Radiation Therapist Career Plan

A degree in radiation therapy requires education at the associate’s level or higher. There are a number of prerequisite skills, so it’s good to get an early start.

  1. Take a college prep curriculum. A strong science and math background will help you succeed. Some RT programs may require math through the level of trigonometry.

  2. Meanwhile, work on your communication skills. Radiation therapists work with people who are not only ill, but very stressed. They also need to be able to communicate, orally and in writing, with other team members.

  3. Do some career exploration. Arrange job shadowing through AHEC, Learning for Life, or through a local hospital. Also consider volunteering. Large hospitals typically have multiple options, so you can put together a program that works for you. There may even be a volunteer coordinator who works specifically with youth.

  4. Research radiation therapy programs at the associate’s or bachelor’s level. Programs should be accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology or another agency that’s recognized by the American Society of Radiologic Technologists. When selecting a program, you may want to consider field placement opportunities. You can find a list of accredited programs and their clinical site affiliations on the site of the JRCERT.

  5. You may need to complete prerequisites before you are admitted to the professional program. These may include anatomy and physiology and college math. Your GPA can help ensure that you get a spot in the program.
    Also get your certification in Basic Life Support at this stage (if you haven’t already).

  6. Complete class work and field placement hours.

  7. It’s time for a position in radiation therapy. Your field placements – and the connections you’ve made – could lead to a permanent position. You may want to use the online career center of the American Society of Radiologic Technologists.

Personality Traits: Radiation therapists need compassion and a reassuring “bedside manner”. They should also have some degree of scientific aptitude.