Even though the cure for cancer might be far off, radiation treatment has been one of the most effective ways to kill cancer cells and keep it from spreading. As more and more patients are choosing to undergo radiation therapy to fight their cancer fights, therapists that know how to use and operate the machinery effectively are becoming more and more in demand. There are a number of specific radiation therapies used to fight cancer and it takes certified medical professional to perform them. If you are interested in the medical field and oncology in particular, becoming a radiation therapist can offer an incredibly fulfilling career. Here is how you can become a radiation therapist.
First, you have to get your associate’s degree. There are a number of routes you can take get to obtain your degree. An associate’s degree program at a trade college or community college that will teach you about the basics of human anatomy, the cellular biology of cancer and what some the cause are, and also how to use some of the most current radiation machines. You might work in a lab or in an actual hospital, but not with actual patients. Many of these programs take up to two years to complete. Before you enter a program, however, make sure that it is accredited with the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.
If you want to have a chance of making a higher salary, you can take a bachelor’s degree in radiology, which often takes four years opposed to two. However, your studies will be a lot more in depth and you will learn about biology, physiology and more. With a bachelor’s degree you have a much better chance of finding career opportunities at hospitals and private clinics. Moreover, not only will you learn about how some of the radiation therapies work, but also why they work how they are helping patients.
Next, once you have completed your program and obtained either your associate’s or bachelor’s degree, you can apply for your license. To obtain your license you will have to take a lengthy test and pay a small fee. The test will include treatment concepts, planning and delivery and safety precautions. While radiation therapy is safe, it can still pose health risk if the operator is not aware of what they are in the first place. The test might also include questions on oncology program planning and how to deal with patients or how to provide the best care.
Your last step is to look for career opportunities once you pass your exam. You can become the manager of an oncology treatment program that delivers radiation treatment or you could even work with research teams to find the most effective ways to use radiation treatment. Because there are such a variety of applications for radiation therapy and treating cancer, you will undoubtedly have a lot of options. It is important to weigh these options carefully so that you can find the best career path that works for you.