Radiation Therapy - a dying field?

Get new comments by email
You can cancel email alerts at anytime.
Comments (1 to 50 of 175)
Page:   1  2  3  4  Next »   Last »

Ken in Flagstaff, Arizona

48 months ago

+1 to Chris. Greg, if you can't hack PT school I would count PA school out entirely. They are like a half-doctor and end up doing all the doctor's scut work, bad hours, high stress. I think the pay is decent though. Greg, you should consider lab tech (phlebotomy), pharmacy tech, OR or ER tech or something like that. In and out of school, although pay is not that good.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (7) / No (3) Reply - Report abuse

Derek in Tempe, Arizona

46 months ago

I’m looking into B.S. Radiation therapy and Dosimetry programs. I figured I would throw my questions out there in case anyone else is wondering the same thing.

First of all, is a bachelor’s degree a more competitive angle in approaching the job market?

And though Dosimetry plays hand in hand with radiation therapy, I have also read that it has a place in other cancer treatments like brachytherapy for example. I would like to get a B.S in radiation therapy, and work in industry for a few years before getting a Masters in Dosimetry. Does the immediate job outlook for dosimetris look any better than RT?

Thanks for any help. I wish us all good luck on our individual journeys.

Now, since I asked a question, I will also contribute. I recently emailed a dept head of an RT program, I am going to keep everything anonymous but I’d like to share our conversation with you.

Q: I was wondering if you could answer some questions for me, do you know how good the job outlook is for bachelor prepared graduates? And as someone that knows much more about the field than I, do you feel that radiation therapy will have a place in cancer treatment for many years to come?

A: Baby Boomers have not retired; however, predictions and forecasting show that the need will be there 7-10 years from now. Yes radiation therapy will have a place in future cancer treatment. Will patients choose radiation therapy as a primary treatment? That would be up to the patient and their families. Patients have many more treatment options than in the past. We are diagnosing disease earlier resulting in different treatment protocols for cure. New chemotherapy drugs are being developed daily. New brachytherapy techniques are being used to treat early breast cancer. Proton therapy is becoming center stage in larger cities. External beam radiation therapy will exist; however, radiation therapy as a entity will take on several forms. The days of working from 7am-7pm treating st

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (33) / No (10) Reply - Report abuse

Derek in Tempe, Arizona

46 months ago

"The days of working from 7am-7pm treating strictly with external beam may be fading because of the selection offered for patients. This is a good thing J for patients."

Is the last passage of my original post, i guess it ran long and was cut off.

Does anyone know anything about proton therapy? Are those machines still run by RT's? Or do RT's only do external beam?

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (14) / No (5) Reply - Report abuse

calsey in Hamilton, Ontario

46 months ago

Derek in Tempe, Arizona said: "The days of working from 7am-7pm treating strictly with external beam may be fading because of the selection offered for patients. This is a good thing J for patients."

Is the last passage of my original post, i guess it ran long and was cut off.

Does anyone know anything about proton therapy? Are those machines still run by RT's? Or do RT's only do external beam?

Proton therapy is a kind of external beam therapy and yes it is being done by RTs.

The technology isn't dying in fact there're so many new technologies which emerged within the last 5-10 years such as IMRT, IGRT, Tomotherapy, Proton therapy, Cyberknife radiosurgery, etc etc.

Radiation therapy is the only comparable method of cancer treatment in terms of tumor control and patient survival compared to surgery in many kinds of malignancies. Radiation in combination with surgery and chemo is often the way to go (more than half of cancer patients receive radiation). Many patients and physicians are leaning toward radiation alone (whenever possible) because it is not invasive and leaves the patients better cosmetic outcomes and better quality of life. It is also being used to treat a few other diseases that are not cancer.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (21) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

k in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

46 months ago

I am on a similar career path. I hold a Masters degree , am certified as a radiation therapist and finished an accredited Dosimetry training program. I can only tell you that, with my credentials I have had no luck getting a position. When I started R.T. the career service counseler told me that he never sees R.T. because they allways have a position before they graduate ( which turned out false). I know many good friends who have been looking for a job for a year and a half. As I watched them struggle, I told myself that I would not have that problem because I was going into Dosimetry.
now 3 months after graduating , many of my fellow dosimetrist have no positions. Be carefull of empty promisses, Educators want to tell you what you want to hear because they also need to retain their job.
Ask them to give you the contact info of some of their students current and graduate, so that you can get their perspective. You will find that they will be very reluctant.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (43) / No (8) Reply - Report abuse

Thomas in Fredericksburg, Virginia

45 months ago

i have a few questions about R.T.

