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Career and Education Opportunities for Radiation Therapists in Phoenix, Arizona

There are many career and education opportunities for radiation therapists in the Phoenix, Arizona area. The national trend for radiation therapists sees this job pool growing by about 27.1% over the next eight years. In general, radiation therapists provide radiation therapy to patients as prescribed by a radiologist according to established practices and standards.

Radiation therapists earn approximately $29 per hour or $61,700 annually on average in Arizona. Nationally they average about $35 hourly or $72,910 per year. Compared with people working in the overall category of Radiology, people working as radiation therapists in Arizona earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Radiology nationally. Radiation therapists work in a variety of jobs, including: computed tomography simulation therapist , radiation therapy technician, and dosimetrist.

There are seventy-six schools of higher education in the Phoenix area, including five within twenty-five miles of Phoenix where you can get a degree to start your career as a radiation therapist. Radiation therapists usually hold an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, so you can expect to spend about two years studying to be a radiation therapist if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Radiation Therapist

Radiation Therapist video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, radiation therapists provide radiation therapy to patients as prescribed by a radiologist according to established practices and standards. They also duties may include reviewing prescription and diagnosis; acting as liaison with physician and supportive care personnel; preparing equipment, such as immobilization, treatment, and protection devices; and maintaining records, reports, and files.

Radiation therapists maintain records, reports and files as required, including such data as radiation dosages, apparatus settings and patients' reactions. They also position patients for treatment with accuracy in line with prescription. Equally important, radiation therapists have to inspect prescription and identification. They are often called upon to follow principles of radiation protection for patients and others. They are expected to observe and reassure patients during treatment and report unusual reactions to physician or turn apparatus off if unexpected adverse reactions occur. Finally, radiation therapists administer prescribed doses of radiation to specific body parts, using radiation therapy apparatus in line with established practices and standards.

Every day, radiation therapists are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to evaluate problems as they arise.

It is important for radiation therapists to conduct most treatment sessions independently, in accordance with the long-term treatment plan and under the general direction of the patient's physician. They are often called upon to check for side effects such as skin irritation, nausea and hair loss to gauge patients' reaction to treatment. They also implement appropriate follow-up care plans. They are sometimes expected to check radiation therapy apparatus to insure proper operation. Somewhat less frequently, radiation therapists are also expected to calculate actual treatment dosages delivered during each session.

Radiation therapists sometimes are asked to help in the preparation of sealed radioactive materials. They also have to be able to educate, ready and reassure patients and their families by answering questions, providing physical assistance, and reinforcing physicians' advice regarding treatment reactions and post-treatment care and store or ready the special applicators containing the radioactive substance implanted by the physician. And finally, they sometimes have to ready and construct apparatus, such as immobilization and protection devices.

Like many other jobs, radiation therapists must have exceptional integrity and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Phoenix include:

  • Cardiac Technician. Conduct tests on pulmonary or cardiovascular systems of patients for diagnostic purposes. May conduct or assist in electrocardiograms, cardiac catheterizations, pulmonary-functions, lung capacity, and similar tests.
  • Dental Hygienist. Clean teeth and examine oral areas, head, and neck for signs of oral disease. May educate patients on oral hygiene, take and develop X-rays, or apply fluoride or sealants.
  • Emergency Medical Technician. Assess injuries, administer emergency medical care, and extricate trapped individuals. Transport injured or sick persons to medical facilities.
  • Nuclear Medical Technologist. Prepare, administer, and measure radioactive isotopes in therapeutic, diagnostic, and tracer studies utilizing a variety of radioisotope equipment. Prepare stock solutions of radioactive materials and calculate doses to be administered by radiologists. Subject patients to radiation. Execute blood volume, red cell survival, and fat absorption studies following standard laboratory techniques.
  • Radiological Technician. Maintain and use equipment and supplies necessary to demonstrate portions of the human body on x-ray film or fluoroscopic screen for diagnostic purposes.
  • Radiology Technologist. Take x-rays and Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT or CT) scans or administer nonradioactive materials into patient's blood stream for diagnostic purposes. Includes technologists who specialize in other modalities, such as computed tomography, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance.
  • Surgical Technician. Assist in operations, under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses, or other surgical personnel. May help set up operating room, prepare and transport patients for surgery, adjust lights and equipment, pass instruments and other supplies to surgeons and surgeon's assistants, hold retractors, and help count sponges, needles, and instruments.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Radiation Therapist Training

GateWay Community College - Phoenix, AZ

GateWay Community College, 108 N. 40th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85034. GateWay Community College is a medium sized college located in Phoenix, Arizona. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,853 students. GateWay Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated eleven and zero students respectively in 2008.

Pima Medical Institute - Mesa, AZ

Pima Medical Institute, 957 S. Dobson Road, Mesa, AZ 85202. Pima Medical Institute is a small school located in Mesa, Arizona. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 883 students. Pima Medical Institute has an associate's degree program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated ninety-four students in 2008.

Scottsdale Community College - Scottsdale, AZ

Scottsdale Community College, 9000 E Chaparral Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85256. Scottsdale Community College is a large college located in Scottsdale, Arizona. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,077 students. Scottsdale Community College has an associate's degree program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist.

Apollo College-Phoenix Inc - Phoenix, AZ

Apollo College-Phoenix Inc, 8503 N 27th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85051-4063. Apollo College-Phoenix Inc is a small college located in Phoenix, Arizona. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 3,917 students and an admission rate of 99%. Apollo College-Phoenix Inc has an associate's degree program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated sixty-five students in 2008.

The Bryman School of Arizona - Phoenix, AZ

The Bryman School of Arizona, 2250 W. Peoria Ave. A-100, Phoenix, AZ 85029. The Bryman School of Arizona is a small school located in Phoenix, Arizona. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 682 students. The Bryman School of Arizona has a one to two year program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated 122 students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Nuclear Cardiology Technologist: Professional certification is a vital component of a successful career.

For more information, see the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona photo by Urban

Phoenix is located in Maricopa County, Arizona. It has a population of over 1,567,924, which has grown by 18.7% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Phoenix, 93, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Phoenix cost $218,200 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, 2,176 new homes were built in Phoenix, down from 6,560 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Phoenix are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, administrative and support and waste management services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 26 minutes. More than 22.7% of Phoenix residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Phoenix is 10.0%, which is greater than Arizona's average of 9.3%.

The percentage of Phoenix residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 39.7%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. San Francisco Xavier and Good Shepherd Convent are among the churches located in Phoenix. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Phoenix is home to the Arizona Highway Patrol Headquarters and the Gila Valley Lookout as well as Indian Bend Park and Stephen Park. Shopping centers in the area include Alta Vista Shopping Center, Arcadia Plaza Shopping Center and Arcadia Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Phoenix can choose from Four Seasons Limousine LLC, Maricopa Manor B&B Inn and Motel 6 for temporary stays in the area.