Radiation Therapy Training Program

Mission Statement

The mission of the UNC Hospitals Radiation Therapy Program is to educate, develop and graduate competent, entry-level radiation therapists.

The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) is the accrediting body for our radiation therapy program.  A copy of their 2014 Standards for Accreditation can be found HERE.

Program Goals

Goal 1: The student will be clinically competent.

Student Learning Outcomes

1.1: The student will demonstrate simulation skills.

1.2: The student will demonstrate dosimetry skills.

1.3: The student will demonstrate treatment delivery skills.

Goal 2: The student will communicate effectively.

Student Learning Outcomes

2.1: The student will demonstrate oral communication.

2.2: The student will demonstrate written communication.

2.3: The student will demonstrate presentation skills.

Goal 3: The student will develop critical thinking skills.

Student Learning Outcomes

3.1: The student will critique radiation therapy treatment plans.

3.2: The student will adapt treatment plans to non-routine situations.

Goal 4: The student will demonstrate professionalism.

Student Learning Outcomes

4.1: The student will make ethically sound decisions.

Program Handbook and Assessment Plan

Program Advisory Committee

      • Robert D. Adams, EdD, CMD
        Clinical Assistant Professor 
        Dosimetry Program Director

      • Ron Chen, MD, MPH
        Assistant Professor
        Clinical Division

      • Elaine M. Zeman, PhD
        Research Associate Professor

        Cancer Biology Division

      • Katharin Burkhardt, MS
        Assistant Director of Medical Physics and Dosimetry
        Medical Dosimetry Supervisor

Program Faculty and Professional Staff

All students in our radiation therapy program are under the tutelage of radiation oncologists, medical physicists, radiation biologists, certified medical dosimetrists, and certified radiation therapists.  Program faculty include UNC School of Medicine faculty and UNC Hospitals professional staff.

Academic Policy and Curriculum

The UNC School of Radiation Therapy is a 12 month, post-radiography certificate program.  The program is fully accredited by the JRCERT, and incorporates the national radiation therapy curriculum established by the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT). The curriculum includes all didactic and clinical competencies required for eligibility for the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) Examination, Radiation Therapy Component.

Applicants are free to apply while still enrolled in a radiography program, however they must hold at least an associate's degree from an accredited college or university, and be certified in radiography, RT (R), by the time they enter the Radiation Therapy Program.

The primary clinical component of the program takes place at The UNC Hospitals Department of Radiation Oncology in Chapel Hill, NC.  External clinical rotation sites include Duke University in nearby Durham, NC, and Rex Healthcare, located in Raleigh, NC.

The educational format includes both didactic sessions and clinical practicums. Students are expected to participate in clinical and research conferences, quality assurance, two and three dimensional external beam treatment planning, low and high dose rate brachytherapy, and clinical education.

Students are expected to adhere to high academic standards of performance and ethics, and display appropriate professional behavior during all phases of their educational experience.  Students are also required to abide by all program policies as published in the Program's Master Plan of Education and the Program's Student Handbook.

Courses include:  Foundations of Radiation Therapy; Medical Dosimetry; Quality Assurance; Quality Improvement; Radiation Physics; Radiation and Cancer Biology; Radiation Protection; Simulation Laboratory; Medical Physics Laboratory; Radiation Histopathology; Radiation Oncology Clinical Practice; Research in Radiation Therapy; and Radiation Therapy Essentials.

Academic Calendar

Classes begin in late August of each year with a completion date of August of the following year.  Attendance is required Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 4:30 PM (standard 40 hour work week).  Students are allowed a total of 11 UNC Hospitals-designated holidays plus an additional five days off for "personal time".

Admissions

Applicants must be US citizens, board certified in radiography – RT (R) – and hold at least an associate's degree from an accredited college or university by the time of enrollment. They must also provide the following:

      • Complete a program application form, which can be downloaded here.  
      • Submit transcripts from all high schools and institutions of higher education attended, SAT scores or equivalent if available, and any previous registry scores.
      • Submit three letters of recommendation.

After completion and submission of the application package, the Admissions Committee then considers as much information as possible when evaluating a candidate's qualifications for the study and practice of radiation therapy.  The Admissions Committee will invite selected candidates to proceed to the next step, a personal interview.  The personal interview enables prospective students to obtain more information about the Program, and allows the Committee to better assess such factors as motivation, professionalism and interpersonal communication skills. Letters of invitation to interview are sent via the US Postal Service (with e-mail followup), typically in late January, and a single interview session is scheduled for a Saturday morning in mid-to-late February.  An interview "make-up date" will NOT be offered.  Selection for a personal interview does not guarantee admission into the Program.

