How to Become a Radiation Tech

How to Become a Radiation Tech. If you want to become a radiation tech, you will need to have at least an associates degree in health science or a related field.

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Introduction

Radiation therapy is a vital and ever-evolving field of cancer treatment. As a radiation therapist, you would be responsible for operating sophisticated machinery to deliver high doses of radiation to cancerous cells, with the goal of destroying the cancer while sparing as much healthy tissue as possible.

If you’re interested in becoming a radiation therapist, you’ll need to have at least an associate’s degree in radiation therapy or a related field. Many schools offer bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in radiation therapy, which can lead to higher-paying jobs and more opportunities for advancement. After completing your educational requirements, you will need to obtain a state license or certification before you can begin practicing. Read on to learn more about how to become a radiation therapist.

What is Radiation Therapy?

Radiation therapy is the careful use of radiation to treat cancer and other diseases. Radiation therapy can be used to cure cancer, to relieve symptoms, or to control the disease. When radiation therapy is used to control the disease, it is called palliative radiation therapy.

Radiation therapy may be the only treatment you need. Or you may receive radiation therapy along with other treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy.

Radiation therapy has four basic types: external beam radiation therapy (EBRT), which delivers radiation from a machine outside the body; internal radiotherapy (IRT), which places radioactive material directly inside your body; systemic radiotherapy (SRT), which gives you radioactive drugs that circulate throughout your body; and brachytherapy (BT), which places radioactive material directly into or near a tumor.

External Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT)
EBRT uses a machine called a linear accelerator (LINAC) to direct high-energy x-rays at your cancer. The x-rays are like those used in medical x-rays, but are more powerful and can better target your cancer cells. The LINAC machine moves around you as you lie on a table, so that the x-rays can be aimed accurately at the tumor from many angles. This type of EBRT is called three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT).

External beam radiation therapy can also be given using protons rather than x-rays. Proton beam radiation therapy delivers a high dose of radiation directly to the tumor while sparing surrounding healthy tissue. This type of EBRT requires special equipment that is not available at all hospitals.

Internal Radiation Therapy (IRT)
Internal radiotherapy involves placing radioactive material directly inside your body in or near the cancer cells. The most common type of IRT is brachytherapy (BT). BT can be temporary or permanent, depending on how long you need to receive treatment and what type of BT you have.
With temporary BT, also called low-dose rate (LDR) BT or interstitial BT, thin tubes are placed into your body through small incisions in your skin. The tubes stay in place for a period of time (usually 1–7 days) while you receive treatment. After treatment is completed, the tubes are removed and there is no permanent radioactivity left in your body.
Permanent BT, also called high-dose rate (HDR) BT or intracavitary BT, involves placing radioactive material into hollow spaces inside your body next to the cancer cells – most often in the cervix or endometrium. A temporary wires will remain in place after treatment so that HDR BT can be given again if needed without having to do another surgery to place new wires

Who is a Radiation Therapist?

Radiation therapists are allied health professionals who work under the direct supervision of radiation oncologists. They use external beam radiation therapy to treat cancerous tumors and other diseases.

Radiation therapists must be able to maintain a high level of accuracy while working with sensitive equipment. They must also be able to comfort and reassure patients who may be anxious about their treatment.

most states, radiation therapists must be licensed by the state in which they practice. Requirements for licensure vary by state but generally include completing an accredited radiation therapy program and passing a state-administered exam.

What Does a Radiation Therapist Do?

Radiation therapists use linear accelerators and other machines to target cancerous cells with high-energy radiation. They work with oncologists to develop treatment plans, calculate doses and maintain records of treatments. Most radiation therapists work in hospitals, although some may work in private clinics. Some states allow radiation therapists to administer treatments without the supervision of a physician.

The job outlook for radiation therapists is good. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of radiation therapists will grow by 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. An aging population and an increase in cancer diagnoses are expected to drive demand for radiation therapy.

What are the Educational Requirements to Become a Radiation Therapist?

