What is Radiation Therapy?

Radiation therapy is a radiologic and imaging sciences specialty that is one of the disciplines of radiation oncology.

Radiation therapists practice in a cooperative effort between medical and radiation oncology physicians, medical physicists, dosimetrists, oncology nurses and dietitians. Radiation therapists are responsible for accurately recording, interpreting, and administering the treatment prescribed by radiation oncologists. During treatment, therapists help physicians use fluoroscopy, x-ray, or computed tomography to localize and outline anatomical areas requiring treatment. These responsibilities require highly specialized clinical skills as well as complex critical thinking in order to effectively contribute to the team approach to patient treatment.  More information can be found on our Links page.

Students receive didactic, laboratory, and clinical experiences in both existing and emerging radiation therapy practices and procedures.  This may include treatment planning, simulation, quality assurance, brachytherapy, external beam therapy, stereotactic radiosurgery, intraoperative radiation therapy, intensity modulated radiation therapy, image guided radiation therapy, and total body irradiation. Students will rotate through a minimum of three clinical facilities to ensure exposure to emerging technologies. Our current list of clinical sites include:

Botsford Cancer Center - Farmington Hills, MI

Bronson - Battle Creek, MI

Memorial Hospital - South Bend, IN

Johnson Family Cancer Care Center - Muskegon, MI

Metro Health Cancer Center - Wyoming, MI

Lakeland Cancer Care Center - St. Joseph, MI

Sparrow Regional Cancer Center - Lansing, MI

Spectrum Health - Reed City, Grand Rapids, Holland, MI

St. Mary's Medical Center - Grand Rapids, MI

Seton Cancer Institute - Saginaw, MI

West Michigan Cancer Center - Kalamazoo, MI

Students who receive a B.S. degree in Radiologic and Imaging Sciences with an emphasis in radiation therapy from Grand Valley are eligible for the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) national credentialing examination in radiation therapy. The ARRT has recognized the program and established eligibility for students who complete the full degree program.

Individuals who have been involved in a criminal proceeding or charged with or convicted of a crime may not be eligible for national certification by the ARRT. Because this certification is available to graduates of the radiation therapy program as part of preparation for clinical practice, students to whom this may apply are strongly advised to work with the ARRT for pre-application review of eligibility for certification from their website at www.arrt.org (Ethics, Pre-Application Process). The ARRT may be contacted by phone at 651-687-0048 or at www.arrt.org for more information.

The Radiation Therapy program is accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). The program adheres to JRCERT standards. Students have the right to notify the JRCERT if they believe the university is not adhering to these standards. The JRCERT is at 20 N. Wacker Dr., Suite 2850, Chicago, IL 60606-3182, phone 312-704-5300.  You can also reach the JRCERT via the internet at  www.jrcert.org or E-mail: mail@jrcert.org