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Degree Overview: Associate of Science (A.S.) Degree in Radiation Therapy

Majors Overview March 3, 2014

Those interested in a career in radiation therapy should look into an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree program. These programs will feature laboratory sessions, clinical practice, and classroom instruction. Certification or licensure may be required for a job in radiation therapy.

A.S. Programs in Radiation Therapy

Students enrolled in Associate degree programs are trained to work within cancer treatment teams, operating equipment and carrying out tests. Students are taught about interacting with patients, interpreting and administering treatments, applying principles of radiation safety, analyzing equipment and demonstrate professional attitudes. Students should ensure that the program they want to enroll in meets professional standards as approved by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).

Radiation therapy associate programs comprises clinical rotations devised to give students a taste of real-world experience within healthcare settings, working with radiologic technology on the watch of experienced medical professionals. Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma. Schools offer radiotherapy programs in both Associate of Science and Associate of Arts formats.

Coursework

Coursework in a radiation therapy program includes courses in radiation science and procedures. A combination of classroom lectures and labs studies is used in imparting hands-on training. Students are expected to complete general education classes such as psychology and communications. Radiation physics and principles of oncology are also taught alongside other subject areas such as:

•Radiologic equipment operation
•Treatment planning
•Pathology
•Dose calculations
•Sectional anatomy

Career Choices

The expected growth of the healthcare field is projected to increase employment opportunities for radiation therapists (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)). These professionals can seek work in outpatient centers, physicians’ offices and hospitals. They may also choose from other job titles such as:

•Computed tomography simulation therapist
•Staff radiation therapist
•Radiation therapy technologist

Continuing Education Choices

States may require radiation therapists to obtain licensure and certification. In 2009, licensure was mandatory in 33 states (BLS), often achieved through the passage of the ARRT certification exam. Eligibility to take this exam depends on the meeting of educational and ethical standards. Certification can be maintained through meeting continuing education and other renewal standards. Students may also opt for continued education in the field by earning a bachelor’s degree in radiation therapy.

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