In this article, our focus will be on how long to become a radiation therapist.
If you’re planning to pursue a career in this area, you’ll be interested in learning about the time spent studying.
Here, we provide you with all the relevant information you seek. With that, you get to know exactly what you’re going into.
How Long Does it Take to Be a Radiation Therapist?
Every profession requires time commitment in training. This may last from a few months to several years. The time The work primarily determines the time spent studying determined by whether you wish to earn an advanced degree or not.
About Radiation Therapists
This is a medical field where professionals are trained to specialize in administering radiation treatments.
Such treatments are provided to cancer patients and those with other ailments. Radiation therapists closely work with other professionals like radiation oncologists and medical physicists.
You’re trained to handle certain problems while taking up specific roles as a radiation therapist. Such functions include checking computer programs to ensure radiation equipment emits the correct radiation dose.
Also, you’ll need to explain treatment plans to patients and their families while answering questions.
What more? As a radiation therapist, you’ll need to constantly check radiation equipment to guarantee safe use while following all safety procedures to limit overexposure to radiation.
All the knowledge you get will be obtained from your training, where we’re more interested.
Length of Training to Become a Radiation Therapist
Your journey to becoming a full-fledged radiation therapist begins by completing an associate or bachelor’s degree program.
This is followed by obtaining a license, getting certified, and gaining work experience. You’ll also need to maintain your certification to continue practicing.
When it comes to time spent studying for a radiation therapist degree, it typically takes around two years to complete an associate’s degree.
For a bachelor’s degree, you’ll have to spend twice the time for such a degree. In other words, it takes around four years to earn a bachelor’s degree in radiation therapy.
Technically, you’ll only require a 12-month certificate program in radiation therapy to practice.
While that is true, most employers will choose persons with at least an associate’s degree, which takes around two years to complete.
It’s pretty common these days to find an increasing number of people going for a bachelor’s of science in radiation therapy which requires putting in 4 years of study.
This fully equips students by taking them through rigorous training in theory and practice.
How Long Does Radiation Therapy Certification Take?
We mentioned earlier that radiation therapists, apart from obtaining an associate or bachelor’s degree, must also get certified to practice.
So, how long does it take to get certified? Unlike earning a degree, getting certified doesn’t take as much time.
Certification takes about a day or more to obtain. Now, this isn’t to say that you can be certified as a radiation therapist within a day of applying for it. Instead, such would need to be used ahead of time.
Applying must be done way ahead of time.
Sometimes it takes several months after application before it’s attended to. With this information, you’ll need to apply ahead of time to ensure you won’t have to wait long.
Combining the Period of Study and Certification
So far, we’ve looked at the time spent studying for an associate’s or bachelor’s degree of science in radiation therapy.
Because certification is key to full practice, combining the time spent earning the degree and getting certified is necessary.
For an associate’s degree in radiation therapy, it will take three years to complete your study and become certified. A bachelor’s degree of science in radiation therapy plus certification will take about four years to get.
So, why add a whole year to both types of degrees? It’s simple. Recall we mentioned that applying for certification and the preparation process will likely take several months.
This is where the extra year comes in. In some states, the time spent may be much less.
Do you have what it takes?
Having discussed the time required to earn a radiation therapy degree, it’s necessary to consider other aspects of the profession. It’s not enough to want to obtain a degree in this field.
You must have certain traits that will prove crucial to your success.
These traits include customer & personal service skills, critical thinking skills, detail-oriented skills, operation monitoring, communication skills, and science, math & medical knowledge.
What more? Radiation therapists need to have physical stamina and interpersonal skills.
While some of these skills are learned during training, others must be possessed by you. With that said, let’s take a further look at what these skills are about, shall we?
Customer & Personal Service Skills
As a radiation therapist, you’ll be directly involved with patients.
This requires customer and personal service skills to make them comfortable and satisfied with treatment procedures. Also, you’ll be communicating with patients’ families, which requires feedback.
Critical Thinking Skills
Assessment of all kinds of diseases and conditions is necessary for proper treatment.
This is one area you’ll need to be good at. You can make logical conclusions and better administer solutions to problems with critical thinking skills.
Radiation therapy, like other areas of healthcare, requires attention to detail.
Here, specific or exact instructions need to be followed. This is necessary to protect the patient from undue radiation exposure. It generally helps with better performance of your job.
During treatment, close monitoring of patients and equipment is necessary. This is necessary to promote workplace safety and patient health, among other things.
As a radiation therapist, you’ll need to communicate clearly with other professionals within the field. This is required for the exchange of ideas and effective job execution.
Also, you’ll need to speak with patients and their families to make them understand treatment procedures and implications.
Now you know the time it takes to become a radiation therapist. With such information, you can better appreciate what you’re going into.