Radiation Therapy: University of Toronto Joint Program
Radiation Therapy: University of Toronto Joint Program:
at a glance
Bachelor of Science in Medical Radiation Sciences from the University of Toronto & Advanced Diploma in Medical Radiation Sciences from The Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences
8 semesters over 3 years
February 15, 2016
As a Radiation Therapist, you will work within an interdisciplinary oncology team consisting of physicians and other healthcare providers in cancer centres. You will use advanced computer systems and sophisticated radiation therapy equipment to deliver radiation beams to destroy tumours. You will also play an important role in providing patient support throughout the treatment process, including counselling patients on expected radiation side effects and ways to minimize them.
Future career opportunities as a Radiation Therapist include (but are not limited to) research activities, advanced roles such as the Clinical Specialist Radiation Therapist (CSRT), management, education, sales/marketing, other specialties such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT), and higher education such as the Master of Health Science in Medical Radiation Sciences at the University of Toronto.
Graduates are eligible to write the national certification examinations conducted by the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (CAMRT). Certification qualifies graduates to work across Canada and allows them to apply for registration with the College of Medical Radiation Technologists of Ontario (CMRTO).
Learn more about the exciting joint Michener / University of Toronto Radiation Therapy Program and how to become a radiation therapist by navigating the information below.
Many of our lectures are delivered by expert faculty from the University of Toronto’s Department of Radiation Oncology who are actively involved in advancing clinical practice and world-class research. Clinical placements are offered at sites across Ontario representing a variety of cancer services and programs. In addition, a longitudinal and integrated Interprofessional Education curriculum provides essential learning opportunities for students to practice communication, critical thinking, and conflict management with students from other health care disciplines; essential skills for collaborating in the interprofessional team.
Radiation therapy, also known as “radiotherapy”, is the use of ionizing radiation to treat patients with cancer.
There are many types of malignant diseases treated with radiation therapy such as breast, prostate, lung and skin cancers. It may also be used to treat some benign diseases such as keloids and acoustic neuromas.
Radiation therapy is commonly delivered to a patient by using large sophisticated machines called linear accelerators (external beam radiation therapy) or by use of radioactive sources that are placed internally within or on the surface of a patient (brachytherapy).
Radiation therapy is one of three main modalities used to treat cancer – it may be used alone or in conjunction with surgery, and/or systemic therapy such as chemotherapy and hormonal therapy.
For many patients with cancer, radiation therapy will play a very important role in their overall treatment.
Radiation Therapists work within an interdisciplinary oncology team consisting of Radiation Oncologists, Medical Physicists and other healthcare providers in cancer centres.
The responsibilities of a Radiation Therapist include:
- planning or simulating a patient’s treatment on a CT and/or MRI unit
- constructing immobilization devices and other patient accessory devices
- performing dosimetry planning (e.g., physics and dose calculations) using specialized computer software to optimize a patient’s treatment plan
- accurately position patients for treatment and perform imaging procedures for verification (image-guided radiation therapy)
- applying radiation therapy treatment using sophisticated radiation therapy units
- recording and verifying a patient’s treatment
- maintaining detailed treatment records
- performing quality assurance checks on radiation therapy equipment and treatment records
- adhering to radiation protection and safety standards
- educating the patient on procedures, expected radiation side effects
- providing support and counselling to a patient and his/her family, and making referrals to other health care professionals as needed
A Radiation Therapist will typically treat around 30-40 patients a day with each patient coming for daily treatment over a period of several weeks. A strong rapport develops between the therapist and patient over this time.
Radiation Therapists are vital members of the interprofessional health care team devoted to the care of patients. Therapists must have the technical expertise to operate sophisticated instruments, but must also have strong humanistic skills to communicate with patients and their families.
Consider this program if you:
- enjoy working with others and have excellent interpersonal and communication skills
- can provide compassion, understanding, and support to a patient during a stressful time
- enjoy working in a fast-paced health environment
- have a strong interest/skill in physics
- have an interest in operating computers, sophisticated radiation therapy equipment and imaging technology
The joint University of Toronto/Michener Radiation Therapy Degree/Advanced Diploma program is a three-year full time program. There is one intake each year, in September, and theory-based courses are held at both U of T’s downtown campus and at Michener.
