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Career and Education Opportunities for Radiation Therapists in Orlando, Florida

For those living in the Orlando, Florida area, there are many career and education opportunities for radiation therapists. 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 national trend for radiation therapists, which 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.

A person working as a radiation therapist can expect to earn about $34 per hour or $72,550 yearly on average in Florida and about $35 hourly or $72,910 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Radiation therapists earn less than people working in the category of Radiology generally in Florida and less than people in the Radiology category nationally. Radiation therapists work in a variety of jobs, including: registered radiation therapist, radiation therapy technologist , and staff radiation therapist.

There are six schools within twenty-five miles of Orlando where you can study to be a radiation therapist, among fifty schools of higher education total in the Orlando area. The most common level of education for radiation therapists is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree. You can expect to spend about two years training to become 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 Orlando 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

High-Tech Institute-Orlando - Orlando, FL

High-Tech Institute-Orlando, 3710 Maguire Blvd, Orlando, FL 32803. High-Tech Institute-Orlando is a small school located in Orlando, Florida. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 623 students. High-Tech Institute-Orlando has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated seven and thirty-eight students respectively in 2008.

Polk Community College - Winter Haven, FL

Polk Community College, 999 Avenue H NE, Winter Haven, FL 33881-4299. Polk Community College is a medium sized college located in Winter Haven, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,516 students. Polk Community College has an associate's degree program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated twenty-four students in 2008.

University of Central Florida - Orlando, FL

University of Central Florida, 4000 Central Florida Blvd, Orlando, FL 32816. University of Central Florida is a large university located in Orlando, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 50,181 students and an admission rate of 48%. University of Central Florida has a bachelor's degree program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated nineteen students in 2008.

Valencia Community College - Orlando, FL

Valencia Community College, 190 South Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801. Valencia Community College is a large college located in Orlando, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 35,652 students. Valencia Community College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated zero and twenty-three students respectively in 2008.

Orlando Tech - Orlando, FL

Orlando Tech, 301 W Amelia Street, Orlando, FL 32801-1197. Orlando Tech is a small school located in Orlando, Florida. It is a public school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 1,101 students. Orlando Tech has a less than one year program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated fifteen students in 2008.

Brevard Community College - Cocoa, FL

Brevard Community College, 1519 Clearlake Rd, Cocoa, FL 32922. Brevard Community College is a large college located in Cocoa, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,607 students. Brevard Community College has an associate's degree program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated twenty-nine 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: Orlando, Florida

Orlando, Florida
Orlando, Florida photo by A3RO

Orlando is situated in Orange County, Florida. It has a population of over 230,519, which has grown by 24.0% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Orlando, 91, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Orlando are valued at $217,400 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred forty-eight new homes were built in Orlando, down from six hundred twenty-two the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Orlando are accommodation and food services, health care, and educational services. For men, it is accommodation and food services, construction, and arts, entertainment, and recreation. The average travel time to work is about 25 minutes. More than 28.2% of Orlando residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Orlando is 11.1%, which is less than Florida's average of 11.3%.

The percentage of Orlando residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 40.2%, is less than both the national and state average. Church of Scientology of Orlando, Church of the Holy Spirit Episcopal and Metropolitan Community Church-Joy are some of the churches located in Orlando. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Orlando is home to the Dubsdread Country Club and the Conway Center as well as Mayor Carl Langford Park and Sunshine Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake Conway Woods Shopping Center, Colonial Plaza Mall and Coytown Shopping Center. Visitors to Orlando can choose from Blue Nile Hotel Liquidators, Clarion Hotel Universal and Buena Vista Suites for temporary stays in the area.