Across the nation, Dosimetry Programs vary from state to state, and from program to program.
Ultimately, the final decision should be based on a general idea of the type of position one plans to take after graduation, certification and licensing.
In terms of the primary options available, look at these positions, mapped out in alphabetical order. If you choose between the best Dosimetry Programs, (in other words, discounting the less appealing programs). You could end up landing any of these prestigious positions.
If teaching is in your destiny, this path would be a likely option. Medical Dosimetrists who opt for this route should have a strong desire to teach others,. As well as the necessary skills and knowledge to inspire and educate. They typically land positions where they are appointed at medical college and universities that have medical dosimetry programs. Or, they could teach in a clinical setting. These educators participate in preparing, future radiation oncology specialists and dosimetrists. The teaching responsibilities can vary from a Professor all the way to being the Director of an educational program.
This type of position demands years of experience before one can qualify. But once a Dosimetrist gains the required experience and has a desire and the skill sets to lead, supervise and manage others, administration would be the perfect fit. Examples of the positions will vary from the Manager of the Radiology Department, to Chief Radiation Therapist, to Chief Medical Dosimetrist.
As an expert in the science of dosimetry, a person becomes what is classified as an, “(IDA) In Demand Asset.” That simply means because of their education, clinical experience and success in treating patients, others in the field seek out their professional input. These consultants provide critical insights, algorithm computations and medical perspectives to Physicists, Radiation Therapists and Physicians.
If you are wondering what, “Locum Tenens” means, you are not alone. It has British origins and it means to temporarily substitute, especially for a doctor or for a member of the clergy. Once a Medical Dosimetrists adds valuable experience to their education and clinical training, they become an invaluable asset. At that point, they contract themselves out to medical facilities around the country. When a contract expires, they move on to the next. This position is for people who want to control their time and freedom.
This position can be aptly classified as the lead off dosimetry position. One must become Dosimetrist, and gain valuable work experience before they can qualify to take on any of the other positions related to this vocation. In the clinical service area, Medical Dosimetrists work together with the Director of Radiation Oncology Operations, the Chief Dosimetrist, Clinical Chief Physicist as well as with Physicists, Physicians, and Radiation Therapist. Amongst other responsibilities, these specialists are charged with the tasks of developing optimal treatment plans for patients. They also provide patient care and assistance, and those responsibilities are just the beginning.
One of the primary reasons medical science has advanced with medicines, treatments and cures is due, in large part, to the diligence of the researchers, scientists and inventors. In terms of advancing medical science, Medical Dosimetrists can expect to collaborate with the best of Scientists, Clinicians and Physicians. The various departments they may find themselves working in, include, but will not be limited to:
- Molecular Radiation Biology
- Technical & Transitional Radiotherapy Research
- Clinical Studies
- Medical Physics & Engineering
- New Technology Development
As you might imagine, researchers play a critical role in the advancement of Radiation Oncology
Medical Dosimetrists who opt to get into the sales side of the medical field, are hired by vendors and by companies that manufacture/sale radiation oncology technology and equipment. The individuals who choose this route can expect to engage in extensive travel around the country. Typically, candidates will need to be a licensed Radiation Therapist with at least five years of clinical experience along with a Bachelor’s Degree. In addition, you will must be able to persuade potential buyers and then close the sale. You will be prospecting and selling MDs, and PhDs; in other words, you must be on your “A” game to apply for this type of job.
When dealing with equipment and technology, unfortunately, things will go wrong. When Radiology Equipment malfunctions or breaks, users need top notch technical support. Obviously, concerning radiation equipment, the tech support must be sterling. If you are the techy type of individual who dreams of fixing the latest technology, this might be your path to success.
After the purchase of any type of Radiology Equipment or related software, typically it is a Medical Dosimetrist that will be responsible for training, supporting and consulting end users. This demanding position entails on-site training and classroom sessions, all designed to prep users in the skillful use of radiation oncology equipment and related software. If teaching is in your veins, this might be a great opportunity.
Dosimetry Programs – Which One Should You Choose?
Now that you have an idea of some of the types of positions available, choosing between the various Dosimetry Programs should be less taxing. You will find many schools that offer a huge number of programs related to Radiology, however you need to find a school that specializes in training dosimetrists.
A prime example would be the Medical Dosimetry Training Program at the UNC School of Medicine. Their Department of Radiation Oncology features some of the brightest minds in the medical field. Their Dosimetry Program is probably one of the most rigorous in the country. The requirements that must be met for acceptance into this program speaks volumes to the level of excellence that students must strive for. This is probably one of the few Dosimetry Programs that can prepare you for just about any of the positions in this medical field.
In summation, the program you apply for, should prepare you for a career as a Medical Dosimetrists and equally well, for the targeted specialty you are aspiring for.