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Career and Education Opportunities for Radiation Therapists in Boise, Idaho

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for radiation therapists in the Boise, Idaho area. There are currently 220 working radiation therapists in Idaho; this should grow by 32% to about 290 working radiation therapists in the state 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. 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 $23 per hour or $49,760 per year on average in Idaho and about $35 per hour 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 Idaho and less than people in the Radiology category nationally. People working as radiation therapists can fill a number of jobs, such as: radiation therapy technologist , dosimetrist, and registered radiation therapist.

There are eleven schools of higher education in the Boise area, including one within twenty-five miles of Boise where you can get a degree to start your career as a radiation therapist. Given that the most common education level 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 Boise 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.
  • 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

Boise State University - Boise, ID

Boise State University, 1910 University Dr, Boise, ID 83725. Boise State University is a large university located in Boise, Idaho. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 19,667 students and an admission rate of 81%. Boise State University has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated twenty-five and twenty-seven 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: Boise, Idaho

Boise, Idaho
Boise, Idaho photo by Dmharris26

Boise is situated in Ada County, Idaho. It has a population of over 205,314, which has grown by 10.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Boise, 90, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Boise are priced at $245,800 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, one hundred eighty-three new homes were built in Boise, down from four hundred twenty-six the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Boise are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is computer and electronic products, construction, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 18 minutes. More than 33.6% of Boise residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.6%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Boise is 9.2%, which is greater than Idaho's average of 8.3%.

The percentage of Boise residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 44.5%, is less than both the national and state average. The most common religious groups are the LDS (Mormon) Church, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.