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Career and Education Opportunities for Radiation Therapists in Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Sioux Falls, South Dakota provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for radiation therapists. The national trend for radiation therapists sees this job pool growing by about 27.1% over the next eight years. In general, radiation therapists provide radiation therapy to patients as prescribed by a radiologist according to established practices and standards.

The average wage in the general category of Radiology jobs is $37 per hour or $77,527 per year in South Dakota, and an average of $39 per hour or $82,078 per year nationwide. Jobs in this field include: staff radiation therapist, computed tomography simulation therapist , and radiation therapy technologist .

There are three schools within twenty-five miles of Sioux Falls where you can study to be a radiation therapist, among ten schools of higher education total in the Sioux Falls area. 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 Sioux Falls 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.
  • 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

Sanford Medical Center - Sioux Falls, SD

Sanford Medical Center, 1305 W. 18th Street, Sioux Falls, SD 57117-5039. Sanford Medical Center is a small school located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 27 students and an admission rate of 11%. Sanford Medical Center has a two to four year program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated thirteen students in 2008.

Avera McKennan Hospital School of Radiologic Technology - Sioux Falls, SD

Avera McKennan Hospital School of Radiologic Technology, 800 E 21st St, Sioux Falls, SD 57117-5045. Avera McKennan Hospital School of Radiologic Technology is a small school located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 22 students and an admission rate of 8%. Avera McKennan Hospital School of Radiologic Technology has a two to four year program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated ten students in 2008.

University of Sioux Falls - Sioux Falls, SD

University of Sioux Falls, 1101 W 22nd St, Sioux Falls, SD 57105-1699. University of Sioux Falls is a small university located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,564 students and an admission rate of 97%. University of Sioux Falls has a bachelor's degree program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated one student 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: Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Sioux Falls, South Dakota photo by AlexiusHoratius

Sioux Falls is located in Minnehaha County, South Dakota. It has a population of over 154,997, which has grown by 25.0% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Sioux Falls, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Sioux Falls cost $149,700 on average, which is above the state average. In 2008, five hundred eighty-six new homes were built in Sioux Falls, down from 1,000 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Sioux Falls are health care, finance and insurance, and educational services. For men, it is construction, finance and insurance, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 16 minutes. More than 27.8% of Sioux Falls residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Sioux Falls is 5.1%, which is greater than South Dakota's average of 4.5%.

The percentage of Sioux Falls residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 66.8%, is more than both the national and state average. Messiah Church, Sunnycrest Church and First Convenant Church are some of the churches located in Sioux Falls. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Methodist Church.

Sioux Falls is home to the Elmwood Golf Course and the Cactus Hills Country Club as well as Pioneers of Minnehaha County Monument and Picasso Park. Visitors to Sioux Falls can choose from Kelly Inn, Fairfield Inn Sioux Falls and Albert House for temporary stays in the area.