Bachelor of Science in Radiation Therapy
Where Patient Care and Technology Intersect
Radiation Therapists are health care professionals that use advanced technology, such as Linear Accelerators, to treat pathology, the most common of which is cancer. They are highly skilled and regarded members of the health care team. The therapist works closely with the Radiation Oncologists, Medical Physicists, Dosimetrist and other members of the radiation oncology care team to effectively design and treat cancer or other disorders, in addition to managing the patient's well-being. After the radiation oncologist has consulted with the patient and determined radiation will benefit the patient, it then becomes the radiation therapist's responsibility to administer the treatment.
Radiation therapy is used in conjunction with chemotherapy and surgery to treat the disease process. Since the course of treatment can extend over several weeks, the radiation therapist is responsible for assessing the patient and assuring that the treatments are administered according to the treatment plan.
The radiation therapist is a highly motivated individual who has excellent interpersonal and technological skills. Radiation therapists are trained in physics, anatomy, math, patient care, radiobiology and other areas. The competency based clinical learning curriculum offered within the program allows the student to gain the knowledge to become an entry level radiation therapist with diverse clinical experience.
As part of a medical radiation oncology team, radiation therapists may utilize a variety of sophisticated equipment, including linear accelerators to administer radiation treatment to patients. Linear accelerators are most commonly used in external beam therapy which projects high-energy X rays at targeted cancer cells. As the X rays collide with human tissue, they produce highly energized ions that may shrink and eliminate cancerous tumors. More info can also be found through the Bureau of Labor Statistics
Why a Bachelor Degree?
The field of radiation oncology has experienced vast technological advances in the past decade causing a paradigm shift in the approach to cancer treatment. New technologies are emerging at a fast pace with advances in equipment and treatment delivery occurring every few years. A bachelor degree gives the radiation therapist the tools they need to learn and incorporate these changes in order to deliver quality patient care. Besides providing the tools to integrate complex new equipment into patient care, the bachelor degree also gives the graduate more opportunities for advancement in treatment delivery but also in management/supervision, administration and education. In addition to the core courses in radiation therapy procedures and the scientific theories behind them, the programs includes courses in human anatomy and physiology, physics, trigonometry, radiobiology, writing, public speaking, computer science and research methodology.
Special Program Highlights and Features:
VERT - St. Catharine's program is the only one in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and one of ten programs in the United States, and some worldwide, that have a state of the art 3D simulator called Virtual Environment Radiotherapy Training (VERT) created by the company Vertual, based in England. Students in their junior year use this to repilcate real life clinical scenarios in a completely safe and relaxed environment that makes them better prepared in the actual clinical setting.
Other Program Features
The program is designed as a lock-step program where a cohort of students take all courses together and then move to the next semester with the successful completion of the previous one. Students in the program will be in the class or clinic up to 40 hours per week after the first semester. Students must provide their own transportation to and from the various clinical educational settings. This program operates primarily Monday – Friday during normal business hours and does not offer weekend or on-line professional courses. St. Catharine College’s Radiation Therapy Program strives to give each student individualized attention and provide the best didactic and clinical teaching environments for maximum student achievement.
Admission to the St. Catharine College Radiation Therapy program is very competitive and is the only such program in Kentucky. Selection is determined by a cumulative point system based on the applicant’s last 60 college level credit hours and prerequisite course grades, references, completion of clinical observations and a personal interview. A minimum grade of “C” is required in all prerequisite courses for the radiation therapy program. A cumulative collegiate grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.00 scale in the prerequisites courses is also required.
Career Outlook for Major
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of radiation therapists is projected to grow by 27 percent between 2008 and 2018, which is 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. In addition, as radiation technology becomes safer and more effective, it will be prescribed more often, leading to an increased demand for radiation therapists. Growth is likely to be rapid across all practice settings, including hospitals, physicians’ offices, and outpatient centers. A national radiation therapy market survey was conducted in 2009. The American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) performed and reported the Radiation Therapy Staffing Survey 2009 can be reviewed at American Society for Radiologic Technologists (ASRT).
The Radiation Therapy Program is accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology
20 N. Wacker Drive Suite 2850
Chicago, IL 60606-3182
Phone: (312) 704-5300
Fax: (312) 704-5304
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