Schools for an Aspiring Radiation Dosimetrist: How to Choose

Aspiring medical dosimetrists can pursue either an associate or bachelor's degree to be certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Certificate and master's degree programs are also available in radiation dosimetry. Programs can be found at community colleges, technical schools and 4-year colleges and universities.

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Radiation dosimetrists, also known as medical dosimetrists, are individuals who assess the correct dosage of radiation to be used in a cancer patient's treatment. Those who wish to become certified in the field must complete a formal education program accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT), the only agency recognized by the U.S. for accreditation of formal education in radiography (www.jrcert.org).

10 Schools with Dosimetry Programs

At these schools, students can learn about radiation dosimetry:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered* Tuition (2015-2016)**
Suffolk University Boston, MA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Certificate $33,934
University of Wisconsin - La Crosse La Crosse, WI 4-year, Public Master's $8,162 in-state, $17,750 out-of-state
SUNY at Stony Brook University Stony Brook, NY 4-year, Public Certificate $10,870 in-state, $22,210 out-of-state
Southern Illinois University - Carbondale Carbondale, IL 4-year, Public Master's $10,022 in-state, $25,056 out-of-state
University of Maryland Baltimore, MD 4-year, Public Certificate $12,944 in-state, $28,328 out-of-state
Indiana University School of Medicine Bloomington, IN 4-year, Public Certificate $8,442 in-state, $26,812 out-of-state
Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia, PA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's $35,264
University of Oklahoma - Health Sciences Center Oklahoma City, OK 4-year, Public Master's $4,577 in-state, $17,758 out-of-state
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio San Antonio, TX 4-year, Public Bachelor's $5,242 in-state, $16,354 out-of-state
Bellevue College Bellevue, WA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Certificate $3,619 in-state, $8,957 out-of-state

Sources: *School websites, **National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Students interested in radiation dosimetrist programs may want to keep these considerations in mind:

  • To qualify for Medical Dosimetrist Certification Board (MDCB) certification, graduates of associate and bachelor's degree programs must complete 24-36 months of practical experience, as well as continuing education hours; graduates of certificate or master's degree programs must only complete six months of work experience.
  • Students should make sure they meet the minimum admissions requirements for the program they are applying to. For instance, bachelor's degrees in radiation therapy, or science-based degrees such as biology, are necessary in order to apply for master's degree programs. Aspiring master's degree students must also have an understanding of undergraduate calculus since medical dosimetry involves complex mathematics.
  • Students may want to look into accelerated degree opportunities. For example, reduced curriculum master's degree options may be available to students already certified as medical dosimetrists.
  • Working radiologic technologists and prospective students with other scheduling constraints may want to look into the online availability of programs and courses.

Associate Degree in Radiation Therapy

Associate degree programs in radiation therapy are designed to prepare students to become practicing radiation therapists or serve as a prerequisite for entering into medical dosimetry certificate programs. Clinical experiences are required.

Bachelor's Degree in Radiation Therapy

Bachelor's degree programs in radiation therapy include more extensive general education requirements than associate degrees do. This degree program prepares students for certificates and master's degrees in medical dosimetry. Clinical practicums are included in the program.

Certificate for Medical Dosimetrists

Certificate programs for aspiring radiation dosimetrists may be completed in one year over two or three semesters. Clinical experiences are typically mandatory. Applicants into a certificate program must hold an associate or bachelor's degree, as well as ARRT certification. Graduates of such programs, after gaining six months of work experience, are qualified to sit for the medical dosimetry certification exam.

Master's Degree for Medical Dosimetrists

Master's degree programs can typically be completed in two years. They are designed to prepare students to gain experience as medical dosimetrists and become certified through the MDCB. Assignments, reports and labs are utilized to train students in medical imaging, dosage calculations and radiation protection.Clinical experiences in planning and treatments for radiation oncology are included.

Whether pursuing a traditional on-campus program or an online or accelerated certificate or degree program, students can learn about medical dosimetry through a variety of programs at schools across the country.

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