1st, How do i get into Radiation Therapy program? Do i have to go to university/local community college first to finish pre-requisite? and then apply for Radiation Therapy program?

2nd, What classes do i need to take to get into Radiation Therapy program? cause i go to a local community college and they dont offer any Radiography. Right now im just taking Gen ed. Biology, chemistry, calculus, and mathematic of chaos.

3rd, i have heard that i must be licensed as x-ray tech. first to become a Radiation Therapist. Do i have to go to a technical school to become a x-ray tech first then get my associate degree from a local community college then apply for Radiation Therapy program??

i am so confused and lost. I want to become a Radiation Therapist. and i dont know what to do and where to start. i need some major help here. please help me. thank you

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (12) / No (3) Reply - Report abuse

Kari in Midland, Texas

45 months ago

Thomas-

You have a few options. First is a 2 year associates degree. These programs are competitive to get into so you will need to get some general math, biology and composition classes out of the way. The other option is a 4 year bachelors degree. I'm not too familiar with Virginia so I don't know where these programs are offered specifically. YOu would just have to get online and do some research.

You do NOT have to be an x-ray technologist to become and radiation therapist. Many x-ray techs transition into radiation therapy, so a lot of therapists used to do x-rays.

Most importantly, please consider the job market. Radiation therapy jobs are VERY hard to come by right now and it will probably be tight for the next 7 years or so. It might be a better idea to become an x-ray technologist and then when the job market for therapy is better you can make the transition. X-ray programs are available at most community colleges. This is very valuable advise, trust me. I recently graduated radiation therapy school and out of 15 students in my class only 2 have full time jobs. Nobody can even get an interview.

Good luck. If you have any other questions I would be happy to try to help.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (28) / No (3) Reply - Report abuse

Jessyska in Clovis, New Mexico

45 months ago

Don't think about x-ray either. They are just as tight as therapist right now. The only modality that isn't as bad is ultrasound. But its not as good as it used to be as well..

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (6) / No (3) Reply - Report abuse

Thomas in Fredericksburg, Virginia

45 months ago

Kari, thank you so much for your advice. it is very valuable advise from you. And i did some research on online and i dont know if i should become an x-ray technologist and then transition into radiation therapist.
what would it be the best choice for me now? Cause i would like to work in medical field and i really love to help and work with patients.

Does it take 2yrs to become x-ray technologist? or do i need a bachelor's degree?

by the way, jessyska thank you for sharing info. i havent thought about ultrasound. i hope the job market get better as soon as possible so that i can find a job in 2 or 3yrs.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No Reply - Report abuse

RTT in AA in Grand Rapids, Michigan

45 months ago

kt in Fenton, Michigan said: Hi, if there is anyone in michigan, flint. Ann Arbor area with knowledge of the Rad Tech, Rad therapist fields, if the outlook for employment in the next 2 years is good or bad? I am 47 and getting out of the auto industry. Thanks for input have a great day!

I was just browsing through these comments and noticed this post. The market is definitely flooded in MI, all over the state. I would not recommend going into this field right now. It's not a dying field, there's just not enough demand for the supply of therapists. I would recommend going to PA school or finding a different niche in the heathcare industry. Just do your research on what types of jobs are available, because even if you think you'll love the job, if you aren't able to find one out of school, then you will be very dissapointed. I know people who graduated from the program just to move on to a different field because they could not find a job as an RTT.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (4) / No (4) Reply - Report abuse

Bellix in Chattanooga, Tennessee

45 months ago

I completed three semsters out of six in a RT program (six crammed into a two year period - I had finished first year spring, fall, and summer sessions ) before quitting and getting a job. I had also spent a year taking prerequisites just so i could apply to a RT program.

I had spent a lot of time on this board reading about the dismal job outlook and hoping that I had not made a bad decision and wasted a lot of time. I got freaked out so much that I started looking for work and took a job offer that came my way.

My classmates (the ones who actually finished the progaram, all six of them) graduated in July and do not have jobs, they have all interviewed for ONE job opening since graduating and it was PRN at that. They are dejected and depressed, the older students who do not live at home have gone back to working the types of jobs that they thought they would be able to leave behind. It really sucks to expend so much time, money, and energy on an ultimately fruitless endeavor.

I feel for them - therapy school is tough, especially during the last year or so. Our program director and instructors never guaranteed anyone a job, but they definitely painted a prettier picture when compared to the reality that awaited us outside the halls of academia.

