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Career and Education Opportunities for Radiation Therapists in Boston, Massachusetts

If you want to be a radiation therapist, the Boston, Massachusetts area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. About 540 people are currently employed as radiation therapists in Massachusetts. By 2016, this is expected to grow 22% to about 660 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 $39 hourly or $82,200 per year on average in Massachusetts and about $35 per hour or $72,910 yearly on average nationally. Radiation therapists earn less than people working in the category of Radiology generally in Massachusetts and less than people in the Radiology category nationally. Jobs in this field include: computed tomography simulation therapist , registered radiation therapist, and radiology therapist.

There are 151 schools of higher education in the Boston area, including nine within twenty-five miles of Boston where you can get a degree to start your career 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 Boston 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.
  • Optometrist. Diagnose, manage, and treat conditions and diseases of the human eye and visual system. Examine eyes and visual system, diagnose problems or impairments, prescribe corrective lenses, and provide treatment. May prescribe therapeutic drugs to treat specific eye conditions.
  • 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

Northern Essex Community College - Haverhill, MA

Northern Essex Community College, 100 Elliott Street, Haverhill, MA 01830-2399. Northern Essex Community College is a medium sized college located in Haverhill, Massachusetts. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,020 students. Northern Essex Community College has an associate's degree program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated twenty-one students in 2008.

Suffolk University - Boston, MA

Suffolk University, 8 Ashburton Pl Beacon Hill, Boston, MA 02108-2770. Suffolk University is a medium sized university located in Boston, Massachusetts. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 7,783 students and an admission rate of 82%. Suffolk University has one to two year, two to four year, and bachelor's degree programs in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated one, zero, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Massasoit Community College - Brockton, MA

Massasoit Community College, One Massasoit Boulevard, Brockton, MA 02302-3996. Massasoit Community College is a medium sized college located in Brockton, Massachusetts. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,394 students. Massasoit Community College has an associate's degree program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated thirty-one students in 2008.

Middlesex Community College - Bedford, MA

Middlesex Community College, Springs Rd, Bedford, MA 01730-9124. Middlesex Community College is a medium sized college located in Bedford, Massachusetts. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,511 students. Middlesex Community College has an associate's degree program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated sixteen students in 2008.

Quinsigamond Community College - Worcester, MA

Quinsigamond Community College, 670 West Boylston Street, Worcester, MA 01606-2092. Quinsigamond Community College is a medium sized college located in Worcester, Massachusetts. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,227 students. Quinsigamond Community College has an associate's degree program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated twenty students in 2008.

Roxbury Community College - Roxbury Crossing, MA

Roxbury Community College, 1234 Columbus Ave, Roxbury Crossing, MA 02120-3400. Roxbury Community College is a small college located in Roxbury Crossing, Massachusetts. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,561 students. Roxbury Community College has an associate's degree program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated eight students in 2008.

Laboure College - Boston, MA

Laboure College, 2120 Dorchester Ave, Boston, MA 02124-5698. Laboure College is a small college located in Boston, Massachusetts. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 610 students and an admission rate of 62%. Laboure College has an associate's degree program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated seven students in 2008.

Massachusetts Bay Community College - Wellesley Hills, MA

Massachusetts Bay Community College, 50 Oakland St, Wellesley Hills, MA 02481-5399. Massachusetts Bay Community College is a medium sized college located in Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,975 students. Massachusetts Bay Community College has an associate's degree program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated twenty-eight students in 2008.

Bunker Hill Community College - Boston, MA

Bunker Hill Community College, 250 New Rutherford Ave, Boston, MA 02129-2925. Bunker Hill Community College is a medium sized college located in Boston, Massachusetts. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,500 students. Bunker Hill Community College has an associate's degree program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated forty 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: Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts photo by Ahonc

Boston is situated in Suffolk County, Massachusetts. It has a population of over 609,023, which has grown by 3.4% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Boston, 136, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Boston are valued at $216,200 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, twenty-three new homes were constructed in Boston, down from forty-eight the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Boston are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, educational services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 29 minutes. More than 35.6% of Boston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 15.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Boston is 8.2%, which is less than Massachusetts's average of 8.4%.

The percentage of Boston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.0%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Brighton Congregational Church, Leslie Lindsay Chapel and Universalist Meeting House are some of the churches located in Boston. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Episcopal Church.

Boston is home to the Metropolitan Water Works Pumping Stations and the Mystic Pier 1 as well as Schoolboy Stadium and Liberty Square. Shopping centers in the area include Legion Shopping Center, Longwood Galleria Shopping Center and Neponset Circle Shopping Center. Visitors to Boston can choose from Federalist Restaurant, Eco-Logical Solutions and Omni Parker Hotel for temporary stays in the area.