Therapists do?
Radiation therapists use X-rays, gamma rays or charged particles emitted to cancer cells or inject radioisotopes internally near cancerous tumours as a means of treatment.