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Radiation therapists use radiation procedures to treat medical conditions such as cancer. These therapists are responsible for preparing patients for treatment, taking x-ray images for diagnostic purposes, operating radiation equipment, and monitoring the patient's progress. It's very important for radiation therapists to keep precise records of treatments. Attention to detail is essential in this occupation. Radiation therapists work on a team with other specialists to treat each patient's individual cancer in the best way possible. Read on for more about how to become a radiation therapist in Illinois and radiation therapy programs in Illinois.
In the state of Illinois, radiation therapists are required to carry accreditation to perform therapeutic medical procedures involving radiation. To obtain accreditation, you must pass an examination. Students who have recently passed an approved training program but have not yet had a chance to sit for the examination may be issued temporary accreditation. Accreditation must be renewed every 24 months. In order to renew your accreditation in Illinois, you must have completed at least 24 hours of continuing education, such as an approved academic course or professional activity. Continued education credit may also be awarded for the completion of advanced level exams.
To become a radiation therapist in Illinois, you should complete a certificate program or bachelor's degree in the field of radiation sciences with a focus on radiation therapy. The Southern Illinois University School of Allied Health offers a Radiologic Sciences B.S. with a radiation therapy specialization in the fourth year. At the College of DuPage, students can pursue the Diagnostic Medical Imaging Radiologic Technology program in three semesters for a certificate. For a bachelor's degree they may follow the Radiation Therapy Technology program. Saint Louis University and the University of St. Francis offer Bachelor of Science degrees in Radiation Therapy.
The job outlook for radiation therapists is favorable, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job growth is projected to be 20 percent over the 2010 to 2020 decade. In Illinois, the mean annual wage for radiation therapists was $71,690, or about $34.47 an hour as of May 2011. Those with earnings in the top ten percent of the occupation made more than $93,580 a year, while those in the bottom ten percent earned less than $47,370 a year. Students who are interested in how to become a radiation therapist in Illinois and radiation therapy programs in Illinois will quickly see this is a rewarding profession.