I would strongly urge prospective therapy students to reconsider their educational plans. The odds of finding employment are too small to justify the two years time, energy, and money it will take to get the degree.

good luck to all, I hope I didn't bum anyone out too much.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (16) / No (3) Reply - Report abuse

Red Queen in Brentwood, Tennessee

45 months ago

You may have seen me on the "Is there anybody out there" radiation therapy thread. My advice to all of you would be, "go where your heart and good sense lead you." It's easy right now to look at the short term and say that since there aren't jobs readily available, there won't ever be jobs. That is false logic. Like everyone else in a down economy, therapists are holding on to the jobs they have, and postponing plans to move up, move out, move on.

Don't base your plans for a lifetime of working on a temporary situation. If radiation therapy is for you, then go for it, and be prepared to move, work another type of job until the market opens up, whatever it takes. But don't go into therapy because you think it will make you rich. It won't.

If I were starting out in this economy I would get the diagnostic certification as well as the therapy one. That way you have two fields of jobs open to you rather than just one. Yes, you may work nights, you may have to do barium enema studies. It's all about keeping your eye on the goal. If this is where you belong you will do it.

In the meantime, check out this link:
www.auntminnie.com/index.aspx?d=1&sec=sup&sub=roc&pag=dis&ItemID=92529&wf=4013

There WILL be jobs; times are just tight right now. The days of gettting out of school and landing a lucrative position with great benefits may be over for ALL professions, not just radiation therapy.

And Calsey is right: external beam, Proton therapy, cyberknife, brachytherapy: they are all forms of radiation therapy. The technology is booming and becoming ever more precise, ever more complex. Yes, the machines and computers do a lot, but there will always be a need for trained people who know what they are doing to take the best possible care of the patients. The therapist is the last line of defense before that radiation touches the patient. Do you want just a button pusher treating the ones you love?

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (28) / No (5) Reply - Report abuse

rk in Sacramento, California

43 months ago

I'm tired of all this discouragement. Two of the jobs I'm interested in everyone saying the market is flooded. Well these are the jobs I'm interested in ... I get so mad that about these comments oh you cant find jobs ... This is what I'm leaning towards
Nursing is always available but there is a reason why there are shortages I've heard many people complain about bedside nursing and stuff... but maybe that job is for you ... go into nursing, physical therapy, another one that has great job opportunities is speech pathology
but none of these careers are interesting to me like radiation therapist and dosimetry is so for me!!!

I hate that ultrasound, and radiation therapy/dosimetry the things I'm interested don't have as great as job opportunities
I don't know if I should change my simply because of what I've read on forums
Getting bachelors and everything it will probably take me 4, 5 years to become a radiation therapist/dosimetrist (leaning towards dosimetry)

Hopefully the market will change by then... Just the because the market is tough is that a good enough reason???
Some jobs might be more stable but they might not be the job for you... Studying, and going into a career just because it is stable
isn't good enough
I for one have interest in being a nurse, or in physical therapy, and stuff

And here is the thing is might be hard to get a job but in my many careers it hard just to become one because the schools are so competitive in who they accept so there
That also evens it out

I get so frustrated that now I like a job so much and I have to hear this crap
I'm going to follow Red Queen advice and hope for the best

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (9) / No (6) Reply - Report abuse

Red Queen in Stockbridge, Georgia

43 months ago

Good for you! Right now you will hear the same discouraging news about almost every field. But as one of the early posters on the other thread (Is there anybody out there...") pointed out, a lot of us are older and getting close to retirement. That not only opens up jobs, it also means...we are potential patients! The baby boomer generation is aging, and the average age for the onset of cancer is 55. In 5 years you will start being busy; in less than 10 years you will see a huge group of patients needing treatment.

I have had almost 20 years of treating patients with radiation and still would love to do it but I started late and the body just won't let me do it any more! I began helping a manager check the codes and charges almost 7 years ago while still treating patients, kept learning about and using that area of the field, and for the past year that's all I have done. Radiation therapy has paid my bills, kept me happy at work, and made me a more compassionate and more patient person. I loved my job as a radiation therapist! And that's exactly the kind of person who needs to be in this field, someone who loves it makes the patients feel better about their treatment, more optimisitc about the outcome, and not so afraid of "the big C". So if you feel this is really what you want to do, then do it! I have a feeling that out of all the applicants that are searching, some didn't get a second interview or a job just because their outlook came across as too negative. And so now they moan that there are no jobs. When jobs are scarce, employers get to pick and choose. And we want the most positive, upbeat, happy people to take care of our cancer patients! Technical skills are important, but attitude is the one key factor you MUST have. So go for it! Good luck and God Bless!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (34) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

rk in Sacramento, California

43 months ago

red queen one thing I'm worried about is the safety. I've heard radiation can be dangerous... being a radiation therapist what can you tell me about this. And another route I was considering becoming a x ray tech then later doing the radiologist assistant program... Or with radiation therapist ... also later become a dosimetrist. what do you think?

