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Career and Education Opportunities for Radiation Therapists in Bismarck, North Dakota

For those living in the Bismarck, North Dakota area, there are many career and education opportunities for radiation therapists. There are currently seventy working radiation therapists in North Dakota; this should grow by 15% to eighty working radiation therapists in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for radiation therapists are expected to grow by about 27.1%. In general, radiation therapists provide radiation therapy to patients as prescribed by a radiologist according to established practices and standards.

Radiation therapists earn about $30 hourly or $62,830 yearly on average in North Dakota 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 North Dakota and less than people in the Radiology category nationally. Jobs in this field include: computed tomography simulation therapist , radiologic therapist, and registered radiation therapist.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Bismarck where you can study to be a radiation therapist, among six schools of higher education total in the Bismarck area. Radiation therapists usually hold an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, so you can expect to spend about two years training to become 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 Bismarck include:

  • Emergency Medical Technician. Assess injuries, administer emergency medical care, and extricate trapped individuals. Transport injured or sick persons to medical facilities.
  • 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 Mary - Bismarck, ND

University of Mary, 7500 University Dr, Bismarck, ND 58504. University of Mary is a small university located in Bismarck, North Dakota. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,851 students and an admission rate of 81%. University of Mary has a bachelor's degree program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated eighteen 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: Bismarck, North Dakota

Bismarck, North Dakota
Bismarck, North Dakota photo by Bobak

Bismarck is situated in Burleigh County, North Dakota. It has a population of over 60,389, which has grown by 8.7% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Bismarck, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Bismarck are valued at $168,700 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, two hundred fifty-nine new homes were built in Bismarck, down from two hundred seventy the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Bismarck are health care, educational services, and public administration. For men, it is construction, public administration, and health care. The average commute to work is about 14 minutes. More than 29.4% of Bismarck residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.7%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Bismarck is 2.7%, which is less than North Dakota's average of 3.2%. About 8.4% of Bismarck's residents are below the poverty line, which is better than the state average.

The percentage of Bismarck residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 77.8%, is more than both the national and state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Methodist Church.

Bismarck is home to Pioneer Park and Riverside Park. Shopping malls in the area include Kirkwood Plaza Shopping Center, Northbrook Shopping Center and Gateway Mall. Visitors to Bismarck can choose from Americinn Lodge & Suites, Super 8 of Bismarck and Ramada Inn for temporary stays in the area.