RADIATION THERAPISTS – Tyrese employers generally prefer radiation therapists with an associate's degree or bachelor's degree in radiation therapy. A bachelor's or associate's degree in radiography can also lead to a radiation therapist job if that person goes on to complete a radiation therapy certificate program in addition to their degree. Radiation therapy programs prepare graduates to maintain and operate radiological equipment, as well as treat and assess cancer patients. Potential courses in these degree programs include anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, radiation therapy physics, principles of oncology, radiologic patient care, dose calculations, radiation biology, radiation protection and dosimetry. Students also commonly receive hands-on experience working at an internship with a hospital radiation therapy department, where they are equipped with patient psychology, patient care, emergency procedures and oncology skills.
Working with radiologists and oncologists, radiation therapists treat cancer patients using linear accelerators to target cancer cells with high-energy x-rays. Radiation therapists must also work with patients to explain treatment plans and answer any questions, which can be an emotional task at times. They also maintain detailed records of treatments, including radiation dosages, treatment areas and patient reactions. Radiation therapists are employed primarily in hospitals. Additional employment settings may include medical and diagnostic laboratories, doctor's offices and cancer treatment centers.