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Career and Education Opportunities for Radiation Therapists in Lewiston, Maine

For those living in the Lewiston, Maine area, there are many career and education opportunities for radiation therapists. There are currently 110 working radiation therapists in Maine; this should grow 26% to about 140 working radiation therapists in the state by 2016. 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 $60,770 yearly on average in Maine and about $35 hourly or $72,910 yearly on average nationally. Radiation therapists earn less than people working in the category of Radiology generally in Maine and less than people in the Radiology category nationally. Radiation therapists work in a variety of jobs, including: staff radiation therapist, radiologic therapist, and radiation therapy technologist .

The Lewiston area is home to ten schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Lewiston where you can get a degree as a radiation therapist. 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

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 Lewiston 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Radiation Therapist Training

Central Maine Community College - Auburn, ME

Central Maine Community College, 1250 Turner Street, Auburn, ME 04210-6498. Central Maine Community College is a small college located in Auburn, Maine. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,426 students. Central Maine Community College has an associate's degree program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated eleven students in 2008.

Saint Joseph's College of Maine - Standish, ME

Saint Joseph's College of Maine, 278 Whites Bridge Rd, Standish, ME 04084-5236. Saint Joseph's College of Maine is a small college located in Standish, Maine. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,771 students and an admission rate of 78%. Saint Joseph's College of Maine has a bachelor's degree program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated three 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.

LICENSES

Radiologic Therapist

Licensing agency: Department of Professional & Financial Regulation
Address: Office of Licensing and Registration, Attn: Geraldine Betts, Administrator, 35 State House Station, Gardiner Annex-Northern Avenue, Augusta, ME 04333-0035

Phone: (207) 624-8603
Website: Department of Professional & Financial Regulation Office of Licensing and Registration Attn: Geraldine Betts, Administrator

Radiologic Therapist-Limited

Licensing agency: Department of Professional & Financial Regulation
Address: Office of Licensing and Registration, Attn: Geraldine Betts, Administrator, 35 State House Station, Gardiner Annex-Northern Avenue, Augusta, ME 04333-0035

Phone: (207) 624-8603
Website: Department of Professional & Financial Regulation Office of Licensing and Registration Attn: Geraldine Betts, Administrator

LOCATION INFORMATION: Lewiston, Maine

Lewiston, Maine
Lewiston, Maine photo by Jonrouellette

Lewiston is located in Androscoggin County, Maine. It has a population of over 35,131, which has shrunk by 1.6% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Lewiston, 93, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Lewiston are valued at $166,000 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, thirty-two new homes were constructed in Lewiston, up from twenty-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Lewiston are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, educational services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 19 minutes. More than 12.6% of Lewiston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 4.0%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Lewiston is 8.5%, which is greater than Maine's average of 7.6%. About 15.5% of Lewiston's residents are below the poverty line, which is worse than the state average.

The percentage of Lewiston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 49.8%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Holy Cross Catholic Church, Spirit of Fire Evangelistic Church and Amazing Grace Mission are some of the churches located in Lewiston. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the American Baptist Churches in the USA and the United Methodist Church.

Lewiston is home to the Lewiston City Hall and the Stanton Museum as well as Thorncrag Bird Sanctuary and Elliot Little League Ball Fields. Shopping centers in the area include Shaws Plaza Center Shopping Center, North Wood Park Shopping Center and The Market Place Shopping Center. Visitors to Lewiston can choose from Motel 6, Maine Motel And Cabins and Dudley's for temporary stays in the area.