RN vs Radiation therapist

  1. So tonight I was going to go to my local community college and get some info on my pre-req's so that I can take them on-line before I start nursing school. Well, I was talking to my superviser at work about it and he pretty much told me that RN's get pd so well because they basically have to pay for their own health insurance. Is this true??? He guess about $500/month is what RN's have to pay out of pocket.

    Another thing he brought up was that to become a nurse, the schooling was about 4 yrs and my first job may pay about $45k/yr. He suggested that I go to school to become a Radiation Therapist because he has a friend who does this and the friend only had to go to school for 2 yrs and makes about $60k-$75k/yr.

    I have always wanted to be a nurse since I was 7 (I am now 34) but at the same time wouldn't mind making good $$ cause I am a single mom with no child support and am tired of struggling with the bills but I don't want a job that I won't love either.

    I was THISCLOSE to getting my school started and now this. Any suggestions?? Thank you!
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    About LPNDebbie, LPN

    Joined: Jun '08; Posts: 75; Likes: 10
    LPN; from US


  3. by   adorblepuppy
    Well i can't tell you what choice to make. It will depend on what type of nursing degree you want to get as to how long your schooling will take. BSN is 4 years. If you just go for associates then it is 2 years.
  4. by   just_cause
    Health insurance varies by employeer - I wouldn't assume that RNs always pay for insurance and RTs don't....

    I wouldn't use a sample of your supervisors friend who makes 75k as a factor for wage comparison... you need a larger sample and to understand the at certain times in certain areas demands sways back and forth for every job.. sooo another statement I wouldn't base decision on.

    I personally think that the ADN offers the better turn around for Money+time = career and future possibility. I believe getting the ADN enables you to have multiple future career options... while working get your BSN through your hospital or via online... plenty of options after that... CRNA, PA, NP, MBA, etc etc..
    what options do RTs have in comparison?
    Aside from that - you should have an idea of which job you feel you would enjoy and therefore will likely do better at due to a vested interest.......
    Lastly this is a nursing forum - so i've already made my opinion heard based on the 400 some odd posts and countless hours of trolling that I partake in
    Best of luck on your decision.. don't let a single person throw you off track - but if you are that uncertain of your goals perhaps take some time and make sure you actually want this.
  5. by   LPNDebbie
    Thanks to both of you. As always, you guys bring me right back to where I want to be after I get a little discouraged. My heart is in nursing and an associates is good enough for me so I can't make sense of going to school for 2 yrs to be an RT when I can go for 2 and be an RN. I am not interested in getting my BA since that is mostly for managerial positions.

    Thanks again!!!!:heartbeat
  6. by   adorblepuppy
    well the one thing i would like to say though is that with the bsn. If something happened (god forbid) and you couldn't practice bedside. You could teach or something like that. Well that is what my med aide teacher told us anyway. Good luck in whatever you decide.
  7. by   RADIATION_RN
    I hope this isn't too late for you to get this reply. I have worked in radiation therapy for 5 years now and I was interested in going to school to become a radiation therapist. After becoming certified as a radiation therapy assistant I was being trained just like I was a therapist, I just couldn't push the "beam on" button to administer the actual dose from the machine. Radiation therapy is an interesting field. But I will tell you, of the 5 therapists I work with, 4 out of 5 don't see themselves doing it for the rest of their lives. With a radiation thepary degree, there really arent many options out there for advancement. You can go through a tough dosimetry program to become a dosimetrist. My best friend at work is a dosimetrist and she loves is. But it isnt for everybody. There is rarely patient contact and the dosimetrist sits in front of the computer all day designing the radiation prescription the doctor writes out. Other than dosimetry, there really isn't many options for advancement. Yes, they do get paid more out of school, but the jobs are hard to find. At least that is how it is here in Austin.

    So after my 2nd year working there, I changed my major to nursing but I dont want to give up my years of experience in radiation, so I am wanting to be a radiation oncology nurse.
  8. by   just_cause
    .... I'd look into going PA if I had that allied health experience under my belt and wanted a good avenue for advancement. v/r
  9. by   Ms. Nurse Assistant
    what is pa?
  10. by   just_cause
    Physician Assistant - mid level provider - much like nurse practicioner but they focus on practicing medicine vs nursing... it's a great field to be in... the kicker is the schools require health care exp, such as RT or nursing or... but majority of programs are masters level and 27 months in length. If I was an RT that wanted to be a PA I'd look at the pre-reqs (generally 1 year bio, 1 year a&p, some chem, pscyh and + a bachelors degree) and how long it would take to acquire while working p/t.
    food for thought~