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Become A PRN Radiation Therapist

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Working As A PRN Radiation Therapist

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Controlling Machines and Processes
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $81,390

    Average Salary

What Does A PRN Radiation Therapist Do

Radiation therapists treat cancer and other diseases in patients by administering radiation treatments.

Duties

Radiation therapists typically do the following:

  • Explain treatment plans to the patient and answer questions about treatment
  • Follow safety procedures to protect the patient and themselves from overexposure to radiation
  • Examine machines to make sure they are safe and working properly
  • X ray the patient to determine the exact location of the area requiring treatment
  • Check computer programs to make sure the machine will give the correct dose of radiation to the appropriate area of the patient's body
  • Operate the machine to treat the patient with radiation
  • Monitor the patient to check for unusual reactions to the treatment
  • Keep detailed records of treatment

Radiation therapists operate machines called linear accelerators, which are used to deliver radiation therapy. These machines direct high-energy x rays at specific cancer cells in a patient's body, shrinking or removing them. 

Radiation therapists are part of the oncology team that treats patients with cancer. They often work with the following specialists:

  • Radiation oncologists, physicians who specialize in radiation therapy
  • Oncology nurses, registered nurses who specialize in caring for patients with cancer
  • Medical physicists, physicists who help in planning of radiation treatments and help to develop better and safer radiation therapies

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How To Become A PRN Radiation Therapist

Most radiation therapists complete programs that lead to an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in radiation therapy. Radiation therapists must be licensed or certified in most states. Requirements vary by state, but often include passing a national certification exam.

Education

Employers usually prefer to hire applicants who have an associate’s degree or a bachelor's degree in radiation therapy. However, candidates may qualify for some positions by completing a 12-month certificate program.

Radiation therapy programs include courses in radiation therapy procedures and the scientific theories behind them. These programs often include experience in a clinical setting and courses in human anatomy and physiology, physics, algebra, computer science, and research methodology. In 2014, there were about 120 accredited educational programs recognized by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.

Important Qualities

Detail oriented. Radiation therapists must follow exact instructions and input exact measurements to make sure the patient is exposed to the correct amount of radiation.

Interpersonal skills. Radiation therapists work closely with patients. It is important that therapists be comfortable interacting with people who may be going through physical and emotional stress.

Physical stamina. Radiation therapists must be able to be on their feet for long periods and be able to lift and move patients who need assistance.

Technical skills. Radiation therapists work with computers and large pieces of technological equipment, so they must be comfortable operating those devices.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

In most states, radiation therapists must be licensed or certified. Requirements vary by state, but typically include graduation from an accredited radiation therapy program and American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification.

To become ARRT certified, an applicant must complete an accredited radiation therapy program, adhere to ARRT ethical standards, and pass the ARRT certification exam. The exam covers radiation protection and quality assurance, clinical concepts in radiation oncology, treatment planning, treatment delivery, and patient care and education. A list of accredited programs is available from ARRT.

Many jobs also require cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or basic life support (BLS) certification.

Advancement

With additional education and certification, therapists can become medical dosimetrists. Dosimetrists are responsible for calculating the correct dose of radiation that is used in the treatment of cancer patients.

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PRN Radiation Therapist Demographics

Gender

Female

73.9%

Male

24.9%

Unknown

1.2%
Ethnicity

White

62.1%

Black or African American

15.0%

Hispanic or Latino

12.3%

Asian

7.6%

Unknown

3.0%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

100.0%

PRN Radiation Therapist Education

Schools

Saint Louis University-

8.2%

University of Phoenix

8.2%

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

6.8%

Walden University

6.8%

Texas State University

5.5%

University of Louisville

5.5%

University of Central Arkansas

5.5%

University of Memphis

4.1%

Temple University

4.1%

Galveston College

4.1%

Elizabethtown College

4.1%

Our Lady of the Lake University

4.1%

Liberty University

4.1%

University of Tennessee-Health Science Center

4.1%

University of South Alabama

4.1%

Argosy University-Twin Cities

4.1%

University of Missouri - Saint Louis

4.1%

University of Pittsburgh -

4.1%

Nova Southeastern University

4.1%

University of Southern Mississippi

4.1%
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Majors

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

18.2%

Social Work

16.1%

School Counseling

10.7%

Physical Therapy

8.6%

Occupational Therapy

7.5%

Counseling Psychology

7.1%

Medical Technician

6.8%

Mental Health Counseling

5.7%

Psychology

3.6%

Business

2.1%

Family Therapy

2.1%

Clinical Psychology

2.1%

Rehabilitation Science

1.8%

Communication Disorders Sciences

1.4%

Physiology And Anatomy

1.4%

Health Sciences And Services

1.4%

Health Care Administration

1.1%

Management

0.7%

Public Health

0.7%

Military Technology

0.7%
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Degrees

Masters

47.8%

Bachelors

18.6%

Associate

10.9%

Other

8.3%

Certificate

6.4%

Doctorate

6.4%

License

1.3%

Diploma

0.3%
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Top Skills for A PRN Radiation Therapist

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  1. Radiation Safety
  2. Treatment Plans
  3. Group Therapy Sessions
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Worked collaboratively with hospital staff to develop treatment plans that included individual and family therapy.
  • Conduct group therapy sessions that deal with anger management, clarifying issues, family conflict, bullying and more.
  • Administer radiation therapy treatments, scheduling, CT Simulation assistance, and patient care.
  • Work independently providing individual, group and family therapy.
  • Conducted individual counseling sessions with mental health patients.

How Would You Rate Working As a PRN Radiation Therapist?

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Top PRN Radiation Therapist Employers

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Jobs From Top PRN Radiation Therapist Employers

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