How to Become a Radiation Therapist: When you become a Radiation Therapist you enter a field with expanding possibilities that directly helps people overcome a disease. It’s not a job for everyone, as the demands and stresses of the job can be overwhelming. these are the basic steps needed to get started in this growing allied healthcare career.
How to Become a Radiation Therapist Step by Step Guide
step 1 – Education
You do not need a full four-year degree in order to get started in radiation therapy. The education requirement is an associate degree, and this can be completed in just 2 years. The strength of the program is important, so you’ll want to make sure that you attend a school with a big reputation for success among its graduates.
Many students opt for a bachelor’s degree, and this is recommended if you know for sure that this job is what you want to do. If you’re undecided in any way, an associate degree works best because it involves the least amount of time and cost and lets you determine whether you like the job enough to invest more time and money in further education.
Step 2 – Training
A bulk of what you’ll need to know includes performing specific tasks related to your position. Although you’ll be required to know a lot that can be learned through books and online learning, some of your biggest challenges will come when asked to perform the functions of your job.
This makes your training very important and makes choosing the right program even more crucial. A quality program will include generous amounts of hands-on training, either in the real world or through simulated environments. Be sure to pay close attention and don’t be afraid to ask questions and make mistakes. This is the time, and you won’t want to correct yourself on actual patients.
Become a Radiation Therapist: Step 3 – Certification
Although optional, we recommend that you include this step and get your post-graduate certification. Not only will it allow you to perform your job with more confidence, thereby giving your patients better care, but in many cases, you can command a higher salary, or beat out an equally qualified yet non-certified co-applicant. Some states will require that you be licensed. It’s always a good idea to check your local regulations and go above and beyond the minimum standards at all times.
Step 4 – Begin Work
Once you have the proper education and training and have shown that you know your stuff bypassing all certification and licensing requirements you should have no trouble landing your first job. Although any job market in the medical field is competitive, there is always a need for qualified applicants.
Once you have been in the position for some time and decide that you like it, you may consider going back to school to get a master’s degree or specialize in certain types of cancer treatments or equipment.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do Radiation Therapists do?
Not to be confused with a Radiologist Technician, a Radiation Therapist is responsible for giving radiation treatments to those patients with cancer. This includes not only administering the treatment but also planning the course of action for the treatment program. They are also charged with monitoring a patient’s reactions to the medication and any side effects and reporting these to the Oncologist to adjust the ongoing treatment accordingly.
How much do Radiation Therapists make?
The national average salary for Radiation Therapists in the United States is around $80,000. This of course is just an average, and those cities and states with a higher cost of living will pay more than rural locations. You must also factor in years of experience and realize that when starting out you may not see figures like this. It’s just presented to give you a rough idea of what you’ll be making on average.
Do I have to worry about being exposed to radiation in this job?
The necessary precautions are in place to keep you protected from the radiation It’s important not to confuse this job with a radiologist Technician, those that work with x-rays. The radiation that is administered to patients is done using sophisticated devices that pinpoint the location and are only sent to finite areas. It is not a general blast of radiation that goes throughout the room.
A Great Job for a Strong Person
Because this career deals closely with patients that are battling cancer it can be draining on the emotions. Be sure that you are up to the challenge when you are deciding whether to become a Radiation Therapist. There are times when you feel great because you’re helping people out, and there are times that you’ll feel frustrated and angry when they lose their fight and you did all you could.
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