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No Reply - Report abuse

Red Queen in Stockbridge, Georgia

43 months ago

Radiation therapists actually get very little radiation dose, not usually outside the normal range of background exposure for any of the general public who lives in a big city. That's because we are not usually in the room with the patient when any of our procedures are performed; we monitor them through an in-room camera. You would be wearing a film badge or TLD that measures the level of your exposure and those records are calculated and recorded monthly and a permanent record is kept of your lifetime exposure. You get a yearly copy of the report. No matter who you work for, those records are accessible becuase they are recorded under your SSN.

X-ray technologists get more exposure because at times they have to hold their patients during a procedure, like during fluoro, they are in the room right beside the patient. They have lead aprons to wear but there is still some exposure. The rad assistant thing is great as far as advancement in the profession goes. Learn several specialties when you can so you will be a better candidate in case it's hard to get into the program. Learn mammo, MRI, CT, whatever you have an opportunity to learn.

Dosimetry is great if you have an analytical mind and enjoy math, especially geometry, and physics. However, it's not always easy to get into. Some places still rely on seniority of therapists and do on-the-job training, some selct who the physicist likes best to do the o-j-t, some (thank heaven!) have special schools that teach dosimetry (like Chapel Hill, NC) but the schools, again, are hard to get into. So know up front that you might have to do battle to get there, and prepare yourself accordingly. Study the dosimetry really well when in your therapy program; let everyone know at your 1st job that you are interested in dosimetry and will do anything you can to help out; keep learning from your dosimetrist and physicist and keep your eye on the goal!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (9) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

jb in Buffalo, New York

42 months ago

i have a bachelors degree and im looking to further my education in radiation thrapy. i've been excepted in booth a associate and bachelors program and was wondering if another bachelors degree would make me more marketable in that field or will a assoicate degree be ok since i already have a 4 year degree

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No Reply - Report abuse

Red Queen in Nashville, Tennessee

42 months ago

Generally a second bachelors degree is not more marketable than a single one; I would think you would get the best answer from the school guidance counselors on that one. My gut would be to go for the associate program and then if you like, on to a Masters in Health Administration or whatever.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (3) / No (2) Reply - Report abuse

X12345X in Newark, Delaware

42 months ago

Red Queen in Stockbridge, Georgia said: Radiation the room right beside the patient. They have lead aprons to wear but there is still some exposure. The rad assistant thing is great as far as , and prepare yourself accordingly. Study the dosimetry really well when in your therapy program; let everyone know at your 1st job that you are interested in dosimetry and will do anything you can to help out; keep learning from your dosimetrist and physicist and keep your eye on the goal!

RedQueen, could you tell me if Radiation Therapists can ever work part time at all, I know they have per-diem, but I'm just worried that once I get in the field & have children I won't be able to find part time work,or switch to part time, as I'd like to work part time for a period of time when I have children. Didn't know if it was possible though. I really want to go into that field, but I want to make the right decision. I don't want to go for nursing, which I know everyone pushes everyone to go for. Do you think the field will be any better in a couple years, as far as job outlooks goes? I'm sorry if I reasked anything you might have answered, I couldn't read through everything, I'm sneaking in a comment while at work! I'd appreciate your feedback! Thanks so much!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

X12345X in Newark, Delaware

42 months ago

Oh & I meant I know they have per-diem, but I meant more of a set part time schedule, like just shorter days or a couple days a week, but still a definite schedule each week. Thanks again!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No (2) Reply - Report abuse

Red Queen in Nashville, Tennessee

42 months ago

Some centers will use PT therapists, or job-share where one person works 3 days, the other 2 days, or one works mornings and one works afternoons. But they are not easy to find. If you have gone the route of two years of school for diagnostic imaging, then one year to add the therapy credential, you have more flexibility and can work in imaging at a physician's office or PT just about anwyahere while your kids are small, and do per diem in therapy or just go back to therapy when your kids are older. Different parts of the country have different norms, and each center is unique also. If you get a job and they love you, sometimes they will work out a deal later on when you need it in order to be able to keep you ;-)

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No Reply - Report abuse

br1324 in Evansville, Indiana

42 months ago

Hello all

I've commented on the other thread, however, its been a little while since then. I'm also tired of reading negative comments on various threads. Being a student and working in the field, you tend to find that people who leave negative comments and say negative things are usually negative people themselves. This alone could be why they cant find jobs. Patients receiving any form of radiation therapy (external, brachy, CK, GK, or proton therapy [just to name a few]) must be put in an extremely caring,positive environment! No matter what happens to you in your daily life, NO MATTER WHAT, your patient is in a tougher situation. Being hit with the "c" word totally changes a person and they dont know what to expect. So enough on that subject

As for the market, sure jobs are a little tough to come by, but please, do what you feel is right. Dont become a PA, PT or whatever just because some random person says do it! Do what you believe, what you feel in your heart, and in the end, I PROMISE your job will come!!!!! It may take one day, one month, 6 months or even a year (although I doubt the year) but it WILL happen.

