Best Radiation Therapy Schools + Career Information – 2020
A career as a radiation therapist allows you to look forward to making nearly $30 an hour soon after completing your education. While many other types of medical careers take years of training, you can be eligible to start working in this position within just two to four years. You will also feel good knowing that your chosen career path helps people treat tumors. Since high-quality training allows you the best chances of obtaining the position you desire, we have included the 5 best radiation therapy programs to help you plan your education.
What Education is Required to Become a Radiation Therapist?
The majority of employers prefer you to have an associate or bachelor’s degree to become a radiation therapist. These degree programs prepare you to perform highly complicated procedures using radiation equipment so that you are also eligible to take and pass a licensing exam.
The cost for an associate degree can vary from $7,490 to $41,340. A bachelor’s degree costs more with a range of $32,060 to $107,560. However, you also receive more intensive training with this degree program.
| Type|| Cost|
|Associate Degree||$7,490 - $41,340|
|Bachelor's Degree||$32,060 - $107,560|
Most people take about two years to finish their associate degree. A bachelor’s degree usually takes four years, but some programs offer options such as summer courses that allow you to finish faster.
| Type|| Length|
|Associate Degree||2 Years|
|Bachelor's Degree||4 Years|
Can I Pursue This Program Online?
The best radiation schools require you to spend some time on a traditional campus to learn how to perform the required duties for this career. This is because you will need to work directly with the actual types of equipment that you use to administer radiation to patients. You may be able to take certain general education courses online such as mathematics or introductory computer classes.
Technical schools, colleges, and universities offer radiation therapist training. Each of these schools has requirements in place that you must meet before you are eligible for admission to
• be 18 or over
• have a high school diploma or GED
• have a passing grade on entrance exams
The curriculum used in a radiation therapy education program combines medical science with technology to teach you how to perform your radiation therapist duties. As with other members of the healthcare field, you will take anatomy and physiology classes along with others that teach you medical terminology and the ethics involved with patient care. Your courses will also introduce you to computer science and research methodology. Radiation therapy programs also require you to practice what you learn in a clinical setting. In the beginning, most of your practice will involve mock set ups in the classroom. Later, you may move on to working with actual patients under the guidance of a licensed radiation therapist.
What are the 10 Best Radiation Therapy Programs Accredited by JRCERT in the Nation for 2020
Why Attending a Program Accredited by JRCERT Makes a Difference?
The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology assesses educational programs to make sure that they adhere to high standards that help prepare graduates for careers in the medical field. You will need to attend an educational program that holds this credential to be eligible to apply for certification and licensing as a radiation therapist.
Certification and Licensure Requirements to Work as a Radiation Therapist
Currently, the majority of states require you to be licensed or certified to practice as a radiation therapist. However, the requirements can vary, and the American Society of Radiologic Technologists
provides information regarding the stipulations that each state has in place. To become licensed or obtain a permit, you will need to follow the application process for that specific state. This typically involves providing proof of your completion of an accredited degree program along with a copy of your ARRT certification or exam results.
You can get certified as a radiation therapist by seeking certification through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Their certification process
requires you to complete three separate requirements. These include completing an associate degree or higher. You will also need to pass an ethics review that makes sure that you do not have a history of unethical violations such as fraud or felony convictions that arouses concern about your professional conduct. Finally, you will need to complete an exam that is computer-based and contains multiple choice questions that pertain to your duties as a radiation therapist.
Where Do Radiation Therapists Work?
Hospitals; State, Local, and Private:
Radiation therapists work in hospitals where they help to administer treatments for cancer.
Offices of Physicians:
A physician may offer certain types of radiation therapy in their clinics that require the expertise of a certified radiation therapist.
Some radiation therapists are self-employed and work with other members of the medical field on a contracted or one-time basis.
Outpatient Care Centers:
Many outpatient centers offer treatment for cancer that allows patients to receive radiation therapy and return home the same day.
| Industry || Employment |
| Number|| Percent|
|Hospitals; State, Local, and Private||11,686||64|
|Offices of Physicians||3,835||21|
|Outpatient Care Centers||913||5|
Work Environment & Conditions
As a radiation therapist, you can expect to work with patients who are undergoing medical treatments that are typically designed to prevent or eliminate cancerous tumors. Therefore, you can anticipate spending a portion of your appointments providing information to people who may be new to this type of treatment. You will also need to identify the precise area to be treated and calibrate the machinery to apply the correct treatment. This type of work can be stressful because it requires strict attention to every detail. However, radiation therapists also find it rewarding to know that they are helping patients through a challenging time. Since the position does carry the risk of accidental radiation exposure, you will be trained in how to properly protect yourself and patients from being in harm’s way.
What Starting Salary Can I Expect as a Radiation Therapist?
A radiation therapist salary starts at $29.77 and works out to approximately $61,930 a year. This amount is over four times the current federal minimum wage, and it allows you to enter the profession at a high starting salary that increases over time.
| Type|| Salary|
| Monthly||$5,160 |
| Annual||$61,930 |
| (Source: In-House Research)|
How Much Will My Salary Grow with Experience?
