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Career and Education Opportunities for Radiation Therapists in Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky

Radiation therapists can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky area. About 150 people are currently employed as radiation therapists in Kentucky. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 24% to about 190 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.

Radiation therapists earn about $29 per hour or $60,890 per year on average in Kentucky and about $35 per hour or $72,910 annually on average nationally. Incomes for radiation therapists are not quite as good as in the overall category of Radiology in Kentucky, and not quite as good as the overall Radiology category nationally. Radiation therapists work in a variety of jobs, including: radiology therapist, registered radiation therapist, and staff radiation therapist.

There are twenty-two schools of higher education in the Lexington-Fayette area, including one within twenty-five miles of Lexington-Fayette 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, 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

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 Lexington-Fayette 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

Bluegrass Community and Technical College - Lexington, KY

Bluegrass Community and Technical College, 470 Cooper Drive, Lexington, KY 40506. Bluegrass Community and Technical College is a large college located in Lexington, Kentucky. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 12,200 students. Bluegrass Community and Technical College has an associate's degree program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated thirty-five 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: Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky

Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky
Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky photo by Jonesey

Lexington-Fayette is located in Fayette County, Kentucky. It has a population of over 282,114, which has grown by 8.3% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Lexington-Fayette, 84, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Lexington-Fayette are valued at $167,600 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, seven hundred seventy-one new homes were built in Lexington-Fayette, down from 1,227 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Lexington-Fayette are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is educational services, construction, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 19 minutes. More than 35.6% of Lexington-Fayette residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 14.5%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Lexington-Fayette residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 47.3%, is less than both the national and state average. Victory Baptist Church, Aldersgate Church and Trinity Hill United Methodist Church are all churches located in Lexington-Fayette. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Lexington-Fayette is home to the Tates Creek Country Club and the Home of Henry Clay as well as Kentucky State Horse Park and Duncan Park. Shopping centers in the area include Fayette Mall, Turfland Mall and Lexington Mall.