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Career and Education Opportunities for Radiation Therapists in Palm Bay, Florida

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for radiation therapists in the Palm Bay, Florida area. Currently, 860 people work as radiation therapists in Florida. This is expected to grow 32% to 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%. Radiation therapists generally 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 yearly on average in Florida and about $35 hourly or $72,910 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for radiation therapists are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Radiology in Florida and not quite as good as general Radiology category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: computed tomography simulation therapist , radiologic therapist, and radiation therapy technologist .

There are five schools of higher education in the Palm Bay area, including one within twenty-five miles of Palm Bay where you can get a degree to start your career as a radiation therapist. 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 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 Palm Bay include:

  • 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.
  • 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

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: Palm Bay, Florida

Palm Bay, Florida
Palm Bay, Florida photo by Cwolfsheep

Palm Bay is located in Brevard County, Florida. It has a population of over 100,786, which has grown by 26.9% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Palm Bay, 83, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Palm Bay are priced at $195,600 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred ninety-two new homes were built in Palm Bay, down from seven hundred thirty-nine the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Palm Bay are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, computer and electronic products, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 26 minutes. More than 16.7% of Palm Bay residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 4.9%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Palm Bay is 11.9%, which is greater than Florida's average of 11.3%.

The percentage of Palm Bay residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 39.2%, is less than both the national and state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Palm Bay is home to the Country Club Plaza and the Port Malabar Plaza. Shopping malls in the area include Palm Bay Shopping Center and Port Malabar Shopping Center. Visitors to Palm Bay can choose from Bay Breeze Restaurant and Bleachers Sports Bar & Grill for temporary stays in the area.