Career and Education Opportunities for Radiation Therapists in Houston, Texas
Many educational and employment opportunities exist for radiation therapists in the Houston, Texas area. About 830 people are currently employed as radiation therapists in Texas. By 2016, this is expected to grow 41% to about 1,170 people employed. 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. In general, radiation therapists provide radiation therapy to patients as prescribed by a radiologist according to established practices and standards.
Income for radiation therapists is about $36 per hour or $76,480 annually on average in Texas. Nationally, their income is about $35 hourly or $72,910 per year. Incomes for radiation therapists are not quite as good as in the overall category of Radiology in Texas, and not quite as good as the overall Radiology category nationally. People working as radiation therapists can fill a number of jobs, such as: radiologic therapist, dosimetrist, and radiation therapy technologist .
There are eighty-one schools of higher education in the Houston area, including five within twenty-five miles of Houston where you can get a degree to start your career 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
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 Houston 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
The Academy of Health Care Professions - Houston, TX
The Academy of Health Care Professions, 240 Northwest Mall, Houston, TX 77092. The Academy of Health Care Professions is a small school located in Houston, Texas. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 405 students and an admission rate of 100%. The Academy of Health Care Professions has a one to two year program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated eighty-five students in 2008.
Galveston College - Galveston, TX
Galveston College, 4015 Ave Q, Galveston, TX 77550-7496. Galveston College is a small college located in Galveston, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,232 students. Galveston College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated four and three students respectively in 2008.
The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center - Houston, TX
The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Blvd., Houston, TX 77030-4009. The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center is a small university located in Houston, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 203 students. The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center has a one to two year and a bachelor's degree program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated zero and twenty-one students respectively in 2008.
Lone Star College System - The Woodlands, TX
Lone Star College System, 5000 Research Forest Drive, The Woodlands, TX 77381-4399. Lone Star College System is a large college located in The Woodlands, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 41,331 students. Lone Star College System has an associate's degree program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated thirty-six students in 2008.
Medvance Institute-Houston - Houston, TX
Medvance Institute-Houston, 6220 Westpark, Suite 180, Houston, TX 77057. Medvance Institute-Houston is a small school located in Houston, Texas. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 359 students. Medvance Institute-Houston has a two to four year program in Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist which graduated twenty-three students in 2008.
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: Houston, Texas
Houston is located in Harris County, Texas. It has a population of over 2,242,193, which has grown by 14.8% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Houston, 89, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Houston are valued at $173,500 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, 3,684 new homes were constructed in Houston, down from 6,035 the previous year.
The top three industries for women in Houston are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average commute to work is about 27 minutes. More than 27.0% of Houston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.7%, is higher than the state average.
The unemployment rate in Houston is 8.0%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.
The percentage of Houston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 50.4%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. El Buen Pastor United Methodist Church, 34th Temple Church of God in Christ and Pentecostal Church of God in Christ are some of the churches located in Houston. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.
Houston is home to the Champion Rod and Gun Club and the Independence Heights Residential Historic District as well as Hermann Park and Hennessey Park. Shopping centers in the area include Windsor Plaza Shopping Center, Meyerland Plaza Shopping Center and Meyerland Shopping Center. Visitors to Houston can choose from Capital Inn, Bradford Homesuites - Houston Galleria and Best Western Fountainview Inn and Suites for temporary stays in the area.