Why Radiation Therapy?


Radiation therapy involves the use of high-energy radiation in the treatment of patients with malignant tumors. Registered radiation therapists are employed in major cancer treatment centers and in hospitals with radiation therapy departments.

Applicants to the certificate program are required to have graduated from a JRCERT (Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology)-accredited school of diagnostic radiography and must be currently ARRT (American Registry of Radiologic Technologists) board- certified in diagnostic radiography [RT(R)], with a minimum registry score of 80%.

The Associate degree program (A.S.) is a 2-year full-time program for students who do not already have a radiologic technology degree. Clinical experiences in a variety of health care facilities are included. Graduates of this program are eligible to apply to take the national credentialing examination in radiation therapy technology given by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.

Graduates have the opportunity to enter careers with strong earning potential.

Accreditation

Number of Programs Offered: 2

Program Type: Associate and Certificate

Date of Last Review: March, 2017

Date of Next Review: November, 2022

The Radiation Therapy program is accredited (current 5-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

 

What Type of Program Are You Looking For?

Radiation Therapy, A.S. (565.3) 

Radiation therapy involves the use of high energy radiation in the treatment of patients with malignant tumors. Registered radiation therapists are employed in major cancer treatment centers and in hospitals with radiation therapy departments. Graduates of this program are eligible to sit for the national credentialing exam in radiation therapy technology given by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.

Radiation Therapy, Certificate (566.2)

Radiation therapy involves the use of high energy radiation in the treatment of patients with malignant tumors. Registered radiation therapists are employed in major cancer treatment centers and in hospitals with radiation therapy departments. Graduates of this program are eligible to sit for the national credentialing exam in radiation therapy technology given by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.

Take the Next Step

 

Admission to Radiation Therapy

Please be aware that the prerequisites for the A.S. degree program are likely to change for the next program. In addition to Basic Physics (PHY 100), Biology (BIO 110 or BIO 151) and Algebra (MAT 108) will be Medical Terminology (ALH 140) and Anatomy & Physiology I (BIO 161). Where you see the listing of the degree requirements on the A.S degree page, you do not have to retake these two courses.

Additionally, this program is currently in the process of other curriculum revisions and the start of the program will be pushed to a spring 2024 start. Please check back after November 30, 2022 to see the updated changes.

  • Applicants must submit all components of an application packet.
  • A minimum GPA of 2.8 is required to apply
  • Enrollment is based upon the availability of clinical facilities, the quality of the applicant pool and current employment market conditions.
  • The average enrollment is about 12 students per program. 
  • The academic structure of the program does not accommodate part-time students, advanced placement students, or early release/graduation from the programs.
  • CCAC and those responsible for the administration and management of the Radiation Therapy Programs consider each applicant for admission without regards to age, sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, handicap, or veteran status.
  • Refer to the CCAC Student Handbook for other CCAC policies.

  • College-level:
    • Algebra (MAT 108- 4 credits)
    • Biology (BIO 151 or BIO 110 with lab- 4 credits)
    • Basic Physics (PHY 100 with lab- 4 credits)
    • Medical Terminology (ALH 140)
    • Anatomy & Physiology 1 (BIO 161 with lab- 4 credits)
  • A minimum score of "C" is required for consideration.
  • Advanced Placement High School courses with a "C" or better are accepted.

  1. Review all information on the RTH Program Page
  2. Email Kelli Collette @ [email protected] indicating your interest in applying and to set up a short discussion or meeting.
  3. Apply to CCAC if not already a CCAC student. Acceptance into CCAC does not guarantee admission into the program. A separate application is required for this program.
  4. Complete the prerequisite courses before applying to the program.
  5. Submit a completed application packet via electronic submission (recommended) to [email protected]
  6. If mailing, paperclip all documents and place in a USPS priority mailing envelope. Do not staple or place documents in a binder or folder and mail to: 
    •  Radiation Therapy Program c/o Kelli Collette, Community College of Allegheny County Milton Hall 613, 808 Ridge Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15212
  7. Email Kelli Collette indicating your interest and approximately when we should be receiving your packet. 

  • Allied Health Application (this is separate from applying to CCAC)
  • Official transcripts (may be submitted independently from academic institution)
  • Shadowing and video observations
  • Career essay
  • Resume
  • Minimum of 3 professional letters of reference/recommendation 

  1. Complete the Allied Health Application
    • It is preferred that you use the digital version from the website or download and print for legibility
  2. Schedule a shadowing/observation
    • Contact a radiation therapy department of your choice to schedule at least 8 hours of observation. A list of the affiliated centers is located on the program page. Download and print the Observation/Shadowing form to take with you. They will email it back to the program.
  3. View career videos from:
  4. Write a Career Essay
    • This should be about 3-4 pages, double-spaced in paragraph essay form. It should be thoughtful and organized using correct grammar and mechanics.
    • Include:
      • a brief description of the radiation therapy profession, why you have chosen the field, an explanation of career goal(s) and why you should be accepted into the program.
      • at least 4 specific things learned from the career videos and how or why that integrates with the topics in part (i). 
      • an example of how you have used your communication skills to improve a situation leadership positions, community service, previous healthcare experience, customer service, or life experiences that support your motivation, qualifications or academic record.
      • at least one reference to an additional scholarly article, database or website that supports a topic within your essay. 
  5. Update your Resume
    • Unless you have an abundance of professional work experience, limit the resume to 1 page.
    • For non-bachelor degree holders, include all education and professional, health-related or customer service experiences that demonstrate responsibility, work ethics/skills, community service participation, awards, certifications, other 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. 
  6. Include a minimum of 3 letters of reference/recommendation. 
    • Referral letters may be from a current or previous employer, colleague, youth leader, instructor, guidance counselor, pastor, community service leader you volunteered with, or non-related person who knows you well enough to provide an example that supports your work ethics, communication skills, goals, and personal attributes.
    • Some authors may choose to submit these independently. Email to [email protected].
  7. Request official transcripts from:
    • High school (for non-post degree holders). 
    • All post-secondary schools attended. If you are a current or former CCAC student, we can access your transcripts.
    • Send official transcripts to [email protected].

