How to Become a Radiation Therapist

You can really help people battling cancer as a radiation therapist. Radiation therapists are a valuable part of a medical radiation oncology team, using machines to treat patients' cancerous tumors. Although the job is not for the weak-hearted, it can be incredibly rewarding. Here's how you can become a radiation therapist:

  1. Complete a degree program Some radiation therapist programs can be as short as one year and result in a certificate or diploma that can help you get a job [source: All Allied Health Schools]. Most employers however, will want you to have an associate's or bachelor's degree in radiation therapy. You could also get an associate's degree in radiography and then complete a one-year American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) accredited certificate program in radiation therapy [source: BLS].
  2. Attain certification Being certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists will not only boost your chances of finding a job as a radiation therapist, it will also likely yield better pay. You become certified upon completing an American Registry of Radiologic Technologists accredited program, demonstrating adherence to standards and passing a written exam [source: Education-portal]. Not all states and employers will require certification, but you may need to renew your certification yearly by following ethical standards, paying dues and continuing your education [source: BLS].
  3. Become licensed in your state As of 2009, 33 states required licensing for radiation therapists. Licensing requirements vary from state to state. Check with your state licensing board to see what's required of you [source: BLS].