Career and Education Opportunities for Radiation Therapists in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Radiation therapists can find many career and educational opportunities in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa area. About 100 people are currently employed as radiation therapists in Iowa. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 24% to 120 people employed. This is not quite as good as 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.
Income for radiation therapists is about $29 hourly or $61,780 annually on average in Iowa. Nationally, their income is about $35 per hour or $72,910 yearly. Earnings for radiation therapists are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Radiology in Iowa and not quite as good as general Radiology category earnings nationally. People working as radiation therapists can fill a number of jobs, such as: radiologic therapist, dosimetrist, and radiation therapy technologist .
There is one school within twenty-five miles of Cedar Rapids where you can study to be a radiation therapist, among thirteen schools of higher education total in the Cedar Rapids area. Radiation therapists usually hold an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, so 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
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 Cedar Rapids 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.
- 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
University of Iowa - Iowa City, IA
University of Iowa, 101 Jessup Hall, Iowa City, IA 52242-1316. University of Iowa is a large university located in Iowa City, Iowa. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 29,475 students and an admission rate of 82%. University of Iowa has a two to four year program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated fifty-eight students in 2008.
Nuclear Cardiology Technologist: Professional certification is a vital component of a successful career.
For more information, see the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board website.
Licensing agency: Bureau of Radiological Health Des Moines, IA 50309
Phone: (515) 725-0306
Website: Bureau of Radiological Health
LOCATION INFORMATION: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Cedar Rapids is located in Linn County, Iowa. It has a population of over 128,056, which has grown by 6.0% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Cedar Rapids, 78, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Cedar Rapids are valued at $103,900 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred ninety-nine new homes were built in Cedar Rapids, up from two hundred ninety-eight the previous year.
The three big industries for women in Cedar Rapids are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 17 minutes. More than 28.4% of Cedar Rapids residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.4%, is lower than the state average.
The unemployment rate in Cedar Rapids is 6.0%, which is less than Iowa's average of 6.1%.
The percentage of Cedar Rapids residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.0%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Seventh Day Church of God, Sevanth-Day Adventist Church and Hope Lutheran Church are some of the churches located in Cedar Rapids. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Cedar Rapids is home to the Brucemore and the Admissions Office as well as Tomahawk Park and Noelridge Park. Shopping centers in the area include Mays Shopping Center, Lindale Plaza Shopping Center and Town and Country Shopping Center. Visitors to Cedar Rapids can choose from Howard Johnson, Marriott Cedar Rapids and Clarion Hotel & Convention Center for temporary stays in the area.