  • The evaluation process takes after the application deadline, when all applications have been received. 
  • Each applicant is scored based on prerequisite course grades, other degree requirement course grades-especially math and sciences, career essay, overall GPA(s), observation feedback, health-care related experience, or customer service or related experience(s), and recommendations.
  • The top 24 applicants with the highest point totals will be selected for an interview. 
  • Applicants who are qualified for the interview stage will be notified via email letter.
  • During the interview stage, applicants are assessed on quality of responses, communication and interpersonal skills and foundational prerequisite knowledge. 
  • Acceptance is offered to the most highly qualified applicants and is limited to 12 students.
  • All applicants will be notified via email letter indicating acceptance or not. 
    3 applicants will be placed on a wait-list and may be offered a position should a vacancy occur on the original roster. 
  • The program reserves the right to re-evaluate and potentially rescind an offer of admission should adverse conditions involving the student's academic, clinical, and/or professional performance develop between the time of notification and the start of the program.

  • Students must maintain an 80% or higher final score in all "RTH" courses and an overall GPA of 2.8 or higher to remain in the RTH program.
  • "RTH" courses use the CCAC Allied Health Program Grading Scale:
    • 100-93: A
    • 85-92: B
    • 75-84: C
  • Non-"RTH" courses use the standard CCAC grading scale.
  • Students are also required to complete a student learning portfolio and score 75% or better on a final mock certification examination in order to graduate from the RTH Program.

  • After acceptance notification, applicants will receive instructions for registration, textbooks, and health and background clearances. 
  • All Allied Health programs at CCAC utilize CastleBranch services for criminal background screening, drug testing and compliance management. Instructions will be provided after acceptance.
  • Do not obtain clearances until after notification of acceptance.  Clearances dated before the notification of acceptance may not be accepted.  

  • Tuition is variable with residency and credits: CCAC tuition and fees calculator
  • Books: A.S.: variable depending on the classes needed, about $400
  • Radiation monitoring device: about $35/semester.
  • CastleBranch fee for drug screening, immunization and clearance compliance: about $195
  • Registry exam review webinar (last semester): $100.
  • Registry application fee: $250.
  • Students are responsible for fees associated with medical examinations, immunizations/ labs, scrubs/clinical attire, transportation costs and parking fees. Most sites offer free parking.  

  • Classes and clinical assignments are scheduled Monday through Friday for the duration of the 2-year program.
  • Students may be required to attend class on campus and participate in clinical laboratory exercises or clinical education experiences during the same day (not frequent).
  • Clinical hours are from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm but may vary with facility and patient load.
  • There are no clinical hours in the evenings or on weekends.
  • Students are placed at a different free-standing or hospital-based clinic each semester.
  • All JRCERT-approved clinical facilities affiliated with the program are in the Pittsburgh and regional area and are listed on the RTH program page. Students may only attend the listed clinical facilities.
  • Students have the option to submit their choices, but clinical assignments are determined in a non-discriminatory manner at the discretion of the program based upon facility workload and maximum capacity limitations, advanced technology opportunities, facility restrictions, as well as each student's educational needs, prior learning experiences, and required clinical proficiencies. 
  • Students are responsible for their own transportation to clinical facilities. While not typical, students should be prepared that travel to a site up to 90 minutes away is possible.
  • We do not have special uniform. Recommended clinical attire is solid colored scrubs, tennis shoes, and lab coat. Medium grays, blues and greens are good; avoid black, patterns and bright colors.

  • Spring and Fall semesters are M-W-F
  • Summers are M-F
  • There are no clinical days in the first semester.

  • See the FAQ, Technical and Behavioral Standards and other links on the RTH program page.
  • Contact Kelli Collette at [email protected] to schedule a meeting.  

Radiation Therapy Mission & Goals

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:

  1. Students will accurately position equipment for treatment delivery.
  2. Students will accurately position patients for treatment delivery. 

Student learning outcomes:

  1. Students will use effective oral communication skills with patients and members of the healthcare team.
  2. Students will demonstrate proper written communication abilities.

Student learning outcomes:

  1. Students will assess treatment images for positioning accuracy.
  2. Students will critically evaluate discrepancies in treatment setup scenarios.

Student learning outcomes:

  1. Students will demonstrate knowledge of health and safety policies.
  2. Students will demonstrate professional conduct at clinical facilities. 

Additional Information

For information regarding Radiation Therapy admissions and clinical experiences, please visit the resources below:

Radiation Therapy Effectiveness and Graduate Outcomes

Clinical Education Settings

Technical and Behavioral Standards, Essential Functions

Frequently Asked Questions

Shadowing Observation Form

Contact Information

Kelli Collette

Email us to request more information!

If you would like more information about our Allied Health Programs, please email us! CCAC secretaries are ready to answer all of your questions!