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
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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.