Radiation therapists use x-rays, gamma rays, or charged particles beamed at cancerous cells or inject radioisotopes internally near cancerous tumors as a means of treatment. Schools teaching this form of education usually offer programs at the certificate, associate's, and bachelor's levels.
10 Schools with Radiation Therapy Programs
Many schools offer degrees and certificates in radiation therapy. These are ten of the best colleges and universities in the country with such programs, with tuition information from the 2015-2016 school year.
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)*|
|College of Southern Nevada||Henderson, NV||4-year, Public||Associate's degree||$2,805 for in-state/$9,450 for out-of-state|
|Loma Linda University||Loma Linda, CA||4-year, Private||Bachelor's degree||$32,572|
|Galveston College||Galveston, TX||2-year, Public||Certificate program, Associate's degree||$2,380 for in-state/$4,270 for out-of-state|
|Bellevue College||Bellevue, WA||4-year, Public||Associate's degree||$3,619 for in-state/$8,957 for out-of-state|
|University of Michigan - Flint||Flint, MI||4-year, Public||Bachelor's degree||$9,936 for in-state/$19,392 for out-of-state|
|Texas State University||San Marcos, TX||4-year, Public||Bachelor's degree||$9,348 for in-state/$20,268 for out-of-state|
|Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana||Indianapolis, IN||2-year, Public||Associate's degree||$4,115 for in-state/$7,992 for out-of-state|
|Manhattan College||Riverdale, NY||4-year, Private||Bachelor's degree||$38,580|
|Broward College||Fort Lauderdale, FL||4-year, Public||Certificate program, Associate's degree||$2,753 for in-state/$8,875 for out-of-state|
|Pitt Community College||Winterville, NC||2-year, Public||Diploma program||$2,317 for in-state/$8,376 for out-of-state|
Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics
School Selection Criteria
Radiation therapy education is usually offered at the undergraduate level. Consider the following when looking for radiation therapy schools:
- Determining what level of credential is desired is the first step to choosing a radiation therapy program.
- Qualified students from accredited programs may sit for professional American Registry of Radiologic Technologists exam, so consider the accreditation status of schools when making your decisions. To obtain a license, which is required in most states to practice as a radiation therapist, the ARRT exam must be taken and passed.
Certificate in Radiation Therapy
Certificate in Radiation Therapy programs prepare students for radiation therapist careers, including for national certification. The program typically takes a little more than a year and may be intended for diagnostic radiographers who want to specialize.
Prerequisite coursework may include or require radiation protection, radiation physics, psychology, anatomy, and physiology. Other programs require applicants to be an AART-registered radiologic technologist or a registered nurse (RN). Courses generally focus on all aspects of radiation therapy in theory and practice, radiation oncology, ethics, and patient care. Students may need to complete an observation requirement. Distance learning may be possible.
Associate's Degree in Radiation Therapy
In addition to preparing for the ARRT exam and certification, associate's degree students study general education curricula. Programs may also offer more clinical experience practicing radiation therapy than a certificate program. Classes generally include psychosocial patient care, sectional anatomy, dosimetry, advanced treatment techniques, and treatment planning.
Bachelor's Degree in Radiation Therapy
Bachelor of Science in Radiation Therapy programs may require two years worth of general education requirements in the liberal arts, such as English, philosophy, mathematics, and history, although some schools will consider these as transfer credits. Application to the program in a student's junior year may be required. Students study the healthcare system, medical terminology, biology, and physics before progressing on to radiation therapy-specific courses in years three and four. Coursework typically includes radiation oncology, patient care, dosimetry, and professional development.
To become a radiation therapist, students will be required to earn a diploma, certificate, associate's or bachelor's degree in the field. These programs cover a wide variety of techniques valuable in the workplace, from specific radiologic principles and skills to more general science courses, along with hands-on work.