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Oncologist Degree Programs with Course Information

This article discusses educational programs that prepare oncologists. Read about educational prerequisites, program coursework and employment outlook statistics here.

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Essential Information

Oncologists are medical doctors who are involved in the study, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. An oncologist degree is not earned, but aspiring oncologists who have already graduated from medical school can complete 4-year oncology residency programs in order to satisfy training requirements for this area of specialization.

Residents complete clinical rotations in the first half of their residency programs. During the second half, they focus on research and explore sub-specialties in oncology. Residents study carcinogens and malignancy in cells, blood, tissues and organs. They examine the anatomy and physiology of cancer cells as well as the genetics of cancer. The successful completion of an oncology residency program qualifies medical doctors to become board-certified oncologists.

Educational Prerequisites

A Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), which is earned after four years of medical school, is required for admittance into residency programs. Medical school applicants need an undergraduate degree in a science-related subject and acceptable MCAT scores. In addition to having an M.D., doctors must successfully complete an initial post-graduate year (PGY-1). During this year, they receive clinical training in an area such as internal medicine or surgery.

Program Coursework

Residents work closely with patients and conduct research to improve their clinical and research skills. Academic and clinical conferences occur regularly and are led by class faculty and residents. The rotation curriculum varies according to sub-specialty and may include:

  • Gynecological oncology: Residents study the treatment of cancer in women.
  • Medical oncology: Methods for ordering scans and diagnosing patients are covered.
  • Pediatric oncology: The focus is on treating children with cancer.
  • Radiology: Doctors learn how to use radiation treatment.
  • Surgical pathology: Surgical means of removing cancerous tissues and tumors are learned.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The job growth for physicians and surgeons was expected to increase by 24% by 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Specialized doctors, such as oncologists, had especially good prospects. The BLS reported the mean annual salary for non-specialized surgeons and physicians as $184,820 in 2012.

Continuing Education Information

Oncologists become board certified by medical specialty boards, such as the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) or the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM). Certification involves passing written and oral exams. Due to ever-changing technology, re-certification is mandatory; the requirements vary by specialty.

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 21 years of age or older and have completed some college or 24 years of age or older and a high school graduate for a Bachelor's degree
    • Masters degree applicants must have a Bachelors degree
    • Doctorate degree applicants must have a Masters degree
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    • Online Learning

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    • Eligibility and relevancy of sample programs below will vary by article and program
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Arizona (3 campuses)
    • California (16)
    • Colorado (3)
    • Florida (6)
    • Georgia (5)
    • Illinois (8)
    • Indiana (2)
    • Kentucky (1)
    • Maryland (1)
    • Michigan (1)
    • Minnesota (1)
    • Missouri (2)
    • North Carolina (2)
    • New Jersey (3)
    • Nevada (1)
    • New York (2)
    • Ohio (4)
    • Oklahoma (1)
    • Oregon (1)
    • Pennsylvania (5)
    • Tennessee (2)
    • Texas (7)
    • Utah (1)
    • Virginia (3)
    • Washington (3)
    • Wisconsin (2)

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 18 years of age or older
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    • Online Learning

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate.
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    Online Programs

    • Master
        • Master of Science in Education - Allied Health Teaching and Leadership

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must live within close proximity to school locations
    • Must be graduated from high school by 2011
    School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    • Texas (3 campuses)

    Classroom-Based Programs

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 18 years of age or older
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Distance Learning Programs

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must complete an application online and submit transcripts for their highest degree earned.
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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 23 years of age or older
    • Must have 3 years of relevant work experience for a Master of Business Administration
    • Must have 5 years of relevant work experience all other Master's degrees
    • Must have at least 5 years of managerial work experience for a Doctorate degree
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Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
      • Cellular Biology and Anatomical Sciences
      • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
      • General Biology
      • Genetics
      • Microbiology and Immunology
      • Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Biophysics
      • Pharmacology and Toxicology
      • Physiology and Related Sciences
        • Cell Physiology
        • Neuroscience
        • Oncology

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics