What is a Radiation Therapist?
A radiation therapist is an integral member of the cancer care team who administers therapeutic doses of precisely focused, high-energy radiation to eradicate cancer. Radiation therapists demonstrate an understanding of human anatomy and physiology, pathology, medical terminology, oncology, radiobiology, radiation physics, radiation oncology techniques, radiation safety and the psychosocial aspects of cancer. Radiation therapists are employed in hospital departments or free-standing cancer clinics.
The Radiation Therapy program at CCAC is a rigorous, limited-enrollment program. Applicants must demonstrate superior academics, excellent technical skills, and strong interpersonal traits to be successful. Applicants must also be well-organized, self-motivated, adaptable, and calm under pressure, as well as demonstrate patience and compassion while providing close, daily care for patients with cancer.
CCAC offers two program pathways: a one-year post-degree Certificate pathway and a two-year Associate of Science degree pathway. Both pathways are designed to prepare graduates to perform radiation therapy procedures and related tasks under the supervision of a licensed radiation therapist. The pathways offer dynamic and innovative learning environments for clinical training in Pittsburgh’s distinguished medical health systems.
Education includes the Virtual Environment in Radiotherapy Training (VERT) system, a simulated, immersive learning platform to engage in the practice of radiation therapy concepts and develop technical skills. The career-oriented and competency-based curriculums offer active engagement and collaboration to transition theoretical knowledge learned in the classroom into applicable competent and compassionate care in the clinical setting.
At the end of either pathway, graduates are equally eligible to sit for the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) national Radiation Therapy Certification Examination and are qualified for an entry-level position as a radiation therapist. Opportunities for growth include advanced level radiation therapist, management, dosimetry, quality improvement, radiation physics, information technology, education, executive administration, and radiation therapy equipment applications, service and sales.
Applicants will complete background clearances and immunizations after acceptance. Applicants must be of good moral character and abide by the ARRT Standards of Ethics. Convictions need to be reported to and pre-approved by the ARRT prior to starting the program. The ARRT will not permit a student with a felony record to sit for the national certification examination.
Learn more about the admission process and requirements below.
Number of Programs Offered: 2
Program Type: Associate and Certificate
Date of Last Review: November, 2022
Date of Next Review: November, 2030
The Radiation Therapy program is accredited (current 8-year accreditation) by and has conformed its curriculum to the standards published and monitored by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT), 20 North Wacker Drive, Suite 2850, Chicago, IL 60608-3182; 312.704.5300, www.jrcert.org.
Middle States Accreditation
In addition to the accreditation by ACEN, CCAC's Radiation Therapy program is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Status: Accreditation Reaffirmed
Last Reaffirmation: 2018
Next Self-Study Evaluation: 2025-2026
Radiation Therapy, A.S. (565.3)
The Radiation Therapy A.S. degree program is a rigorous six-semester commitment including summer semesters, designed for most applicants. This program starts in the spring semester of even years. Applications are accepted between June 1 and August 31 in the year before the start. A minimum GPA of 2.8 and a “C” or higher in the prerequisite courses are required. Prerequisite courses must be completed prior to application include:
- Intermediate Algebra (MAT 108) or equivalent, 4 credits
- Basic Physics with lab (PHY 100) or equivalent, 4 credits
- Anatomy & Physiology I with lab (BIO 161) or equivalent, 4 credits
- Medical Terminology (AL 140) or equivalent, 3 credits
Radiation Therapy, Certificate (566.2)
The one-year post-degree certificate program is designed for applicants who have completed a JRCERT- accredited A.S. or B.S. program in Radiologic Technology. Applications are accepted between January 1 and March 31 each year. A minimum GPA of 2.8 and a score of 80 or higher on the ARRT examination in Radiography are required.
The Radiation Therapy program at CCAC emphasized professionalism, teamwork and clinical competency throughout the learning process. I learned current procedures and techniques using the latest technological advances in radiation therapy treatments to make me qualified for a well-paying career. The faculty and clinical staff were devoted to my success through academic, technical and personal guidance and they inspired me to learn more to achieve and exceed my goals. I am the radiation therapist I want to be due to their unfailing support.
Before applying to the Radiation Therapy program, applicants must first read the information posted below.
Enrollment is limited by availability of clinical sites and other factors. The academic structure of the program does not accommodate part-time students, advanced placement students, or early release/graduation from the programs.
- Read each informational tab below.
- View Career Videos and schedule first Career Exploration hours.
- Apply to CCAC, receive student ID number, submit official transcripts, meet with an academic advisor, take placements tests (degree-seeking applicants only) and register for the prerequisites.
- Apply to the Radiation Therapy program during the open application window using the link in the blue banner above.
View Career Videos
- Becoming a Radiation Therapist- What is it really like?
- Produced at the University of Otago in Wellington, New Zealand
- Radiation Therapist Career Video
- Produced by the Dr. Kit Career Video website.
- WORKING IT: Radiation Therapist
- Produced by WOSU Public Media to provide an overview of the career.
- Radiation Therapy as a Profession
- Produced by Radiation Therapist, Christen Dority who gives a personal overview of the profession.
- A Step-by-Step Guide to Radiation Therapy at UPMC
- Produced by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Hillman Cancer Center to guide a patient through the procedure in Radiation Therapy.
Schedule a Career Exploration
The Career Exploration requirement is a two-step process where you are actively involved in observing and participating with working Radiation Therapists during their day.
- The first part is to participate in a Career Exploration before you move forward with completing the steps to apply for the Radiation Therapy program. This is critical to determine if Radiation Therapy is the right career choice for you. This should be at minimum, four hours.
- Then, within six months of submitting your Radiation Therapy program application, an additional eight hours, at minimum, is required.
