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Career and Education Opportunities for Radiation Therapists in Port St. Lucie, Florida

There are many career and education opportunities for radiation therapists in the Port St. Lucie, Florida area. About 860 people are currently employed as radiation therapists in Florida. By 2016, this is expected to grow 32% to about 1,140 people employed. 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. Radiation therapists generally provide radiation therapy to patients as prescribed by a radiologist according to established practices and standards.

Radiation therapists earn approximately $34 hourly or $72,550 annually on average in Florida. Nationally they average about $35 hourly or $72,910 per year. 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: staff radiation therapist, registered radiation therapist, and radiologic therapist.

The Port St. Lucie area is home to five schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Port St. Lucie where you can get a degree 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 Port St. Lucie 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.
  • 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

Indian River State College - Fort Pierce, FL

Indian River State College, 3209 Virginia Ave, Fort Pierce, FL 34981-5596. Indian River State College is a large college located in Fort Pierce, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 15,366 students. Indian River State College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated zero and twelve students respectively 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: Port St. Lucie, Florida

Port St. Lucie, Florida
Port St. Lucie, Florida photo by Bgag

Port St. Lucie is located in St. Lucie County, Florida. It has a population of over 154,353, which has grown by 73.9% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Port St. Lucie, 89, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Port St. Lucie are valued at $113,200 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, five hundred thirteen new homes were built in Port St. Lucie, down from 1,281 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Port St. Lucie are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average commute to work is about 28 minutes. More than 15.0% of Port St. Lucie residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 4.8%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Port St. Lucie is 13.0%, which is greater than Florida's average of 11.3%.

The percentage of Port St. Lucie residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 38.6%, is less than both the national and state average. Port Saint Lucie Methodist Church, Saint Lucie Catholic Church and Unitarian Universalist Church Indian River are among the churches located in Port St. Lucie. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.