Radiation Therapy Associate's Degree. Frequently asked Questions about work in Radiation Therapy: degree, college, salary.

Author: Robert Downeys Jr., Doctor of Medical Sciences, West Coast Ultrasound Institute, Beverly Hills, CA, member of National Medical Association

To date, approximately half of cancer patients have been treated with radiotherapy / radiotherapy at any stage of the disease (National Cancer Isntitute, 2018). In Finland, virtually all women who have undergone surgical treatment of breast cancer are prescribed follow-up radiation therapy. The development of radiotherapy technologies is becoming the second most important place after surgery in the treatment of oncology. Radiation therapy can be performed as an independent treatment, or as part of a comprehensive treatment. Modern technologies for calculating and performing radiation therapy significantly reduce the side effects of irradiation.

Today we speak about Radiation Therapy Associate's Degree with Robert Downeys Jr., Doctor of Medical Sciences, West Coast Ultrasound Institute, Beverly Hills, CA, he working in Radiation Therapy more than 30 years and is a recognized expert in this field.

An associate's degree in radiation therapy may be awarded as an Associate of Science or an Associate of Applied Science in Radiation Therapy.  An associate's degree program can take 1-2 years, including summers, to complete. Required internships and clinical training give students hands-on experience.

Radiation Therapist at work
Radiation Therapist at work

How many years does it take to become a radiation therapist?

Radiation therapy programs are offered at many colleges in the way of certificate, associate's degree and bachelor's degree programs. The length of the program varies by level of study. Certificate programs take a year, while associate's degree programs require two years of study.

Is radiation therapist in demand?

Employment of radiation therapists is projected to grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. ... Continued advancements in the detection of cancer and the development of more sophisticated treatment techniques may also lead to greater demand for radiation therapy.

How much money does a radiation therapist make a year?

How Much Does a Radiation Therapist Make? Radiation therapists made a median salary of $80,160 in 2018. The highest-paid made more than $123,710, while the lowest-paid earned $53,680.

How long do you have to go to college to become a radiation therapist?

Most radiation therapists begin their career training by completing an associate's (2 years) or bachelor's (4 years) degree program in radiation therapy. Employers require an associate's degree in radiation therapy, but may prefer those with a bachelor's degree.

Radiation therapists made a median salary of $80,160 in 2018
Radiation therapists made a median salary of $80,160 in 2018

Do Radiation therapists get cancer?

Does radiation therapy cause cancer? It has long been known that radiation therapy can slightly raise the risk of getting another cancer. It's one of the possible side effects of treatment that doctors have to think about when they weigh the benefits and risks of each treatment.

Is a radiation therapist a doctor?

If your cancer can be treated with radiation, you will be referred to a radiation oncologist — a doctor who specializes in treating patients with radiation therapy. Your radiation oncologist will work with your primary doctor and other cancer specialists, such as surgeons and medical oncologists, to oversee your care.

What is the average starting salary for a radiation therapist?

The median annual Radiation Therapy Technologist (ARRT) salary is $80,447, as of May 30, 2018, with a range usually between $72,707-$89,882, however this can vary widely depending on a variety of factors.

What is the average salary of a radiation oncologist?

One exception is the annual salary survey performed by the Medical Group Management Association. In its 2011 survey, the MGMA reported an average salary of $477,807 per year for radiation oncologists. By contrast, medical staffing agency Jackson & Coker reports an average salary of $367,978 for oncologists as a group.

Radiation therapy is safe and effective
Radiation therapy is safe and effective

Is radiation therapy safe?

Is Radiation Therapy Safe. Some patients worry about the safety of radiation therapyRadiation has been used successfully to treat patients for more than 100 years. In that time, many advances have been made to ensure that radiation therapy is safe and effective.

What do you do as a radiation therapist?

Most radiation therapy involves machines called linear accelerators. These machines direct high-energy x-rays at specific cancer cells in a patient's body, shrinking or removing them. Radiation therapists are part of the oncology team that treat patients with cancer.

Is radiation cancer treatment painful?

Radiation therapy isn't painful, but some of the side effects it causes can be. For instance, if you are getting radiation to the head and neck area, you might have a sore throat, trouble swallowing, or mouth sores. These can hurt. ... Pain is not part of cancer treatment.

Do Radiation therapists work weekends?

