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Radiation therapists are responsible for giving patients radiation treatments for various types of cancer. If you're interested in learning about how to become a radiation therapist in Missouri and radiation therapy programs in Missouri, you should first understand what this profession entails. Radiation therapists maintain and operate the machinery that is used for radiation treatments. They x-ray patients to pinpoint the area that needs to be treated, prepare the patient, administer the radiation treatment, and carefully monitor the patient's progress. Attention to detail, organizational skills, and good record keeping are essential skills in this profession. Proficiency in math and science are important.
Though not required by law, most employers prefer to hire radiation therapists with a bachelor's degree in radiation therapy. Missouri students can get this degree from Saint Louis University. There are several different degree options available within this program. Students can pursue the Bachelor of Science in Radiation Therapy alone or with a pre-med or pre-physician assistant option. The BS in radiation therapy is also available with an education minor for students who are interested in training other radiation therapists in the future. A certificate in business administration or certificate in health information management can be obtained with a BS in radiation therapy as well.
The University of Saint Louis partners with eight different hospitals for the clinical practicum of the radiation therapy program. This allows students to work in a variety of different settings and find the best type of work for their individual needs. Experiencing the difference between a community hospital and research hospital is valuable for students who aren't sure what type of setting they would prefer to work in. During their senior year, many students are able to pursue an internship at one of these hospitals. Study abroad at the SLU campus in Madrid, Spain is also available for a broad educational experience
The job outlook for students who are interested in learning about how to become a radiation therapist in Missouri and radiation therapy programs in Missouri is favorable. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 20 percent growth in this field over the 2010 to 2020 decade. As of May 2011, the mean annual salary for a radiation therapist in Missouri was $41,760. This equates to an hourly mean wage of about $20.08. Therapists with earnings in the top ten percent of this field earned more than $68,180 in Missouri. Those with earnings in the bottom ten percent earned less than $22,130.