It wasn't too long ago that the therapist field was thriving.... jobs were open everywhere..... and we were in short supply. Sign on bonuses were literally thrown out in nearly every job situation! The portion of the medical field that radiation therapists are in operates in a cycle. Sometimes theres a shortage, other times an over-abundance. I guarantee in 5-10 years we will be in short supply again. This is due to the economy settling down and the increasing elderly population retiring.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (10) / No (4) Reply - Report abuse

br1324 in Evansville, Indiana

42 months ago

Another thing about the jobs, employers can, as of right now, select employees (shortage of jobs). This isn't bad if your prepared for it. Certain schools are preferred by employers, so make sure you chose wisely. Most schools that are respected by employers are schools that have produced many good therapists. In my career, I have learned that online schools are looked down upon and students graduating from them are usually the last selected. At most of the clinic sites and rotations I've had the privilege of completing, most tend to look for good-hearted, good-working, honest, and educated people. Bach degrees arent mandatory, but they do make you more noticable! They also allow you to advance your career. As of 2013, dosimetrists have to have a bach degree to be considered (no more on the job). Be a positive person, make a good impression, and have many positive references (teachers, clinic instructors, and clinic co-therapists).

Advancement can happen in many ways, but like I said, a bach degree is usually required (there are some circumstances where this isn't true) to go on to complete a masters or post-bach certificate (usually masters). A few of these are instructors, teachers, QM, administration, sells (ex. lin-ac), and dosimetrist. There is also an option to advance and become an RA (Radiologist Assistant). An RA isn't directly related to the oncology field, however, it is an interesting field in itself

RK, first of all, dosimetry is a very good field to get into, and yes, jobs are a little more available. They make a higher wage, however, they have a much higher responsibility. Although some dosimetrists have Bach. degrees, the trend is changing to a Masters degree. My problem with your comment (Im not being negative) is that you said it would take you 4-5 years to complete your education. You need to shadow a therapist, make sure you love the field, that its right for you, and go from there.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No Reply - Report abuse

br1324 in Evansville, Indiana

42 months ago

Dosimetry shouldn't be in your mind until your at your first, maybe second clinic site for radiation therapy. Its nice to look at the pay and all, but they have a totally different job. Most dosimetrists dont see patients at all, sit at a computer and do calcs. Just take your education step-by-step and everything will work out!

I hope I didn't get under anyones skin, and I hope this helped!

br1324 RT(R) RT(T) CMD.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (5) / No Reply - Report abuse

Red Queen in Cumming, Georgia

42 months ago

Very well said, br1234!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (5) / No Reply - Report abuse

jayd BSc RT (R) (T) ARRT in Lake Forest, Illinois

42 months ago

I am a Radiation Therapist and I am currently finishing up my last two months of a Medical physics program. The harsh reality is that there aren't as many Radiation Therapy jobs ( I remember getting a sign on bonus and relocation assistace )these days. This trend may be a synergistic effect of the economy and for profit schools flooding the market, hence the reason why i advocated for radiation therapy programs to be BSc. Dosimetry is definately a good career choice but it is very competitive to get in.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (6) / No Reply - Report abuse

jayd BSc RT (R) (T) ARRT in Gurnee, Illinois

40 months ago

br1324 in Evansville, Indiana said: Dosimetry shouldn't be in your mind until your at your first, maybe second clinic site for radiation therapy. Its nice to look at the pay and all, but they have a totally different job. Most dosimetrists dont see patients at all, sit at a computer and do calcs. Just take your education step-by-step and everything will work out!

I hope I didn't get under anyones skin, and I hope this helped!

br1324 RT(R) RT(T) CMD.

