UT Southwestern’s Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Radiation Therapy Program provides world-class training that prepares you for a career in high-tech cancer treatment.
As you review potential radiation therapy programs, keep these UT Southwestern advantages in mind:
- Our program combines academic and clinical experiences for a comprehensive, well-rounded education.
- Our location on a large medical center campus offers outstanding opportunities within world-class facilities.
- Our rich clinical environment exposes you to the latest treatment techniques and technologies.
- The small size of our classes gives each student a high level of individualized attention.
- Our faculty is committed to excellence in the classroom and in the clinical environment.
- Our tuition and fee rates are among the most reasonable in the country.
- We’re located near the heart of Dallas, a thriving center for health care, business, education, and the arts.
As a radiation therapy professional, you’ll harness one of the most powerful forces in nature in the fight against cancer. The opportunities in this exciting and rewarding field are exceptional. As a UT Southwestern graduate, you’ll have the knowledge, skill, and experience to build a rewarding long-term career.
About Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy is part of a multidisciplinary approach to cancer care that includes chemotherapy and surgery. Radiation therapy uses ionizing radiation as a treatment modality. It’s different in focus from diagnostic radiology, which uses X-rays and other imaging technologies for diagnosis. Radiation oncology facilities are located in hospitals or in freestanding cancer centers.
Radiation therapists are skilled medical professionals with in-depth training in physics, radiation safety, patient anatomy, and patient care. As part of the medical radiation oncology team, radiation therapists use machines called linear accelerators to administer radiation treatment that helps shrink and eliminate cancerous tumors. Success as a radiation therapist requires a positive attitude, excellent interpersonal and communication skills, technological expertise, and the ability to manage complex details under challenging working conditions.
The radiation therapist works closely with the radiation oncology team to deliver high-quality patient care. The team consists of a radiation oncologist, a physician who specializes in radiation therapy, a medical physicist, a medical dosimetrist, oncology nurses, and other health care professionals. The therapist uses imaging technology, such as a CT (computed tomography) to help the physician precisely locate the tumor. After the patient is properly positioned and imaged, the physician and dosimetrist use the information to complete the treatment plan.
The radiation therapist completes a dry run of the approved treatment with the patient to ensure that all treatment parameters are correct. Once the radiation oncologist approves the images obtained during the dry run, the therapist administers the treatment to the patient. Most conventional treatments take place over a period of weeks. During the process, the therapist monitors the physical and emotional health of the patient and maintains detailed records of the treatment.
Radiation Therapy Today
There are 19,396 radiation therapists registered with the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, the professional organization that credentials radiation therapists. According to a 2010 salary survey by the American Society of Radiologic Technologists, radiation therapists in Texas earn a mean salary of $81,706.
Outlook for Tomorrow
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that jobs for radiation therapists will increase by 27 percent through 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations. The growing elderly population is expected to cause an increase in the number of people needing treatment. Growth is likely to be rapid across all practice settings, including hospitals and outpatient cancer centers.