- To schedule, contact a radiation therapy department of your choice to make the arrangements. You may use the list of Clinical Education Settings that are affiliated with the CCAC program to find locations.
- Download the Career Exploration Evaluation Form to take with you. The staff will complete the form and return it directly to the program.
- For Certificate program applicants, you may use the specials rotation time in Radiation Therapy during the Radiography program for the first step, but you must complete an additional eight hours after that. You may need to request a second day or observe on you own time.
- Official and Unofficial Transcripts
Official transcripts will be requested/uploaded during the application to CCAC procedure.
Unofficial (copies) of transcripts will need uploaded with the Radiation Therapy Program application.
- A Career Essay
This should be about 3-4 pages, double-spaced in paragraph essay form. It should be thoughtful but succinct and organized with correct grammar and mechanics.
a brief description of what you know about the radiation therapy profession and why you have chosen to pursue a career in the field,
an explanation of your career goal(s) and why you should be accepted into the program,
at least two things you learned during the Career Exploration,
at least 3 specific things you learned from the career videos and how or why that integrates with your goals or why you should be chosen,
an example of how you have used your communication skills to improve a situation
examples of leadership roles community service, previous healthcare experience, customer service, or life experiences that support your motivation, qualifications or career goals,
at least one reference to a peer-reviewed or scholarly article, database or website that supports any topic within your essay.
- A Current Resume
Limit the resume to 1 page, unless you have an abundance of professional work experience.
Include all education and professional, health-related or customer service experiences that demonstrate responsibility, work ethics and abilities, community service participation, awards, certifications, other pertinent skills.
If you have a bachelor’s degree or higher, only post-secondary education needs to be included.
Include the name and phone number of your current work supervisor/manager.
- Three Letters (at minimum) of References/Recommendation
Referral letters may be from a current or previous employer, instructor, colleague, youth leader, guidance counselor, pastor, community service leader you volunteered with, or another non-related person who knows you well enough to provide examples that demonstrate your work ethics, communication skills, goals, and personal attributes.
Authors who choose to submit a letter directly to the program may email the letter to [email protected].
- The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) Radiography Examination Score
This is for Certificate program applicants only.
A minimum score of 80 is required for admission.
The Radiation Therapy courses are part of the Allied Health Program course which uses a grading scale independent of the general education courses. Grades are assigned as follows:
A = 100-93
B = 92-85
C = 84-75
D = 74-65
F = 64 and below
Students must maintain an 80% or higher final score in all Radiation Therapy (RTH) courses and an overall GPA of 2.8 or higher to remain in the Radiation Therapy program and to advance to the next semester. A score of less than 80% will result is dismissal from the program.
Students are also required to achieve a 75% or better on a final mock certification examination to graduate from the program
Clinical days are Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the spring and fall semester and Monday through Friday in the summer semester.
Clinical hours are from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm during the week; there are no clinical hours in the evenings or on the weekends.
Students are assigned to a different clinic education setting each semester at the discretion of the program faculty based on patient workload, advanced technology opportunities, clinical setting’s capacity limitations and restrictions, students’ individual educational needs, prior learning experiences, and required clinical proficiencies.
Students are only assigned to JRCERT-approved clinical facilities affiliated with the program in the Pittsburgh and regional area.
Students are responsible for their own transportation to clinical education settings and must account for traffic and weather conditions to arrive on time. While not typical, students should be prepared that travel up to 90 minutes away is possible.
Recommended attire at the clinical education settings is solid colored scrubs, tennis shoes, and lab coat (if desired). Medium grays, blues and greens are good; avoid black, patterns and bright colors
All candidates will be notified of their status in writing within one month of the application deadline.
The top 24 candidates that meet the admission criteria will be scheduled for a personal interview by the Radiation Therapy Admissions Committee.
After interviews are complete, those candidates will be notified of their acceptance or declination in writing within 2 weeks of the interview. Two candidates will be placed on a wait list.
After confirming their seat, accepted applicants will receive instructions on course registration, textbooks, health, drug and background clearances, and much more.
Do not obtain clearances until receiving these instructions. Clearances dated before the notification of acceptance will not be accepted.
Unsatisfactory or incomplete background and health clearances, or inability to complete requirements by the designated deadlines will result in the revocation of the admission offer.
The Edward Rogow, MD Memorial Endowed Scholarship was established to assist students in the Radiation Therapy program at CCAC. In order to apply for the scholarship, students must meet the following criteria:
- Be enrolled (accepted) in the Radiation Therapy program
- Be enrolled full-time at CCAC
- Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0
More scholarships are available through the CCAC Educational Foundation based on academic achievements and financial needs. To find out more and apply visit the Scholarships & Student Funding page.
Additionally, the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) offers numerous scholarships for student members.
- Current college tuition and fees
- Required textbooks and supplies
- Radiation Dosimeter
- Registry Review webinar
- Transportation and costs related to clinical sites (most offer free parking)
- Fees associated with the required medical evaluation, immunizations, drug screening, criminal history and child abuse clearances
- Clinical attire
The mission of the program is to provide a quality education to radiation therapy students learning to administer ionizing radiation to patients according to the physician's prescription. In order to fulfill this mission, the following goals and student learning outcomes have been adopted:
Student learning outcomes:
- Students will accurately position equipment for treatment delivery.
- Students will accurately position patients for treatment delivery.
Student learning outcomes:
- Students will use effective oral communication skills with patients and members of the healthcare team.
- Students will demonstrate proper written communication abilities.
Student learning outcomes:
- Students will assess treatment images for positioning accuracy.
- Students will critically evaluate discrepancies in treatment setup scenarios.
Student learning outcomes:
- Students will demonstrate knowledge of health and safety policies.
- Students will demonstrate professional conduct at clinical facilities.
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