Radiation therapy is a radiologic and imaging sciences specialty that is one of the disciplines of radiation oncology. Radiation therapy is considered an entry-level profession in that students may enter GVSU without previous college experience and may aspire to complete the entire B.S. degree program in four years.
Radiation therapists practice in a collaborative effort between medical and radiation oncology physicians, medical physicists, dosimetrists, oncology nurses, dietitians, and social workers. Radiation therapists are responsible for accurately recording, interpreting, and administering the treatment prescribed by radiation oncologists. These responsibilities require highly specialized clinical skills as well as complex critical thinking in order to effectively contribute to the team approach to patient treatment.
Students receive didactic, laboratory, and clinical experiences in both existing and emerging radiation therapy practices in the university’s energized laboratories and through a clinical education system that requires students to attend full days of clinical practice under the direct supervision of registered radiation therapists at clinical education sites located as far as about three hours from GVSU (although most clinical assignments are within one hour from campus). Students must have transportation available to these sites.
Clinical experiences are available in both existing and emerging radiation therapy practices and procedures. These experiences may include treatment planning, computed tomography simulation, conventional simulation, quality assurance, brachytherapy, external beam therapy, stereotactic radiosurgery, intraoperative procedures, intensity modulated radiation therapy, image guided radiation therapy, and total body irradiation. Students will rotate through a minimum of three clinical facilities to ensure exposure to emerging technologies.
Students should be aware that prior to the beginning of their clinical courses, they must complete comprehensive health compliance obligations including but not limited to a criminal background check, finger printing, and drug screening. It is the responsibility of the student to comply. If there is illegal activity in the background check/finger printing or if there is evidence of one or more prohibited substances in the drug test, the clinical sites have the right to refuse a student’s placement, which may negatively impact a student’s ability to progress in the radiation therapy program. In addition, individuals who have been charged with or convicted of a crime may not be eligible for national certification by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Students to whom this may apply are strongly advised to work with the ARRT for preapplication review of eligibility for certification from their website at www.arrt.org (Ethics, Preapplication Process). The ARRT may be contacted by phone at (651) 687-0048 for more information.
Students who receive a B.S. degree in radiation therapy from GVSU are eligible for the ARRT examination in radiation therapy. Granting of the baccalaureate degree is not contingent on passing the ARRT examination.
The radiation therapy program is accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). The program adheres to JRCERT standards. Students have the right to notify the JRCERT if they believe the university is not adhering to these standards. The JRCERT is at 20 N. Wacker Dr., Suite 2850, Chicago, IL 60606-3182; phone (312) 704-5300.