Your experience as a radiation therapist pays off over the course of twenty years. Your high starting salary is just the beginning since you can expect your salary to increase to around $82,330 after five years. At the twenty-year mark, a salary of $124,320 puts you in the same earning range as others who make six-figures a year. Being able to make a comfortable living while also knowing that you help others is rewarding, and you can know that your experience helps you to provide better care to each patient that enters your therapy room.
| Level of Experience|| Hourly|| Monthly|| Annual|
| 1-4 years||$32.45 ||$5,620 ||$67,490 |
| 5-9 years||$39.58 ||$6,860 ||$82,330 |
| 10-19 years||$49.22 ||$8,530 ||$102,380 |
| 20 years or more||$59.77 ||$10,360 ||$124,320 |
| (Source: BLS)|
How Many Job Openings are there for Radiation Therapy Graduates?
| New|| Replacement|| Annual Job Openings (New + Replacement)|
| (Source: careeronestop)|
10 Year Employment Outlook
You need to know that the educational training that you receive will allow you to find work in a career that flourishes, and radiation therapists will continue to be in high demand over the next ten years. Right now, it is anticipated that the need for employees in this field will increase by 12.57 percent. This is likely due to the overall growth in the healthcare industry. New technology has made it possible to detect cancerous tumors earlier so that more people are diagnosed while they are still eligible for radiation therapy. The aging population also contributes to the higher rate of growth in this field since they are at greater risk of needing cancer treatment. You can also expect to see this growth rise as more communities establish new medical facilities that provide radiation therapy services.
| Employment || Employment Growth, 2016-26 |
| 2016|| 2026|| Number|| Percent|
State Wise Employment, Job Openings & Salary Breakdown
| State|| Employment|| Annual Job Openings (New + Replacement)|| Annual Average Salary|
| Alabama|| 450|| 20|| $86,020|
| Arizona|| 320|| 40|| $84,990|
| Arkansas|| 250|| 30|| $70,940|
| California|| 1,060|| 70|| $114,280|
| Colorado|| 210|| 20|| $92,670|
| Connecticut|| 150|| 10|| $105,570|
| Delaware|| 50|| 10|| $96,610|
| District of Columbia|| 130|| 10|| $78,610|
| Florida|| 1,010|| 100|| $86,420|
| Georgia|| 620|| 40|| $86,510|
| Idaho|| 50|| 10|| $86,830|
| Illinois|| 670|| 40|| $86,200|
| Indiana|| 430|| 30|| $82,920|
| Iowa|| 170|| 10|| $78,260|
| Kansas|| N/A|| 10|| $66,310|
| Kentucky|| 230|| 10|| $83,950|
| Louisiana|| 230|| 20|| $69,340|
| Maine|| 60|| 0|| $87,000|
| Maryland|| 370|| 10|| $89,120|
| Massachusetts|| 480|| 40|| $93,540|
| Michigan|| 480|| 30|| $79,720|
| Minnesota|| 330|| 20|| $83,270|
| Mississippi|| 190|| 10|| $83,130|
| Missouri|| 430|| 20|| $75,340|
| Montana|| 60|| 10|| $81,580|
| Nebraska|| 140|| 10|| $83,260|
| Nevada|| 60|| 10|| $87,940|
| New Hampshire|| 120|| 10|| $92,770|
| New Jersey|| 420|| 30|| $107,850|
| New Mexico|| 50|| 0|| $89,230|
| New York|| 1,150|| 140|| $99,710|
| North Carolina|| 550|| 40|| $76,000|
| Ohio|| 550|| 40|| $81,420|
| Oklahoma|| 310|| 30|| $75,080|
| Oregon|| 170|| 20|| $105,970|
| Pennsylvania|| 720|| 40|| $82,660|
| Rhode Island|| N/A|| N/A|| $94,110|
| South Carolina|| 250|| 10|| $88,850|
| South Dakota|| 40|| 0|| $83,790|
| Tennessee|| 440|| 40|| $73,490|
| Texas|| 2,200|| 110|| $84,460|
| Utah|| 90|| 10|| $85,760|
| Vermont|| N/A|| 0|| $91,440|
| Virginia|| 600|| 30|| $81,550|
| Washington|| 410|| 40|| $101,830|
| West Virginia|| N/A|| 10|| $61,230|
| Wisconsin|| 910|| 20|| $75,850|
|(Source: BLS & careeronestop)|
Important Organizations & Associations
This association offers members benefits such as access to reputable journals that allow you to stay up-to-date on information that pertains to your chosen career.
Most people’s first contact with this organization occurs when they begin to look for accredited programs and are ready to obtain certification. You can also benefit from working with this organization to identify continuing education courses that improve your skills.
You can join this organization to earn continuing education credits and begin to develop your career path.
Radiation therapists can use this organization as a resource that provides information on the latest news in their field. The organization also offers annual meetings and additional networking opportunities that help you connect with other professionals.