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Career and Education Opportunities for Radiation Therapists in Miami, Florida

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for radiation therapists in the Miami, Florida area. Currently, 860 people work as radiation therapists in Florida. This is expected to grow 32% to about 1,140 people by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for radiation therapists are expected to grow by about 27.1%. In general, radiation therapists provide radiation therapy to patients as prescribed by a radiologist according to established practices and standards.

A person working as a radiation therapist can expect to earn about $34 hourly or $72,550 annually on average in Florida and about $35 hourly or $72,910 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compared with people working in the overall category of Radiology, people working as radiation therapists in Florida earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Radiology nationally. Jobs in this field include: computed tomography simulation therapist , radiology therapist, and staff radiation therapist.

The Miami area is home to ninety-eight schools of higher education, including eight within twenty-five miles of Miami where you can get a degree as a radiation therapist. Given that the most common education level for radiation therapists is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, it will take about two years to learn 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 Miami 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.
  • Optometrist. Diagnose, manage, and treat conditions and diseases of the human eye and visual system. Examine eyes and visual system, diagnose problems or impairments, prescribe corrective lenses, and provide treatment. May prescribe therapeutic drugs to treat specific eye conditions.
  • Orthodontist. Examine, diagnose, and treat dental malocclusions and oral cavity anomalies. Design and fabricate appliances to realign teeth and jaws to produce and maintain normal function and to improve appearance.
  • 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

Broward College - Fort Lauderdale, FL

Broward College, 225 E las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. Broward College is a large college located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 33,527 students. Broward College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated seven and fifty-seven students respectively in 2008.

Keiser University-Ft. Lauderdale - Fort Lauderdale, FL

Keiser University-Ft. Lauderdale, 1500 NW 49th St., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309. Keiser University-Ft. Lauderdale is a large university located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 11,305 students and an admission rate of 41%. Keiser University-Ft. Lauderdale has an associate's degree program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated 415 students in 2008.

Florida National College - Hialeah, FL

Florida National College, 4425 West 20 Avenue, Hialeah, FL 33012. Florida National College is a small college located in Hialeah, Florida. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 2,398 students. Florida National College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated zero and 161 students respectively in 2008.

Medvance Institute-Fort Lauderdale - Lauderdale Lakes, FL

Medvance Institute-Fort Lauderdale, 4850 W. Oakland Park Blvd., Suite 200, Lauderdale Lakes, FL 33313. Medvance Institute-Fort Lauderdale is a small school located in Lauderdale Lakes, Florida. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 571 students. Medvance Institute-Fort Lauderdale has a two to four year program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated eighteen students in 2008.

Advance Science Institute - Hialeah, FL

Advance Science Institute, 3750 W 12 Ave, Hialeah, FL 33012. Advance Science Institute is a small school located in Hialeah, Florida. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs. It has 78 students and an admission rate of 17%. Advance Science Institute has a less than one year program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated fifty-nine students in 2008.

Medvance Institute-Miami - Miami, FL

Medvance Institute-Miami, 9035 Sunset Drive, Suite 200, Miami, FL 33173-3431. Medvance Institute-Miami is a small school located in Miami, Florida. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 281 students. Medvance Institute-Miami has a two to four year program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated two students in 2008.

Professional Training Centers - Miami, FL

Professional Training Centers, 13926 SW 47th Street, Miami, FL 33175. Professional Training Centers is a small school located in Miami, Florida. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 225 students. Professional Training Centers has a two to four year program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated 102 students in 2008.

Miami Dade College - Miami, FL

Miami Dade College, 300 NE 2nd Ave., Miami, FL 33132-2297. Miami Dade College is a large college located in Miami, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 57,106 students. Miami Dade College has an associate's degree program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated fifty-five 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: Miami, Florida

Miami, Florida
Miami, Florida photo by Averette

Miami is located in Miami-Dade County, Florida. It has a population of over 413,201, which has grown by 14.0% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Miami, 140, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Miami cost $273,500 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, thirty-seven new homes were built in Miami, down from seventy-three the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Miami are health care, accommodation and food services, and educational services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average travel time to work is about 28 minutes. More than 16.2% of Miami residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.7%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Miami is 12.5%, which is greater than Florida's average of 11.3%.

The percentage of Miami residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 39.6%, is less than both the national and state average. Church of Resurrection, Church of the Ascension and Church of the Incarnation are all churches located in Miami. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

Miami is home to the Edison West Little River Neighborhood Center and the Miamarina South Pier Light as well as Belle Meade Park and 54th Street Mini Park. Shopping malls in the area include Central Shopping Center, Northside Mall and Northside Shopping Center. Visitors to Miami can choose from AmeriSuites Miami / Kendall, Four Seasons Hotel Miami and Airways Airport Inn & Suites for temporary stays in the area.