How to qualify as a Radiation Therapist in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania offers several educational options to individuals interested in qualifying as a Radiation Therapist. Programs of study in either university or community college settings that lead to either a bachelor’s or associate level degrees in Radiation Therapy are available for those without a previous degree.
In addition, candidates who have previously studied radiological science and have qualified as radiologists can choose to widen their knowledge and employment options by gaining a post-graduate certificate in Radiation Therapy.
How to obtain professional credentials as a Radiation Therapist in Pennsylvania
Professional credentials may be obtained from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) once the candidate has met the organization’s key requirements for member registration.
The first of the key requirements is that the candidate meets the organization’s expected standards of ethics and behavior. Candidates are required to review the ARRT Standard of Ethics document and answer ethics-related questions on their application. These questions inquire into previous behavior and include a requirement to disclose any prior convictions for felonies or misdemeanors.
Secondly, candidates must present evidence that they have successfully completed an approved and accredited program of education in Radiation Therapy. In addition, they must hold a minimum of an associate degree. This may be in any subject area.
Finally, candidates are required to demonstrate professional proficiency by passing the ARRT registration examination with a scaled score of at least 75. This four-hour test is computer-based and is made up of around 200 questions. The material examined is based upon the curriculum of standard Radiation Therapy education programs and includes topic area such as health and safety in radiation therapy, oncology concepts and treatments, and principles for patient care.
Possession of professional credentials can help candidates who are looking for employment as Radiation Therapists to evidence their competence and knowledge. This can be particularly important in states that do not currently require Radiation Therapists to be licensed, such as Pennsylvania. In states where individuals are required to obtain a license then professional credentials are often required in order to obtain the license. This may be the case in Pennsylvania in the future.
Continued possession of professional credentials is dependent upon registered members demonstrating that they are keeping their knowledge and skills current by studying for Continuing Education and Continuing Qualification credits on a regular basis.
How to become a licensed Radiation Therapist in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania does not currently require Radiation Therapists to obtain a license. Control of radiation producing equipment in Pennsylvania is managed by the Radiation Control Division. However, a bill is currently in the process through the Pennsylvania State Legislature which, if passed, would require examination and licensure of Radiation Therapists in Pennsylvania going forward.
Accredited Radiation Therapy Schools in Pennsylvania
Community College of Allegheny County (Allegheny Campus)
The Community College of Allegheny County has a Radiation Therapy education program that has been accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) and approved by the American Registry of Radiologic Technology (ARRT).
This large community college is located in the Pittsburgh area and includes four campuses and four neighborhood centers where it offers a mix of over 150 associate degrees, certificate, and diploma programs. The associate degree in Radiation Technology is a 76 credit program which requires four semesters plus two summers to complete.
Also available is a 36 credit program that leads to a Certificate in Radiation Technology. Candidates for the certificate program must have previously graduated from a JRCERT accredited school of diagnostic radiography, be ARRT certified in diagnostic radiography RT(R) with a minimum passing score of 80%, and have been employed in diagnostic radiography for at least one year.
800 Allegheny Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15233
Gwynedd Mercy University
Gwynedd Mercy University is a Roman Catholic university located in the western suburbs of Philadelphia that offers more than 40 undergraduate and graduate degrees including healthcare, education, and business. The Radiation Therapy options at this university have been reviewed and approved by ARRT (American Registry of Radiologic Technology) and accredited by JRCERT(Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology).
The four-year Bachelor of Science in Radiation Therapy degree is aimed at high school graduates or college transfer students. Applicants must demonstrate proficiency in math and science with courses in biology, algebra I & II, geometry, and physics and/or chemistry required at a minimum grade of C+.
The curriculum is aligned to the beliefs and values of the university, delivering a practical and career-oriented program that also seeks to develop the moral, social, intellectual, cultural, and spiritual aspects of the student through integration with wider humanities-based courses.
For qualified radiographers, Gwynedd Mercy also provides the opportunity to enroll in a Bachelor of Health Science (BHS) degree in Radiation Therapy. This 20-month program is suited to candidates who have previously graduated from a JRCERT accredited educational program in radiological sciences and are either registered as radiographers with ARRT, or registry eligible.
1325 Sumneytown Pike
Gwynedd Valley, PA 19437
Thomas Jefferson University
Thomas Jefferson University is a private university located in Center City, Philadelphia. Its identity is deeply rooted in its first iteration as a medical college which graduated its first class of medical students in 1826. In 2017 it merged with Philadelphia University and now aims to provide comprehensive professional education with a particular focus upon architecture, business, design, engineering, fashion, health, liberal arts, medicine, science, and textiles.
The university offers a Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Sciences with ten possible concentrations, one of which is Radiation Therapy. Students may choose one concentration topic or two. There are various pathways to undertake the degree which are dependent upon the level of previous qualification achieved. A 2+2 pathway allows high school students and those without a previous baccalaureate to complete their general education requirements at any accredited institution before transferring to Thomas Jefferson University for the upper division courses. A 3+1 pathway in partnership with Immaculata University is also available. In this pathway, students will spend 3 three years at Immaculata University and then transfer to Thomas Jefferson University for their final year. There is also a 1-year program for those who hold a previous qualification in allied health or radiologic sciences.
The university is affiliated with over 100 clinical sites in the tri-state area which include major teaching hospitals, imaging centers, physician’s offices, and women’s imaging centers. Students also have access to Virtual Environment Radiotherapy Training (VERT). This is a life-size replica of a linear accelerator which allows for 3D visualization of patient images, organs, and treatment beams, and allows Radiation Therapy students to build their skills via realistic simulation.
Accreditation is in place from JRCERT (Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology). Graduates are eligible to apply for membership of ARRT (American Registry of Radiologic Technology) and to take the ARRT examination.
901 Walnut Street
Health Professions Academic Building, 6th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19107