Dosimetrist Schools and Colleges in the U.S.
Medical dosimetry programs are often housed in a university's radiology department. Both bachelor's and master's degrees are available in this subject, as well as certificate programs. Read on for more information about dosimetrist schools and colleges in the U.S.
How to Select a Dosimetrist School
Medical dosimetrists are members of the radiation oncology team. They are educated in the procedures of radiation dosing and familiar with the equipment and techniques used (www.mdcb.org). Programs for aspiring dosimetrists are typically available at 4-year colleges and universities.
Summary of Important Considerations
- Certification preparation
- Faculty credentials
For prospective students interested in undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs in medical dosimetry, the first step is finding an accredited program. Medical dosimetry is not yet a degree that is widely offered and there are few programs available. The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) lists the accredited schools and is the only organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for accrediting medical dosimetry schools (www.jrcert.org).
An accredited dosimetrist school will also be in good standing with either of the two major professional organizations for dosimetrists:
- American Association of Medical Dosimetrists (AAMD)
- Medical Dosimetrist Certification Board (MDCB)
Undergraduate programs should prepare students to take the MDCB certification exam. Even with a degree or certificate, becoming licensed by this board is highly recommended for work in this field. For those seeking scholarships, the AAMD offers several awards ranging from $1,000-$5,000 (www.medicaldosimetry.org).
The background of the program faculty is also important. Dosimetrists work with medical staff from different departments and must understand the procedures of each one. While the exact credentials vary by school, the faculty should consist of some of the following:
- Certified Medical Dosimetrists
- Radiation oncologists
- Medical physicists
Dosimetrist Program Overviews
Medical Dosimetry Certificate Programs
Most dosimetry certificate programs are offered as graduate or post-bachelor's certificates and last for 12 months. While a certificate is acceptable for employment in this field, it is best for students who already have a degree in radiation oncology or a related field or are currently certified radiation therapists. These programs require a bachelor's degree or the completion of a certain amount of college credits for admittance. Certification in radiation therapy may also be required for admittance. Students participate in clinical practicums and take courses such as:
- Radiation physics
- Radiation biology
- Clinical dosimetry
Medical Dosimetry Bachelor's Degree Programs
Medical dosimetry degree programs are rare at the baccalaureate level. When they are offered, they may be available as a track within a Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Sciences program or as a Bachelor of Science in Medical Dosimetry. Bachelor's degree completion programs are also available for students that have already earned some applicable college credit.
Bachelor's degree programs for medical dosimetry are typically small. Most have a total student capacity of fewer than ten, although there are some programs with capacities over 30. Often, these are 1-year, full-time programs, following the completion of all prerequisite courses. In addition to clinical education, topics of study can include:
- Medical dosimetry physics
- Cross-sectional anatomy
- Radiation treatment planning
Medical Dosimetry Master's Degree Programs
Medical dosimetry master's programs are similar in size to baccalaureate programs and on average take two years of full-time study to complete. Besides a bachelor's degree, certification as a radiation therapist is a required prerequisite of most programs. In addition to coursework, clinical internships and research projects are a significant part of the curriculum. Some graduate programs offer alternative tracks for students who are already certified medical dosimetrists. Programs may lead to a Master of Science in Medical Dosimetry, a Master of Health Science in Medical Dosimetry or a Master of Science in Allied Health Sciences with a medical dosimetry specialization. Courses that master's degree students might take include:
- Cross-sectional anatomy
- Medical dosimetry physics
- Medical law and ethics
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