Technology meets caring
Radiation therapists are involved in the planning and delivery of radiation treatment and care for patients with cancer. Radiation Therapy is a highly skilled health profession and, because cancer affects so many people, qualified radiation therapists are in demand.
A degree in Radiation Therapy combines a variety of learning from health science to technology, patient care and teamwork.
It is taught from the Wellington campus of the University of Otago, next to Wellington Hospital. Students go on clinical placements at cancer centres around the country during their study, gaining the experience that allows an easier transition to working once qualified.
Applications for the Bachelor of Radiation Therapy open 1 August and close 15 September.
Why study Radiation Therapy?
You will be working in a fast-paced high-tech environment which also involves patient care. You will play a vital part in the treatment of cancer and learn about this disease which touches most families at some time. Due to the lengthy nature of cancer treatment, five days a week for up to seven weeks, you’ll get to know the patients and their whānau well, which is very rewarding.
Excellent communication skills are required as you will be providing a high level of care and support throughout each patient’s course of treatment.
You will be working in a field that is globally at the forefront of research and technology development. This ensures you will keep up- to-date with new ways of treating cancer.
It also offers a good opportunity for work/life balance as working hours are typically within a normal working day.
What does a radiation therapist do?
As a radiation therapist, you are the person within a specialised healthcare team who plans a patient’s radiation treatment using computer technology and clinical information. You are also the person who delivers the radiation therapy, using a range of high-tech treatment options, and who supports the patient during their course of treatment.
Careers in Radiation Therapy
A career in Radiation Therapy offers excellent career opportunities both in New Zealand and overseas. Radiation oncology departments in New Zealand are at six public hospitals (Auckland, Waikato, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin), and four private centres (Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch).
As a qualified radiation therapist you may have the opportunity to specialise in the area of treatment delivery, planning, research and development or clinical education.
On qualification, Otago Bachelor of Radiation Therapy graduates are eligible for registration with the New Zealand Medical Radiation Technologists Board, so your employment prospects are immediate.
Radiation Therapy is an international profession and New Zealand educated radiation therapists are highly regarded overseas for their excellent level of skills and broad knowledge of the field.
What background is required?
There are a number of ways that you can enter the programme; we take students straight after Year 13 as well as those who have done one or more years of university study, already have a degree or are looking for a career change. Look on our website for the entry requirements of each category.
Personal attributes of empathy, attention to detail, adaptability, and excellent communication skills are required.
Admission to the programme
We welcome applications from those interested in this great career choice. Admission involves consideration of your academic ability and your suitability to the profession, as demonstrated at an interview. Selection for interview is based on academic performance and interviews are held in October each year.
Applicants who are of Māori or indigenous Pacific descent may request this to be taken into account as part of their application.
Department visit and careers presentation
To help you see what is involved in the profession, we highly recommend that all applicants attend one of our career information sessions/department visits. These are held at radiation oncology departments around New Zealand between June and September each year and are a great opportunity to see first-hand what this career is all about.
The timetable for visits will be available on the Department of Radiation Therapy website as details are confirmed.
What does the programme involve?
The programme is based at the Wellington campus of the University of Otago. The class size is limited to about 30 students, so entry to the programme is competitive.
The programme is full-time and takes three years of study to complete. In addition to the academic papers, there is a large component of clinical work within the degree, particularly in the second and third year where half the time is based in clinical placements. Students are usually placed at a different radiation oncology department in Year 2 and Year 3, to give a range of clinical experience.
There are options of completing an honours thesis and/or postgraduate papers in radiation therapy advanced practice. These can lead to a postgraduate certificate, diploma, master’s degree, and Doctor of Philosophy qualifications.
Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages.
Bachelor of Radiation Therapy (BRT)
|1st year|| |
RADT 121 Radiation Therapy Practice
RADT 122 Anatomy and Imaging
RADT 123 Radiation Therapy and Oncology 1
RADT 124 Radiation Therapy Planning Concepts 1
RADT 125 Healthcare Communication
RADT 126 Health and Human Behaviour
RADT 127 Radiation Technology 1
|2nd year|| |
RADT 211 Radiation Therapy Practice II
RADT 212 Principles of Research
RADT 213 Advanced Healthcare Communication
RADT 214 Radiation Technology II
RADT 215 Radiation Therapy and Oncology II
RADT 216 Radiation Therapy Planning Concepts II
|3rd year|| |
RADT 311 Radiation Therapy Practice III
RADT 312 Literature Analysis
RADT 313 Professional Development
RADT 314 Radiation Therapy and Oncology III
RADT 315 Radiation Therapy Planning Concepts III
Postgraduate Certificate in Health Sciences (PGCertHealSc) in Radiation Therapy Advanced Practice
Not offered in 2020
The Postgraduate Certificate in Health Sciences (PGCertHealSc) endorsed in Radiation Therapy Advanced Practice is available through Distance Learning.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a selection of on-campus papers will be made available via distance and online learning for eligible students.
Find out which papers are available and how to apply on our COVID-19 website