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Radiation Therapist
Radiation Therapy involves the use of radiation to treat disease, primarily cancer. Along with surgery and chemotherapy it plays an important role in helping patients combat and deal with their disease. Radiation Therapy depends on the expertise of a team of professionals, which also includes Radiation Oncologists (M.D.s), physicists, dosimetrists, nurses and other support staff. Radiation Therapists, in their daily interactions with patients, provide the essential functions of treatment delivery, patient education and assessment, treatment planning and quality assurance of the treatment equipment. This field offers great satisfaction in working with patients during a difficult time in their life. It is more often uplifting and enjoyable than depressing. Because radiation therapists are never in the treatment room during radiation delivery, the field is also very safe.

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Work Activities/Environment
Most radiation therapists work in Radiation Oncology departments in hospitals or in free-standing Radiation Oncology Centers. Radiation treatments are generally scheduled during day shift hours Monday-Friday. Some nights and weekends may occasionally be required to handle emergency treatment situations.

Academic/Special Requirements
The preferred entry-level education for Radiation Therapists is a bachelorís degree. This involves a four-year program, including a 14 month internship. Students take general education and pre-requisite courses during their first two years (such as biology, chemistry, physics, anatomy and physiology, math, psychology and sociology). They then take professional courses both on campus and at the internship site. These include: Radiation Physics, Pathology, Biology of Cancer, Radiobiology, Patient Care, Imaging, Health Communications, Health Economics, Principles and Practice of Radiation Therapy, Treatment Planning and Quality Mangement. Clinical Practicum courses involve students in working alongside radiation therapy professionals with real patients in real treatment situations. Programs that offer an associate degree in radiation therapy or a certificate to radiographers who continue their education may be available in some areas of the country. Graduates are eligible to apply to the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists to take the certification exam. High school students who are interested in pursuing and education in radiation therapy are advised to get a good background in science and math courses during high school. Observation or job shadowing in a radiation therapy department can be very helpful for a student determine his/her level of interest in the field.

Educational Institutions
University of Wisconsin - La Crosse

Clinical Program Sites

    All Saintís Hospital, Racine
  • Columbia-St. Maryís, Milwaukee
  • Community Memorial Hospital, Menomonee Falls
  • Froedtert Hospital, Milwaukee
  • Gundersen Lutheran, LaCrosse
  • St. Josephís Hospital, Marshfield
  • St. Vincent Hospital, Green Bay
  • Sinai Samaritan Hospital, Milwaukee
  • Turville Bay MRI & Radiation Oncology Center, Madison
  • UW Cancer Center, Riverview Hospital, Wisconsin Rapids
  • Univ. of WI Hospital and Clinics, Madison
  • Veteranís Administration Hospital, Milwaukee
  • Waukesha Memorial Hospital, Waukesha
  • Wausau Hospital, Cancer Center, Wausau
  • West Allis Memorial, West Allis

Average $62,930

Professional Organizations
American Society for Radiation Oncology
8280 Willow Oaks Corporate Dr., Suite 500
Fairfax, VA, 22031
703/502-1550 or 800/962-7876

American Society of Radiologic Technologists
15000 Central Ave. SE
Albuquerque, NM, 87123-3909
505/298-4500 or 800/444-2778

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