GNTC | The Radiation Therapy Program

radiation to eliminate cancer cells and shrink
tumors. According to the National Cancer Institute about half of all cancer patients receive
some type of radiation therapy during the course of their treatment. The Radiation Therapy Program at Georgia Northwestern
Technical College is a combination of classroom instruction and clinical training at various
cancer centers throughout Georgia. The curriculum is designed to make students work ready in
the therapy field treating cancer patients. The program is taught at the Floyd County
Campus of Georgia Northwestern Technical College. (Susan Lanham)
Our students are assigned to clinical settings; no clinic work is done in the classroom. The
students will go to clinic and do all companies that are required and that I mean they are
working directly with patients with a direct supervision they are never left unsupervised. (Announcer)
Susan Lanham is the Program Director for the Radiation Therapy program at Georgia Northwestern
Technical College. According to Susan, students must be very
compassionate and caring to enter the field of Radiation Therapy. (Susan Lanham)
Normally the types of students that are very interested in our program are students that
have had family members, friends that have been diagnosed with a type of cancer and they’ve
been with them throughout their course of treatments. Also that student must be very
compassionate, understanding, good communication skills as far as being able to have empathy
for their patients and understand the difficulties and challenges that each patient will face
on a daily basis once diagnosed with a cancer. (Announcer)
Currently, the program at Georgia Northwestern Technical College is the only Radiation Therapy
program offered in the Technical College System of Georgia. Upon completion of the program,
the student is eligible to sit for a national certification examination. (Sheila Carr)
They learn to operate the equipment, to set up the patients, they also learn communication
with the patient as well which is just as important. You need to be able to communicate
with the patient to get the patient to cooperate, but they learn how to calculate
the treatments, they learn about the treatment planning aspect of it, the physics part of
it .They are trained on the most advanced technology out there now in the clinical sites. (Announcer)
One of the many clinical sites that a GNTC student may be assigned to is the Harbin Clinic
Tony E Warren, M.D. Cancer Center in Rome, Georgia. At this world-class, major cancer
center students are assigned to a treatment room where they learn to operate the Varian
Linear Accelerators in the radiation oncology vault, treat the patients, program the machines,
and how to set patients up using immobilization devices. (Orbert Rogers)
The hands-on in the clinical setting really prepares them well for the real world. Because
having that hands on training its not a transition from the classroom to the workforce. It’s
really transitioning from real life workforce settings and actually applying them to their
actual career. (Stephanie Asadi)
I feel like I can really help make a difference in somebody’s life because at this time
in these peoples life they need somebody and . . when they’re here I care about them
and they feel that and it helps them . . . at the same time I really feel like we learn
a lot and we’ll be able to go out when we finish this program and get a job and be able
to actually do it. (Announcer)
Students go to clinical at least 310 hours every semester and are trained on the most
advanced technology available today and the program has a very close relationship with
many radiation oncology departments at clinical sites across the state. (Sheila Carr)
We have had several students who have actually gotten jobs at
the clinical sites where they were, but we’ve also had those have
migrated to another area at another clinical site because they were trained so well at
the other site. (Wendy Niebrugge)
I graduated from this program 2005, first class out and I’ve been a clinical supervisor
at the Hope Center for the past seven years and I tell you, I love the students coming
through there and being able to teach them what I know . . that I’m giving them the
skills that they are going to continue to work and continue to help fight cancer because
that what’s were here to do, were here to fight cancer. (Announcer)
To enter the Radiation Therapy degree program at Georgia Northwestern Technical College
a student must be: 17 years old for entrance into Health Technology
pre-occupational curriculum.
 18 years old for entrance into Health Technology
programs. Have a high school diploma or a GED certificate. Pass an entrance test. And after completing the pre-occupational
curriculum, students are placed on a competitive admissions list. (Susan Lanham)
Occupational courses are for the applied science degree students that have no medical background,
do not understand the basics of radiation protection and safety and physics. (Announcer)
The program also offers diplomas for students that are already Registered Radiologic
Technologist. Students begin the degree program in the summer and the diploma program begins
in the fall. (Susan Lanham)
Now, in the fall we start the diploma students they already have a background in radiology,
so we merge those students in the fall semester with the students that started in the summer
semester. (Announcer)
According to the Department of Labor, the average annual starting salary for a Radiation
Therapist is $36.00 per hour. (Wendy Niebrugge)
We focus on the whole person, were treating the whole person, because the thing about
cancer is Its not just fighting the tumor itself it is . . they are fighting for their
whole life, they have children they have grandchildren they have jobs they have so much to live for. (Announcer)
To find out more about GNTC’s Radiation therapy program, visit our website or give
us a call for more information.

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