Radiation Therapist Education

Radiation therapy education programs prepare students for an exciting and rewarding career in the allied health field. Radiation therapists are trained to work in cancer treatment centers to reduce the size of a tumor with radiation energy. Radiation therapy education programs are available at many colleges, universities and technical schools, and some are approved by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). ARRT-accredited programs may be a requirement by certain employers and can provide the advanced skills and training you need to be successful in this career.

Types of Radiation Therapy Education Programs

Some programs are just 12 months in length, while others are four years or more in length. You can choose to complete any of the following types of radiation therapy education programs:

  • One-Year Certification Program in Radiation Therapy
  • Associate's Degree in Radiation Therapy
  • Bachelor's Degree in Radiation Therapy
  • Master's Degree in Radiation Therapy
  • Doctoral Degree in Radiation Therapy

Certification radiation therapy education programs are geared towards those who want to obtain entry-level positions after graduation, or for those who already have a medical degree or a degree in a related field. An associate's degree program is designed for radiation therapy assistants and those who may be working towards a different or related advanced degree in the field. Most employers do prefer that their employees have a bachelor's degree in radiation therapy, and these four-year programs may include residency programs and clinicals at local hospitals and cancer treatment centers.

Master's degree programs are designed for those who want to pursue supervisory positions and possibly teach in the field. Doctoral degree programs are designed for those who want to enter the field of cancer treatment with radiation therapy, and work at a university research center or serve as a teaching assistant to a professor in oncology or related field on a college campus.

Radiation Therapy Education Requirements

Requirements for radiation therapy education programs vary from school to school, but most require students to have a least a high school diploma or GED, and be 18 years of age. Education requirements may also vary by state and employer, so reviewing a sample job description of radiation therapists in your area can help you find out what the actual radiation therapy education requirements are for positions of interest.

The key radiation therapy education requirements include:

  • High school diploma or GED
  • Associate's degree or bachelor's degree
  • ARRT certification
  • Clinical experience
  • Internship or externship

Fulfilling all radiation therapy education requirements for employers in your area may take one year or up to four years, depending on where you are applying for jobs. Work experience is an important part of the educational experience for radiation therapists, and many degree programs include at least one semester of hands-on training in a clinical setting. Colleges and universities may have cancer treatment and medical researchers on campus that offer internship opportunities for radiation therapy students. Other schools may be networked with medical centers, research facilities and training centers in the area and offer externship programs for students who need to fulfill their work experience requirements.