Radiation Therapy Degree Programs

To learn to administer radiation to patients as part of a cancer treatment plan, you could enroll in a certificate, associate's or bachelor's degree program in radiation therapy. Find out what you'd learn in these programs, review the other requirements for becoming certified, and check the career outlook and typical earnings for radiation therapists. Schools offering Diagnostic Medical Sonography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Will I Learn in a Radiation Therapy Program?

A degree in radiation therapy will teach you the methods for locating tumors, treatment of cancer and tracking progress through treatment. Students also learn how to operate X-ray machines, linear accelerators and computed tomography. Patient communication skills may also be covered.

Key ConceptsLocate tumors, treat and track progress of cancer; operate radiation therapy equipment
Program OptionsCertificates, associate's degrees, and bachelor's degrees; some online courses available
Certification RequirementsPrograms prepare students for certification through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists or their respective states
Median Salary (2018)$82,330* (for radiation therapists)
Job Outlook (2016-26)13%* (for all radiation therapists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does This Program Involve?

There are certificate, associate's degree and bachelor's degree programs available in this field. Courses will provide training on radiation therapy equipment, the human body, possible adverse reactions, working with patients and how to work with other members of an oncology team. You will take courses in oncology, radiation therapy physics, anatomy, physiology, patient care, pathology, mathematics, treatment procedures and biology. All programs require you to participate in clinical practice for hands-on experience. You can find some online courses for your program, but your clinical and equipment training must be completed in person.

Courses will prepare you for the American Registry of Radiologic Technologist (AART) exam or any required state exams. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the requirements to take the AART include following ethical guidelines, graduating from an accredited program and passing the exam (www.bls.gov). After being certified, you must stay current on developments in your field and participate in continuing education requirements.

How is My Career Outlook?

With an education in radiation therapy, you will be eligible for a career as a computed tomography simulation therapist, radiation therapist, radiation therapy technologist and staff radiation therapist. The BLS states that employment for radiation therapists will increase 13% between 2016 and 2026. An increase in positions will be caused by a population growth of older patients and equipment becoming more effective and less expensive. As of May 2018, the BLS estimates that the mean salary for radiation therapists is $86,730 per year.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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