Radiation Therapy Associate Degrees

If you are interested in entry-level positions in the field of radiation therapy, consider the benefits of completing an associate degree in radiation therapy degree program. Associate's degree programs provide students with classroom-based and hands-on training so that they learn how to work with radiation equipment and technologies, and are comfortable working in a medical setting.

Completing an accredited associate degree in radiation therapy program can prepare you for the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) exam so you can become certified in the field. In many states, having an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree and certification is the minimum requirement to enter this growing field.

Getting an Associate Degree in Radiation Therapy

Most colleges and training centers that offer an associate degree in radiation therapy program require students to complete prerequisite in courses including physical science, algebra, medical terminology, communications and other math courses. If you have a strong math or science background, an associate degree in radiation therapy may be the right match for you.

Students enrolled in this a radiation therapy degree program also need to complete hands-on training through an internship. You will take a combination of classroom-based training and log internship hours to meet your educational requirements.

Some of the key courses and topics covered in an associate's degree program include:

  • Radiation physics
  • Human anatomy
  • Medical imaging and processing
  • Ethical issues in the medical field
  • History of radiation therapy
  • Radiation protection and biology
  • Human physiology
  • Radiation treatment planning

Associate's degree programs in radiation therapy typically include:

  • Associate of Applied Science in Radiologic Technology
  • Associate of Science in Radiation Therapy
  • Associate of Applied Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography
  • Associate's Degree in Radiography
  • Associate's Degree in Allied Health
  • Associate's Degree in Electroneurodiagnostic Technology
  • Associate's Degree in Surgical Technology

Some associate's degree programs may offer online courses, but the student will still need to compleet a significant amount of their training through an internship. Online courses may be available in very general courses and to fulfill prerequisite requirements in this field. Online courses may be an attractive option for students who are currently working or have a very busy schedule. Web-based courses can offer some more flexibility and make it easier to complete an associate degree in radiation therapy within two years.

Career Options with an Associate Degree in Radiation Therapy

Most graduates of an associate degree in radiation therapy program are qualified for entry-level positions in the field of radiation therapy and typically work in hospitals, cancer treatment centers or private clinics. They may serve as a radiation therapy assistant, technician or aide until they get the appropriate training they need to work without supervision. Most employers do prefer candidates to have at least a bachelor's degree in this field, because four-year degree programs include comprehensive training and clinicals that prepare students to work without supervision.

Salaries for those with an associate's degree are typically much lower than those with a bachelor's degree, but the salary potential can increase when an individual gets certified or acquires extensive work experience in this field.