The Radiation Therapy Program adheres to the UNC Healthcare System's Equal Employment Opportunity Policy, offering equal employment opportunity without regard to race, national origin, gender, age, religious affiliation or disability.

Technical Standards for Radiation Therapists

At minimum, radiation therapists must be able to perform the following activities:

Transport, move, lift, and transfer patients from a wheelchair or stretcher to and from a treatment or simulation table.

      • Lift and position beam shaping devices weighing up to 50 pounds.
      • Communicate clearly, including instructing patients during treatment and simulation.
      • Possess sufficient visual acuity to observe patients and equipment operation during treatment, as well as read the patient's radiation reports and medical information. Hearing also must be adequate to perceive and interpret audio signals from equipment, and to respond to patients' questions or concerns.
      • Ability to view computer monitors for extended periods.
      • Have sufficient problem-solving skills and the ability to perform these skills in a timely manner.  Such skills include, but are not limited to, measuring, calculating, analyzing, and evaluating medical and technological information, and synthesizing this information in a way that facilitates troubleshooting problems and/or responding to emergency situations.

Graduation and Certification Examination Requirements

Before a student enrolled in the UNC Hospitals Radiation Therapy Program can be deemed eligible to apply for ARRT Certification Examination, he or she must fulfill the following requirements:

      • The student must have completed the academic requirements of the Program successfully, as well as all research papers and other projects before being allowed to graduate.
      • The student must have all fees and other Program charges paid in full.
      • The student must return all state property in their possesion, or else remit payment(s) for lost, stolen or damaged property.

Transfer Credit

The Program is a one year certificate program, and as such, does not accept transfer students.

If an already-enrolled student in our program wishes to transfer to another radiation therapy certificate program (that does accept transfers) or continue his or her higher education, it is the responsibility of the student to ascertain which, if any, UNC Hospitals Radiation Therapy Program courses would be transferable to the other program or institution.

Student Services

Students enrolled in the UNC Hospitals Radiation Therapy Program have access to four UNC-Chapel Hill academic libraries, UNC Healthcare computer laboratories and tutors, medical and undergraduate bookstores and the UNC Hospitals recreational facilities.

Students are responsible for their own health insurance coverage and living expenses.

Tuition and Fees

There is no tuition for the Program, although the following non-refundable, one-time costs apply:

      • Textbooks: approximately $250
      • Uniforms: cost of professional, workplace-appropriate attire and a lab coat
      • Travel expenses to and from off-campus clinical sites
      • Computer/Dosimetry Laboratory Fee:  $1,500

Deadlines

The deadline for receipt of Program application materials is January 30 of each year, for planned enrollment the following August.

Program Effectiveness Data (last 5 years) 

OutcomeMeasurement
Tool
BenchmarkTimeframeResponsible
Party
Results
(Number of Students)
Attrition Program completion rate 50% Annual Program Director (reported annually to the advisory committee)

2013: 0% (5)

2012: 0% (4)

2011: 0% (5)

2010: 0% (4)

2009: 0% (6)

Pass Rate

 

(100% pass rate for all on second attempt)

Credentialing exam pass rate 75% 5-year average pass rate at first attempt within 12 months of graduation

Program Director (reported annually to the advisory committee)

2013: 100% (5/5) 

2012: 100% (4/4)

2011: 80% (4/5)

2010: 100% (4/4)

2009: 100% (6/6)

Employment

(includes only those actively seeking  employment or enrolling in advanced degree programs)
Job placement rate 75% 5-year average job placement rate (within 12 months of graduation Program Director (reported annually to the advisory committee)

2013: 100% (5/5)

2012: 100% (4/4) 

2011: 100% (4/4)

2010: 100% (3/3)

2009: 100% (3/3)
Graduate Satisfaction

Graduate survey 

(after a minimum of one year's employment)

At least a 4 on a 5 point scale Annual Program Director (reported annually to the advisory committee)

2013:  4.7/5

2012:  4.6/5 

2011:  4.5/5 

2010:  4.4/5 

2009:  4.3/5 

2008:  4.3/5
Employer Satisfaction

Employer survey 

(after a minimum of one year's employment)

At least a 4 on a 5 point scale Annual Program Director (reported annually to the advisory committee)

2013:  4.8/5

2012:  4.8/5

2011:  4.8/5 

2010:  4.7/5 

2009:  4.6/5 

2008:  4.6/5

 

Need Additional Information?

For additional information about our Radiation Therapy Program beyond that provided above, please contact:

Robert D. Adams, RT(R)(T), CMD, MPH, EdD
Program Director, Radiation Therapy and Medical Dosimetry Programs
Department of Radiation Oncology
North Carolina Cancer Hospital
101 Manning Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Phone: (984) 974-8427  
E-Mail: Robert_Adams@med.unc.edu