Now that you have decided to move towards a new career in this amazing field, the next step is evaluating the best available radiation therapy programs.
The school you ultimately choose, may be near you or in another state; either way, rest assured, graduating will be worth the sacrifices, time, energy and money. Once you’re qualified as a Radiation Therapist, you will end up with more than a mundane job, you will end up in a worthwhile career.
In terms of options, there exists both two and four-year degree programs. Duly note; if you opt to acquire an Associate’s Degree as opposed to a Bachelor’s Degree, you’re putting yourself at a great disadvantage. Graduates in 4-year programs are viewed upon as much better candidates than those who successfully complete a 2-year program. In demanding careers of this nature, generally speaking, this is always the rule. That stated, what critical areas should you look for in a school? Below are some of the key factors to help you make an informed decision.
One of the first things you should check for, is the school’s accreditation; never assume a school is accredited. Diploma mills are all the rage these days. These schools appear to be legitimate, but they only offer pipe dreams. You should never, under any circumstances, attend a school that does not have peer review recognized and verifiable accreditation.
Check Peer Reviews
Although there is no all-inclusive ranking system for universities and colleges, there are various reports such as the annual U.S. News & World Report, as well as Money’s Best Colleges Report. Check to see if the schools you are interested are ranked. Perform your due diligence. Know what others are saying about the schools you are considering.
Check Retention Percentages
A bad omen for any school is a low retention rate. Typically, these schools are great at recruiting and enrolling students, but, bad awful at educating them. At some point, their students either transfer to better schools or drop out altogether.
Check Their Graduation Percentages
In addition to the low retention rate, what is their graduation rate? If you are dealing with an underachieving school versus a good school, their graduation rate will be dismal. In a healthy learning environment, a school will have a high graduation rate. Consequently, in an unhealthy learning environment, a school will have a low graduation rate.
Check The Student Employment Rate
What percentage of these students are finding employment after graduation? How long is it taking them? Are they finding work in the field of their degree and certification? Be wary of schools that graduate students who cannot find employment in the field of their education.
Check The Number of Adjunct Professors
Adjunct professors are essentially part time professors who work on a contractual basis. Unlike tenured professors, these professors generally work at several colleges in order to make ends meet. The problem is, they are juggling multiple workloads and schedules from multiple schools. Consequently, they are unable to properly service their students. In the end, the students suffer. Be wary of schools with a high number of Adjunct Professors
Highly Critical Student Feedback
What are the current and former students alleging about their school? In this day of social media, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, SnapChat, Instagram, Investigative news, Rip Off Report, etc., people are letting their opinions be known. When current and former students express critical issues concerning a school, do not ignore those red flags.
Radiation Therapy Programs – Schools
- Virginia Western Community College: In terms of radiation therapy programs, this college has an incredibly high pass rate of 93% when it comes to ARRT certification. The Radiation Oncology degree that this college offers allows you to prepare for your future career with the best instructors. Per the school, 80% of their graduates are employed within six months of completing the program. The Virginia Western Community College could be a great option for you, even if you don’t live nearby.
- University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill: This university has been named as one of the top 30 universities, and is also the second best university when it comes to preparing for careers in healthcare. Therefore, it’s definitely a good idea to study towards your degree in here. They offer a 12-month Radiation Therapy program, which gives you all the qualifications you need to get certified by ARRT upon completion of their schooling. Chapel Hill says 75% of their graduates are employed within 6 months of completing their degree.
- University of Vermont: This university is in the top 30 Primary Care schools. Cost wise, students pay around $15,000 annually. This means it is one of the least expensive options you will likely find. Their job placement rate is 94%. The University of Vermont is one of the most promising options you could choose. They offer a great radiation therapy program, and the environment of the school breeds success.
- Oregon Health & Science University: Oregon is a beautiful part of the country. The air is pristine and the landscape is breathtaking. But, those attributes are not what makes this university is one of the best you can when it comes to Radiation Therapy. What makes them one of the top schools is that they feature an 89% completion rate, a 98% exam pass rate and a 95% employment rate! If you are wanting the best education possible for your future career, take a thorough look at Oregon Health & Science University. If you are wondering, their student ratio is 85% female to 15% male.
Once you’ve whittled down on the various radiation therapy programs, you should complete the application processes immediately! Schools fill up quickly, so it’s best to apply as early as you can, otherwise you might be forced to wait until the next enrollment cycle.