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Career and Education Opportunities for Radiation Therapists in Rochester, Minnesota

Radiation therapists can find many career and educational opportunities in the Rochester, Minnesota area. Currently, 160 people work as radiation therapists in Minnesota. This is expected to grow 35% to about 210 people 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.

Radiation therapists earn approximately $33 per hour or $69,800 per year on average in Minnesota. Nationally they average about $35 hourly or $72,910 annually. Earnings for radiation therapists are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Radiology in Minnesota and not quite as good as general Radiology category earnings nationally. Radiation therapists work in a variety of jobs, including: radiology therapist, registered radiation therapist, and radiation therapy technologist .

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Rochester where you can study to be a radiation therapist, among seven schools of higher education total in the Rochester 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

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 Rochester 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.
  • 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

Mayo School of Health Sciences - Rochester, MN

Mayo School of Health Sciences, 200 First St SW, Rochester, MN 55905. Mayo School of Health Sciences is a small school located in Rochester, Minnesota. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 302 students. Mayo School of Health Sciences has a two to four year program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated fourteen 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: Rochester, Minnesota

Rochester, Minnesota
Rochester, Minnesota photo by Jonathunder

Rochester is located in Olmsted County, Minnesota. It has a population of over 100,413, which has grown by 17.0% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Rochester, 79, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Rochester are priced at $233,700 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, two hundred eighty-seven new homes were constructed in Rochester, down from four hundred twenty the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Rochester are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is health care, computer and electronic products, and construction. The average commute to work is about 15 minutes. More than 38.1% of Rochester residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 15.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Rochester is 5.8%, which is less than Minnesota's average of 7.0%.

The percentage of Rochester residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 61.7%, is more than both the national and state average. Faith Family Church, Faith Harbor Church and Saint Francis Catholic Church are all churches located in Rochester. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church.

Rochester is home to the Soldiers Field Golf Course and the Guggenheim Building as well as Mohn Park and Manor Park. Shopping centers in the area include Apache Mall, Miracle Mile Shopping Center and Crossroads Shopping Center. Visitors to Rochester can choose from Best Western, Maria's and Econo Lodge Downtown for temporary stays in the area.