Applicants to the Radiation Therapy – University of Toronto Joint Program must possess specific qualifications in order to be eligible for admissions. Please visit our Admissions Requirements by Program page for details.See Admissions Requirements
The fee policy for Canadian students can be found on the Canadian Tuition Fees web page.
The fee policy for International Students can be found on the University of Toronto, Radiation Oncology – Finances web page.
When you enroll in the Radiation Therapy program at Michener you will gain exposure to all aspects of the profession, including treatment planning and simulation, dose distribution, interprofessional collaboration, treatment delivery, patient care, and health care ethics.
Semester 2 – Winter
Semester 3 – Summer
Semester 4 – Fall
Semester 5 – Winter
Semester 6 – Summer
Semester 7 – Fall
Semester 8 – Winter
Note: The above curriculum is subject to change. Clinical education may be scheduled as simulation experience at Michener or as placement in clinical environments with our clinical partners.
Selectives are courses that provide you some expertise in specialized fields of practice such as MRI, ultrasound, health education, specialized radiation therapy methods, and computer assisted image analysis, and may allow you to fast track certain advanced-level programs.
Length: 42 weeks
- 8 weeks at the end of Year 1
- 4 weeks at the end of Year 2
- 30 weeks in Year 3
At the end of the first year of the program, you will be placed in an affiliated clinical site for an eight-week period in May and June. At the end of the second year you will return to your clinical site. In the third year of the program, you will be placed at the same site for two full semesters (30 weeks).
As clinical education is a major component of all Michener programs, our affiliated clinical sites are integral to your education. They include teaching and regional hospitals, in Ontario. Working closely under the supervision of Radiation Therapists, you will have the opportunity to integrate knowledge and skills into practice during the clinical phase of your program. Clinical placements give you hands-on experience in work environments and the opportunity to network with potential employers.
Clinical partner sites and number of student placement allocations at each site are subject to change and are confirmed at the time of your placement. Please note that when you accept a seat in the program, you also accept to go to any of the program’s affiliated clinical sites available at the time of your placement.
In addition, you agree to comply with the following mandatory requirements which must be completed prior to the start of your clinical placement:
- First Aid and CPR Certification for Health Care Providers
- N95 Mask Fit Testing
- Updated Vulnerable Sector Screening (also required upon admission)
- Updated TB Test (also required upon admission)
Michener highly recommends all students be vaccinated with influenza vaccine. This vaccine may be a requirement at some clinical sites. Students who are not vaccinated will be required to wear a mask during patient interaction throughout the influenza season (December-March).
The Radiation Therapy program is a Canadian Medical Association (CMA) accredited program and achieved a 6 year accreditation status in 2013.
The goal of accreditation is to ensure that programs enable their students to acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes to function as competent health practitioners for the benefit of all Canadians. Accreditation, an external validation of program quality, is the public recognition that an educational program has met national standards.
Graduating from an accredited program means that:
- your education has met national standards
- your program has patient care and student welfare at the forefront
- your education is relevant to current medical practice
- your have access to professional registration
- you have attained the competencies required for entry to practice
- your education is recognized by employers and the public
- you have greater mobility as a health science practitioner
For University of Toronto Bursaries, contact the MRS Program at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the Medical Radiation Sciences program, please see the University of Toronto BSc in Medical Radiation Sciences webpage: www.medicalradiationsciences.ca
I've always known I wanted to go into healthcare - I've always wanted to help people and I always liked science, so a profession like Radiation Therapy seemed like a natural fit. There are only a few schools for Radiation Therapy in Canada, but I couldn't see any other option that would have provided nearly as good an opportunity as Michener would. Michener is a top-notch school and we have had the good fortune to learn from some of the best.
I really enjoyed the practical experience in the clinical setting after first year, as it gave me an insight of what my new future job truly entails. For me, it was the true confirmation that I made the right decision to go back to school to change my career. The program is demanding, and can be quite a challenge, so knowing what to expect in the end is a great motivation to continue to work hard and push through.