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Field of Study: Radiation Therapy

Introduction

Radiation therapy programs prepare people to treat tumors in cancer patients with prescribed radiation treatments.

 

Overview

Radiation therapy programs include topics such as:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Oncologic pathology
  • Radiation biology
  • Radiation oncology procedures and techniques
  • Tumor localization
  • Treatment planning
  • Recordkeeping

Schools
Many community colleges offer certificate and associate degree programs in radiation therapy. A certificate program usually takes a year of full-time study. An associate degree program usually takes two years of full-time study.

A few colleges and universities offer bachelor's degree programs in radiation therapy. A bachelor's degree usually takes four years of full-time study.

 

College preparation

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

  • General Math
  • Psychology
  • Basic Computer
  • General Computer Applications
  • Community Health
  • Safety and First Aid
  • Healthcare Occupations
  • Medical Lab Technology
  • Healthcare Sciences Work Experience
  • Biology
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics

 

Undergraduate special

Some programs require you to take pre-professional or general education courses before applying. These programs may admit you before you have finished these courses, but might want to see proof that you have started them or plan to start them soon.

These prerequisite courses usually include some combination of the following:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • College Algebra
  • Computer Applications
  • English Composition
  • General Biology
  • General Chemistry
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Medical Ethics
  • Medical Terminology
  • Psychology
  • Sociology

Other requirements may include:

  • American College Testing (ACT) or Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)
  • Clinical observation ("shadowing") in the radiologic sciences field
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal interview

Some programs prefer applicants who have a background in radiography (x-ray technology). However, many programs offer two options: course work for those who have this background and course work for those who do not. If you don't have a background in radiography or some other radiation science, your studies usually take longer to complete.

 

Typical course work

This program typically includes courses in the following subjects:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Atomic Physics
  • Clinical Dosimetry and Treatment Planning
  • Computer Theory
  • Data Collection
  • Medical Law and Ethics
  • Oncologic Pathology
  • Patient Care: Communication and Management
  • Physics: Introductory Principles
  • Physics: Technical Applications
  • Radiation Biology
  • Radiation Oncology Procedures and Techniques
  • Radiation Physics
  • Radiation Protection
  • Radiographic Imaging
  • Tumor Localization

Bachelor's degree candidates may also need to complete an independent research project on radiation therapy.

 

Things to know

Some states require you to have a license before practicing. You may have to pass a certification exam before getting licensed.

Radiation therapy programs require you to wear a radiation detection badge to monitor your exposure to radiation.

Fees in addition to tuition in this program include allied health insurance, uniform and shoes, radiation monitoring, and registry applications.

 

Similar fields of study

Careers you may qualify for

College Health Specialties Teachers
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers
Radiation Therapists
Radiologic Technologists

 

Resources

The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT)
http://www.arrt.org

Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT)
http://www.jrcert.org

Schools that offer program

Click on the school name to see a list of their programs related to this field of study.

Anthem College - St. Louis Park, Located in Metro
Argosy University/Twin Cities - Eagan, Located in Metro
Century College - White Bear Lake, Located in Metro
Century College - Online - White Bear Lake, Located in Metro
Concordia University, St. Paul , Located in Metro
Dunwoody College of Technology - Minneapolis, Located in Metro
Lake Superior College - Duluth, Located in Northeast
Lake Superior College - Online - Duluth, Located in Northeast
Mayo Clinic - Mayo School of Health Sciences - Rochester, Located in Southeast
Minnesota State College - Southeast Technical - Online - Red Wing, Located in Southeast
Minnesota State College - Southeast Technical - Red Wing , Located in Southeast
Minnesota State College - Southeast Technical - Winona , Located in Southeast
Minnesota State Community and Technical College - Detroit Lakes , Located in Northwest
Minnesota State Community and Technical College - Fergus Falls , Located in Northwest
Minnesota State Community and Technical College - Moorhead , Located in Northwest
Minnesota State Community and Technical College - Online - Perham, Located in Northwest
Minnesota State Community and Technical College - Wadena , Located in Northwest
Minnesota West Community and Technical College - Canby , Located in Southwest
Minnesota West Community and Technical College - Granite Falls , Located in Southwest
Minnesota West Community and Technical College - Jackson , Located in Southwest
Minnesota West Community and Technical College - Online - Worthington, Located in Southwest
Minnesota West Community and Technical College - Pipestone , Located in Southwest
Minnesota West Community and Technical College - Worthington , Located in Southwest
Northland Community and Technical College - East Grand Forks , Located in Northwest
Northland Community and Technical College - Online - Perham, Located in Northwest
Northland Community and Technical College - Thief River Falls , Located in Northwest
Presentation College - Fairmont, Located in Southwest
Riverland Community College - Albert Lea , Located in Southeast
Riverland Community College - Austin , Located in Southeast
Riverland Community College - Online - Austin, Located in Southeast
Riverland Community College - Owatonna , Located in Southeast
St. Catherine University - Minneapolis , Located in Metro
St. Catherine University - St. Paul , Located in Metro
St. Cloud Hospital School of Radiologic Technology , Located in Central
St. Cloud State University , Located in Central
St. Cloud State University - Online , Located in Central
Veterans Affairs Medical Center, School of Radiologic Technology - Minneapolis, Located in Metro