What is that suppose to mean? I hope it is not what you are insinuating. After all it was comments similar to those when a nuclear med tech tell me I shouldn’t think about medical physics when I was an x-ray tech student.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No Reply - Report abuse

Red Queen in Archer, Florida

40 months ago

I don’t think anyone meant to offend you or discourage you. A better way to state it might be to say that you may not get a chance to go into dosimetry until you have more experience; or that dosimetrists often do a better job if they also have experience as a therapist. In any case, DO think about where you want to go next, I think that helps drive you to keep learning and keep mastering new skills, which is NEVER a bad thing! But be aware that there are also therapists who maybe wanted to get into dosimetry but for one reason or another, they couldn’t, and they might resent hearing you say (especially as a student)“I’m going to go into dosimetry” because they perceive that as arrogance, even though it is an honest and legitimate goal. So be cautious in how you share that information until you know the people you are working with and know you can trust them to be supportive.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (3) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

Long ways to go in Provo, Utah

40 months ago

I called a college advisor today for information about a 2 year Rad Tech program's pre-requisites and application deadlines and I asked how competetive the program is. I was told that the waiting list is so long that I would be lucky to get into the program in 2018 even if I were eligible already. I am willing to relocate if anyone can tell me of a school that is actually seeking students rather than being overwhelmed by too many students.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No (2) Reply - Report abuse

jayd BSc RT (R) (T) ARRT in Gurnee, Illinois

40 months ago

Red Queen in Archer, Florida said: I don’t think anyone meant to offend you or discourage you. A better way to state it might be to say that you may not get a chance to go into dosimetry until you have more experience; or that dosimetrists often do a better job if they also have experience as a therapist. In any case, DO think about where you want to go next, I think that helps drive you to keep learning and keep mastering new skills, which is NEVER a bad thing! But be aware that there are also therapists who maybe wanted to get into dosimetry but for one reason or another, they couldn’t, and they might resent hearing you say (especially as a student)“I’m going to go into dosimetry” because they perceive that as arrogance, even though it is an honest and legitimate goal. So be cautious in how you share that information until you know the people you are working with and know you can trust them to be supportive.

Well Said Thanks for the clarification. I agree with you.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No Reply - Report abuse

jiggish007 in Newark, Delaware

40 months ago

jayd BSc RT (R) (T) ARRT in Lake Forest, Illinois said: I am a Radiation Therapist and I am currently finishing up my last two months of a Medical physics program. The harsh reality is that there aren't as many Radiation Therapy jobs ( I remember getting a sign on bonus and relocation assistace )these days. This trend may be a synergistic effect of the economy and for profit schools flooding the market, hence the reason why i advocated for radiation therapy programs to be BSc. Dosimetry is definately a good career choice but it is very competitive to get in.

How is the Dosimetry field. Also what is the typical salary? I am going to dosimery school.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No (2) Reply - Report abuse

marcus j in Houston, Texas

40 months ago

Kari in Midland, Texas said: Thomas-

You have a few options. First is a 2 year associates degree. These programs are competitive to get into so you will need to get some general math, biology and composition classes out of the way. The other option is a 4 year bachelors degree. I'm not too familiar with Virginia so I don't know where these programs are offered specifically. YOu would just have to get online and do some research.

You do NOT have to be an x-ray technologist to become and radiation therapist. Many x-ray techs transition into radiation therapy, so a lot of therapists used to do x-rays.

Most importantly, please consider the job market. Radiation therapy jobs are VERY hard to come by right now and it will probably be tight for the next 7 years or so. It might be a better idea to become an x-ray technologist and then when the job market for therapy is better you can make the transition. X-ray programs are available at most community colleges. This is very valuable advise, trust me. I recently graduated radiation therapy school and out of 15 students in my class only 2 have full time jobs. Nobody can even get an interview.

Good luck. If you have any other questions I would be happy to try to help.

just wanted to knw what program u went through, thanks...

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No (2) Reply - Report abuse

rk in Sacramento, California

40 months ago

that br1324... Tell me is dosimetry extremely challening
it sounds a bit intimadating
can I ask why my time to get bacholors is a problem???

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No (3) Reply - Report abuse

Adedola in Essex, Maryland

40 months ago

i graduated last yr May and a certified radiation therapist but its been hard to get a job. Everyone requires experience like 1yr-2yrs and some per diem required 3-5yrs experience. I wanted to take up some volunteering hours but they say am too overqualified. its frustrating not getting a job and am tired of putting up applications everytime. Question is do anyone know any part of the state that is hiring new-grad without experience? i will be really grateful.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

Red Queen in Round Rock, Texas

40 months ago

Where are you physically located? (I know not to trust what the detail under your name says...for instance, mine today says I am in Texas, but I am actually in Tennessee.) And where are you willing/hoping to work?

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

Adedola in Essex, Maryland

40 months ago

Red Queen in Round Rock, Texas said: Where are you physically located? (I know not to trust what the detail under your name says...for instance, mine today says I am in Texas, but I am actually in Tennessee.) And where are you willing/hoping to work?

