Medical Dosimetry Schools: How to Choose
Medical dosimetrists are members of the radiation oncology team who are knowledgeable about radiation techniques and dosing procedures. They often work with cancer patients. There are a select number of accredited certificate, bachelor's and master's degree programs in this field of study. When choosing a school, students should consider such factors as accreditation and technical facilities.
Medical Dosimetry Schools: How to Choose
There are generally two tracks to becoming a medical dosimetrist: on-the-job training or educational programs. Educational programs specific to medical dosimetry are relatively few in number and small in size, with many admitting fewer than ten students.
Prospective students should first check that a program is accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). The JRCERT accredits all levels of programs - from certificates to master's degrees - and lists them on its website. Without a degree from a JRCERT-certified program, graduates will not be eligible to take the Medical Dosimetry Certification Board (MDCB) exam, a credential that many employers desire.
Medical dosimetrists will need to be familiar with the technical aspects of the job, including computerized dosing programs and advanced radiation equipment. Students should make sure their program of interest offers hands-on experience with both.
If a medical dosimetry program isn't accessible, students may also want to look at programs from different departments, such as allied health sciences. The program's relevance to medical dosimetry can be confirmed by checking for JRCERT accreditation. The program should incorporate the same prerequisites as a dosimetry program, including:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Computer science
- Calculus and trigonometry
- Medical terminology
Medical Dosimetry Program Overviews
Dosimetry Certificate Programs
Most certificate programs last 12 months. These programs usually require that students already possess a bachelor's degree in radiation therapy or a related field. Some programs require that students be certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists in radiation therapy and have one year of relevant work experience. An additional six months of clinical experience is required for graduates of these programs to be able to sit for the MDCB exam.
Bachelor's Degree Programs
Students who earn a bachelor's degree are eligible to take the MDCB exam immediately. Most of these programs will require time spent in a clinical setting in addition to coursework. While the courses will vary depending on the program, common topics include:
- Radiation Biology
- Radiation Therapy Physics
- Oncology Pathology
- Topographic Anatomy
Master's Degree Programs
Most schools with master's programs offer different tracks depending on the student's interest. Some programs offer tracks for students who have already passed the MDCB exam, while other schools give students the choice of pursuing professional or research-based tracks. Many programs incorporate courses in planning or leadership for those interested in management positions.
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