Radiation therapy is an allied health profession which employs radiation in the treatment of disease, especially cancer. The Bachelor of Science in Radiation Therapy is a four-year, “2+2” program. Students first complete two years of liberal and pre-professional science education courses at the University of St. Francis, followed by two years of professional coursework and clinical education at an affiliated hospital or cancer center.
The curriculum is designed to provide for balanced didactic and clinical components in order to produce students with a well-rounded education in radiation therapy. Successful completion of the professional education component of the program, makes the graduate eligible to take the national certification examination of the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (AART).
The job outlook for radiation therapists continues to be promising. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, employment in the field is projected to rise 14 percent by 2024. As the population of our country ages, the need for radiation therapists will likely increase. The median annual wage for a radiation therapist was $80,220 in May 2015.
Students are accepted into the professional sequence of courses every spring and begin coursework in the fall semester. Applications into the professional component are due by December 15th yearly.
The mission of the Radiation Therapy Program is to provide academic, clinical and professional education of exceptional value to students, and to graduate radiation therapy students with the desired, required entry-level employment skills.
Toward fulfillment of our program mission, there are four main goals with focus toward student learning and four main goals focused toward program effectiveness
Student Learning Goals and Expected Outcomes:
- Facilitate clinical competence
- Foster and develop critical, analytical and problem solving skills
- Foster and develop oral and written communication skills
- Instill ideals supportive of professional growth and development
Program Effectiveness Goals and Expected Outcomes:
- Maintain an optimal teaching and learning environment
- Employ admissions processes with the greatest potential for academic success and program completion
- Facilitate professional practice preparedness as perceived by graduates and employers
- Demonstrate acceptable national registry examination pass rates and show favorable job placement
A detailed description of goals, outcomes, measurement tools, and measurement frequencies is found in the program’s 3-year Outcomes Assessment Plan.
The clinical education portion of the program is designed to assure that graduates are prepared to successfully complete the ARRT exam in radiation therapy technology, meet licensure requirements, and assume the duties and responsibilities of an entry level therapist.
Students are given a copy of the clinical handbook during program orientation. Students also will review the components of the clinical handbook on the first day of their clinical rotation. Students will be assigned to a minimum of 2 affiliated clinical sites during the program according to geographic proximity to residence; rotation through 3 sites may be scheduled for each student completing objectives successfully.
At each clinical site, students will spend time in the following areas of the radiation oncology department:
- Linear accelerator
- Physics and Dosimetry
- Patient Care and Nursing
A clinical supervisor is designated for each affiliated clinical site. Further, each student is assigned to at least one clinical instructor during a rotation. Students are under the direct supervision of their clinical instructor and are evaluated periodically by instructor(s) and supervisor. The student shall report to his/her clinical instructor at the beginning of each clinical day. It is the students’ responsibility to inform the clinical supervisor and instructor of any scheduled class or activity, which will require release from the clinical area. Under no circumstance will a student be substituted for paid staff nor take on the responsibilities of staff in the clinical area.
The components of clinical evaluation are: completion of semester specific clinical objectives, written performance evaluations, clinical competency examinations, journals, case studies and laboratory assignments. More detailed information may be found in course descriptions for Radiotherapy Clinical Experience I- IV listed in the program catalogue.
Affiliated clinical sites include:
- Advocate Christ Medical Center: Chicago, Illinois
- Beloit Cancer Center: Beloit, Wisconsin
- Morris Hospital/Cancer Center: Morris, Illinois
- North Shore Health System:
- Evanston, Illinois
- Highland Park, Illinois
- Glenview, Illinois
- Presence Mercy/Joliet Oncology Hematology Associates (JOHA): Joliet, Illinois
- Presence St. Joseph’s Hospital: Joliet, Illinois
- Riverside Cancer Institute: Bourbonnais, Illinois
- Rockford Memorial Hospital: Rockford, Illinois
- South Suburban Cancer Center: Hazel Crest, Illinois
- Southland Oncology: Mokena, Illinois
- SSM Health Dean Medical Group: Janesville, Wisconsin
- University of Chicago:
- Chicago, Illinois
- Orland Park, Illinois
- University of Chicago/Silver Cross Hospital: New Lenox, Illinois
The University of St. Francis is accredited by both the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org) and the Illinois State Board of Education (ibhe.org). The Radiation Therapy program is accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). This certifies that the program meets or exceeds national standards for quality educational programs. Further information or inquiries about accreditation of the radiation therapy program may be obtained by contacting the JRCERT at 20 N. Wacker Dr., Suite 2850, Chicago, IL 60606-3182, by phone (312) 704-5300, www.jrcert.org, or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Find people you can study with or go over classwork, and don’t be afraid to get extra help from the professors. Make sure to have time to relax and have fun even when you are feeling overwhelmed because before you know it, you will be graduating! I have such a passion for what I do and find it a blessing to go to work every day!”
–Lisa Ringstmeyer ’16
What Can You Do With This Degree?
Radiation therapists work with radiation oncologists and physicians in planning and delivering the course of treatment for each patient. Radiation therapists are responsible for implementing the daily administration of prescribed doses of radiation for treatment, as well as performing calculations for the correct patient dosages. Because radiation therapy procedures are planned in advance, most radiation therapists work a day-shift schedule, and there is rarely the need to work night shifts, on weekends or on holidays. Employment opportunities for radiation therapists are in hospitals, private practice offices, outpatient centers, and comprehensive cancer centers.
Grow Through Real-World Experience
The mission of the Radiation Therapy program at the University of St. Francis is to provide academic, clinical and professional education of exceptional value to students, and to graduate radiation therapy majors with desired, required, entry-level employment skills. As part of the curriculum, students will complete four radiotherapy clinical experiences over the course of four semesters. During this period, students will gain hands-on experience in the field at an affiliated clinical site, working with patients and professionals. Additionally, dedicated faculty with years of professional experience guide students throughout the program, helping students become top qualified radiation therapists.