Am currently located in Baltimore Maryland and am willing to relocate anywhere they are willing to hire a new grad. Am so ready to start immediately.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No (2) Reply - Report abuse

luvmuziq in Underwood, Iowa

40 months ago

any info about the roswell dosimetry program. i got an interview there and supposed to be taking some test covering math, anatomy and logic, guys any info would help.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (6) / No (2) Reply - Report abuse

luvmuziq in Underwood, Iowa

40 months ago

k in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania said: I am on a similar career path. I hold a Masters degree , am certified as a radiation therapist and finished an accredited Dosimetry training program. I can only tell you that, with my credentials I have had no luck getting a position. When I started R.T. the career service counseler told me that he never sees R.T. because they allways have a position before they graduate ( which turned out false). I know many good friends who have been looking for a job for a year and a half. As I watched them struggle, I told myself that I would not have that problem because I was going into Dosimetry.
now 3 months after graduating , many of my fellow dosimetrist have no positions. Be carefull of empty promisses, Educators want to tell you what you want to hear because they also need to retain their job.
Ask them to give you the contact info of some of their students current and graduate, so that you can get their perspective. You will find that they will be very reluctant.

oh my God, your comment scared me, please tell me that's not true, here i'm thinking dosimetry was going to be my path out of poverty.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (3) / No (3) Reply - Report abuse

kate1432 in Anderson, South Carolina

39 months ago

red queen,
i am very interested in RT, but my only concern is that i would get bored in the day-to-day work and then be stuck in for the next forty years. one of the main thing that draws me to RT is the ability to form bonds with patients. can you give me somewhat of a daily schedule and your input?

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No Reply - Report abuse

Red Queen in Stone Mountain, Georgia

39 months ago

I never found it boring in the 20 years I did it; I am in an admin position now but I still miss active therapy duty.
You may begin your day by warming up and testing the machines, checking over your patient schedule to see if there is anything special coming up that you might need to do preliminary work on. That includes "new starts" where it's wise to check that all the data for treating pulls up correctly in your computer; inpatients that might need to be scheduled and/or transported, and whatever else might be special in your day.

Your first patient may be late so you take patient #2 who is always in the waiting room when you get there in the morning, an hour ahead of his appointment. He just likes to be early to get on with his busy day of retirement. Patient #1 arrives and states she is late for work, can you skip the port films and do them tomorrow? Your third and fourth patients arrive on time and get their treatment, #5 is a no-show and you learn he's been admitted, so you alert the radiation oncologist so she can check on him on the floor and decide if we need to give him a break or bring him down for treatment. The nursing home calls about one of your afternoon patients, they want to know if there's any way you can take him in the morning today since he needs an MRI and they can only schedule that in the afternoon when he is usually in your department for treatment. Oh, and Mrs. A needs her electron boost simmed today, her skin is breaking down and the doctor is sure to give her a one-day break from the tangents, start the e-boost tomorrow, and resume the tangents after the boost is complete.

At this point the regular therapists who read this are probably laughing because this is really how it is! No matter how well your day is planned, there is always random stuff that comes up all day and you just roll with it and somehow it all works out. Everyone gets what they need, you are tired, but you got everyone taken care of. Never boring!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (13) / No Reply - Report abuse

jayd BSc RT (R) (T) ARRT in Gurnee, Illinois

39 months ago

luvmuziq in Underwood, Iowa said: any info about the roswell dosimetry program. i got an interview there and supposed to be taking some test covering math, anatomy and logic, guys any info would help.

I did get an interview with Roswell however I decided to go the medical physics route. The math exam was not difficult for me (that’s one of my stronger area so probably not a fair assessment) the topics covered mostly college algebra, trigonometry and geometry. I do recall one or two questions that were at the level of maybe calculus 1 nonetheless they weren’t that bad. FYI brush up on you algebra and trig and geometry including equation of a circle. ( general and standard form)

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No Reply - Report abuse

kate1432 in Anderson, South Carolina

39 months ago

thank you, red queen, for your help.

this is probably a stupid question, but does the Radiologic Technology Program qualify you to be a radiation therapist or is that for something slightly different?

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No Reply - Report abuse

Red Queen in Round Rock, Texas

39 months ago

The Radiologic Technologist program is usually a 2-year preparation for being a diagnostic technologist; then if the school or hospital has the option, you can add an extra year of therapy-specific training to be a Radiologic Technologist in Therapy. Both Diagnostic and Therapy require passing a Certification Exam administered by the ARRT (American Registry of Radiologic Technologists) in addition to graduation from an accredited Technology Program.