Most radiation therapists work regular hours on a full-time basis. Some work evenings and weekends in facilities offering treatment during those times. Work location: Most radiation therapists work in hospitals cancer centers and other facilities where cancer is treated.

What does a radiation therapist make?

Radiation Therapists. The median annual wage for radiation therapists was $80,570 in May 2018. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $55,530, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $123,020.

What is the job description of a radiation therapist?

Machines called linear accelerators are used to deliver radiation therapy. These machines direct high-energy x rays at specific cancer cells in a patient's body, shrinking or removing them. Radiation therapists are part of the oncology team that treats patients with cancer.

How do you become a radiation therapist?

Most radiation therapists complete programs that lead to an associate's degree or bachelor's degree in radiation therapyRadiation therapists must be licensed or certified in most states. Requirements vary by state, but often include passing a national certification exam.

How long does it take to become a radiation oncologist?

All oncology doctors must complete an undergraduate degree program, four years of medical school and a residency or fellowship program that usually lasts two to four years, depending on the oncology specialty. Specialty areas include medical oncology, pediatric oncology, radiation oncology, or gynecological oncology.

How do you become a radiation oncologist?

Well, below is a list of steps of what it takes to become a cancer doctor:

  1. Earn Your Bachelor's Degree. 
  2. Take the Medical College Admissions Test. 
  3. Attend Medical School and Earn Your MD or DO Degree. 
  4. Complete Residency. 
  5. Obtain Proper License and Certification.

 

What does a radiology technician do?

Radiologic technologists are the medical personnel who perform diagnostic imaging examinations and administer radiation therapy treatments. They are educated in anatomy, patient positioning, examination techniques, equipment protocols, radiation safety, radiation protection and basic patient care.

What is the success rate of radiation therapy?

Men with localised prostate cancer who are treated with external-beam radiation therapy have a cure rate of 95.5% for intermediate-risk prostate cancer and 91.3% for high-risk prostate cancer. The 5-year survival rate using this treatment is 98.8% overall.

What are the most common side effects of radiation therapy?

But if radiation therapy is aimed at a part of the body that grows hair, such as the scalp, a person may have hair loss.

  • Skin problems. Some people who receive radiation therapy experience dryness, itching, blistering, or peeling. 
  • Fatigue. 
  • Long-term side effects. 
  • Head and neck. 
  • Chest. 
  • Stomach and abdomen. 
  • Pelvis.

 

Is radiation therapy every day?

The full dose of radiation is needed to get rid of cancer cells remaining after surgery. Radiation therapy is most effective when given continuously. In the past, it was given every day, 5 days a week, for 5 to 7 weeks.

Each session is quick and painless, lasting about 15 minutes
Each session of radiation therapy is quick and painless, lasting about 15 minutes

How long is a session of radiation therapy?

External-beam radiation therapy delivers radiation from a machine outside the body. Each session is quick and painless, lasting about 15 minutes. Typically, patients have treatment sessions 5 times per week (Monday through Friday). This schedule continues for 3 to 9 weeks.

Can radiation cure cancer?

At high doses, radiation therapy kills cancer cells or slows their growth by damaging their DNA. Cancer cells whose DNA is damaged beyond repair stop dividing or die. Radiation therapy does not kill cancer cells right away.

How long do you have to go to school to become a radiation therapist?

Complete Training. Radiation therapy programs are offered at many colleges in the way of certificate, associate's degree and bachelor's degree programs. The length of the program varies by level of study. Certificate programs take a year, while associate's degree programs require two years of study.

What is the starting salary for an oncologist?

In the field of radiation therapy, the median annual starting salary for experienced physicians in 2016 was $473,875. According to the report, the median starting salary for an experienced hematologist/medical oncologist is $390,000, while new physicians earned a median annual salary of $350,002.

Can you get cancer from being a radiation therapist?

Does radiation therapy cause cancer? It has long been known that radiation therapy can slightly raise the risk of getting another cancer. It's one of the possible side effects of treatment that doctors have to think about when they weigh the benefits and risks of each treatment.

References:

[1] Radiation Therapy for Cancer - National Cancer Institute https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/types/radiation-therapy

[2] Radiation therapy facilities in the United States. - NCBI - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17145535

[3] Department of Radiation Oncology - UNC School of Medicine - https://www.med.unc.edu/radonc