In order to become a radiation therapist, you must first complete an accredited educational program. These programs typically last between two and four years, and lead to an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in radiation therapy. While completing your degree, you will take courses in mathematics, anatomy, physiology, chemistry, physics, and biology. You will also complete clinical rotations in order to gain hands-on experience in the field.

After completing an accredited program, you must then obtain certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). In order to be eligible for certification, you must first pass an exam. Once you are certified, you must complete continuing education credits on a regular basis in order to maintain your certification.

What are the Steps to Becoming a Radiation Therapist?

If you want to become a radiation therapist, you will need to complete an accredited certification or associate degree program in radiation therapy. You may be able to find some certificate and degree programs that can be completed in as little as two years, but most will take closer to four years to complete. One of the benefits of attending an accredited program is that it will make it easier for you to become licensed or certified in your state, which is often required for employment. In addition to completing a radiation therapy program, most states also require radiation therapists to pass a state exam before they can begin working.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Radiation Therapist?

The radiation therapist field is becoming increasingly popular, and for good reason. It’s a stable, high-paying career with great job security. And, perhaps best of all, it’s a career that allows you to directly help people.

If you’re thinking about becoming a radiation therapist, you’re probably wondering how long it will take to complete the training and start working. The answer depends on a few factors, including your previous education and experience.

For most people, it will take between 2 and 4 years to become a radiation therapist. If you already have a bachelor’s degree in another field, you may be able to complete the training in as little as 2 years. If you need to complete an undergraduate degree first, it will take 4 years.

Radiation therapy programs are offered at both the undergraduate and graduate level. If you need to complete an undergraduate degree first, you can do so at a community college or university. Once you have your degree, you’ll then need to apply to a radiation therapy program at a hospital or medical center.

The length of the program will vary depending on the school, but most programs can be completed in 2 years or less. After completing the program, you’ll need to take an exam administered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technicians (ARRT) to become certified. Once you’ve passed the exam, you’ll be able to start working as a radiation therapist.

What is the job outlook for Radiation Therapists?

Radiation therapists treat cancer and other diseases in patients by administering radiation treatments. The radiation treatments may be given as part of a larger course of treatment that includes surgery and/or chemotherapy, or as the primary treatment for some cancers. Radiation therapists work in hospitals, clinics, and private practices, often under the supervision of oncologists and other physicians.

The job outlook for radiation therapists is very good. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment in this field will grow much faster than the average for all occupations between 2016 and 2026, due in large part to an aging population and advances in medical technology that enable more precise targeting of tumors with radiation therapy.

What are the Pros and Cons of Being a Radiation Therapist?

Becoming a radiation therapist requires completing an accredited program and obtaining a license, but it also offers many rewards. If you are considering this career, it is important to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision.

The Pros of Being a Radiation Therapist
-A Rewarding Career: Helping others fight cancer is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a radiation therapist. Knowing that you are playing a role in helping someone overcome a potentially deadly disease can be very fulfilling.

-Good Job Prospects: The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of radiation therapists will grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is due in part to an aging population and advances in technology, which allow for more precise treatments.

-Competitive Salaries: Radiation therapists earn competitive salaries, with the median annual wage for this occupation was $80,570 in May 2017. In addition, many employers offer benefits such as health insurance and retirement plans.

The Cons of Being a Radiation Therapist
-Long Hours: Many radiation therapists work full time, and some may need to work evenings or weekends to accommodate patients’ schedules. In addition, those who work in hospitals may need to be on call occasionally.

-Stressful Work Environment: Dealing with cancer patients can be emotionally draining, and some procedures can be physically demanding. Radiation therapists must be able to handle the stress of the job and maintain a positive attitude.

-Risk of Exposure to Radiation: Although steps are taken to minimize exposure, radiation therapists are exposed to low levels of ionizing radiation while on the job. This exposure carries with it a small risk of developing cancer or other health problems later in life.

Conclusion

If you want to become a radiation tech, you will need to complete an accredited radiology program and earn a license or certification in your state. radiation therapists must be able to handle stress, have good communication skills, and be able to work well with others. With the right training and dedication, you can become a radiation tech and help patients receive the treatment they need.

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