In some places, you can go to a two-year Therapy-only program, or a four-year Therapy Bachelor’s degree program. You can also do the 2 +1 option, or the 2-year therapy only, and then get a bachelor’s degree while you are working. Having both the diagnostic and therapy certifications, and/or having a bachelor’s degree, allows you to take your career farther, be prepared for down times (like right now) since you can work in two different disciplines, and can help you move into management or education if you choose to.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No Reply - Report abuse

kate1432 in Liberty, South Carolina

39 months ago

Red Queen in Round Rock, Texas said: The Radiologic Technologist program is usually a 2-year preparation for being a diagnostic technologist; then if the school or hospital has the option, you can add an extra year of therapy-specific training to be a Radiologic Technologist in Therapy. Both Diagnostic and Therapy require passing a Certification Exam administered by the ARRT (American Registry of Radiologic Technologists) in addition to graduation from an accredited Technology Program.

In some places, you can go to a two-year Therapy-only program, or a four-year Therapy Bachelor’s degree program. You can also do the 2 +1 option, or the 2-year therapy only, and then get a bachelor’s degree while you are working. Having both the diagnostic and therapy certifications, and/or having a bachelor’s degree, allows you to take your career farther, be prepared for down times (like right now) since you can work in two different disciplines, and can help you move into management or education if you choose to.

Ok, when I looked up radiation therapy schools in my state, I looked at them all and every one has radiologic technology as the major. The one i am interested in is a 1+1, which has two semesters of gen. ed. courses, and then if you are accepted into the second phase there are two spring/fall semesters and one summer semester. It is jrcert accreditied. So if I do the program, pass the aart exam, and get my state certification, is that all I need?

thank you for your help!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No (2) Reply - Report abuse

Red Queen in Round Rock, Texas

39 months ago

I would make a phone call to the school just to be sure that the radiologic technology program they offer is for therapy (unless it says so on their website). If they say yes, you are good to go!

What state are you in? Mine says Texas but that must just be where my ISP is today. I'm really in Tennessee.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No (2) Reply - Report abuse

logixs in Houston, Texas

39 months ago

Has anyone goen thru the MD Anderson Rad Therapy Program in Houston Tx, just wanted to get an idea of how there interview process is and how they rate their program....thanks!!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (6) / No Reply - Report abuse

Atl_Rod in Atlanta, Georgia

38 months ago

I am very in intersted in becoming a radiation therapist. I have a BS degree in finance from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and 14 years of business experience. I am currently unemployed and I have not been able to find sustainable employment in 8 months. So, its time for a career change and I am very interested in radiation therapy. The job outlook does not seem very good from what I have read. However, the program will take me two years at the Insitute of Allied Medical Professions in Atlanta, GA. Does anyone have any feedback about the Institute of Allied Medical Professions? They are recognized by ARRT. Also, any feedback about the job outlook?
Thanks,
Rod
Atlanta, GA

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (3) / No Reply - Report abuse

RT (R)(T) in Wadsworth, Ohio

38 months ago

Rod,

No, Radiation Therapy is not a dying field. Schools have just flooded the market with new grads and therefore jobs are difficult to come by. If thats what you want to do please don't be discourged by the job market. As a current RT, I believe the market for Therapist will be opening up within the next five years. Currently there are a lot of senior therapist in the field and I believe many will be retiring soon. It is a great field to be in.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (11) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

Kari in Midland, Texas

38 months ago

I would have to agree with RT in Wadsworth, Ohio. There is some truth to the fact that the majority of therapists are approaching retirement. However... there are LOTS of certified therapists recently graduated who are waiting in line for those positions and also the retirement age is increasing! If you have the passion and your heart is in it... then it's maybe worth it to wait... but not all of us have the luxury to wait for a job to open up. Bills have to be paid, loans have to be repaid as interest is accruing. Radiation therapy jobs are also paying substantially less than they were 4-5 years ago. So if you are mainly interested for the money, I strongly encourage you to change your focus. I wouldnt want anyone to ignore the facts and get in a tough spot. I graduated over a year ago and only 3 of us have jobs out of 18. That's 15 people out of just one school.

My advice to anyone interested in therapy... if you're mostly interested in the caring of cancer patients- go to nursing (OCN certified) where the demand is high. If you're mostly interested in radiation and the physics aspect- go to xray or nuc med. You can always go into therapy when it picks back up 5-10 years from now!

I hope this helps. I don't mean to be discouraging... I am just on the inside looking out so I see the truth.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (4) / No Reply - Report abuse

RTRNCT, CNMT in Dumont, New Jersey

38 months ago

uh the xray and nuclear medicine field is also flooded.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (3) / No Reply - Report abuse

Page:   1  2  3  4  Next »   Last »

» Sign in or create an account to comment on this topic.