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About the Medical Dosimetry Profession
Medical dosimetry is a very dynamic, exciting field involving a combined knowledge of mathematics, physics, and the biological and medical sciences. Dosimetrists plan optimal isodose distributions and treatment dose calculations for a variety of external beam, as well as brachytherapy treatments. Medical dosimetrists must have excellent analytical skills, an ability to critically evaluate data, and an aptitude for physics and mathematics. They must also be able to work closely as a team with physicists, physicians, radiation therapists, and other hospital personnel.
A shortage of training programs exist in the field, which causes a shortage of dosimetrists. This program will aim to provide a supply of well-trained dosimetrists who will be able to meet the needs of radiation oncology facilities in the local area and beyond. The Medical Dosimetry program is designed to train personnel in the discipline of dosimetry within a radiation oncology environment, and to prepare them to take the Certified Medical Dosimetrists board examination.
The medical dosimetry program is a full time (40 hour per week) 15-month long program that prepares the student to be board eligible for the CMD (Certificate in Medical Dosimetry) Examination. The program is competitive as only two students can be admitted every year. The curriculum varies depending upon a student's entrance track, and is very demanding both didactically and clinically. It is recommended that students study for at least two hours per day outside of set program hours, to ensure success in the program.
The mission of the Medical Dosimetry Certificate Program is to prepare professionals in the field of Medical Dosimetry with students receiving broad education and training in all aspects of the profession. This will include critical thinking, clinical competence, effective communication, and professionalism as they apply to the field of Medical Dosimetry. The program encourages intellectual, physical, social, and spiritual development by emphasizing these goals in its curriculum, which are reflected in the mission statements of the School of Allied Health Professions, Loma Linda University, and Loma Linda University Health - “To Make Man Whole”.
Dosimetry Gainful Employment Disclosures
The following links will provide information regarding the cost of the certificate, financing available, median debt, normal timeframe for completion, and job placement rates for students that have completed this program. To view this information click on the links below, click here
The program ensures that the students are trained in all aspects of treatment planning with the various modalities available in the field. The majority of the clinical work is conducted within the Radiation Medicine department at Loma Linda University Medical Center, but students also spend six week blocks of time at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and City of Hope Medical Center to expose them to different treatment machines, software systems, and treatment techniques.
Essential Job Functions
The essential job function of a medical dosimetrist requires certain physical, cognitive, and emotional attributes. Although contact with patient is often minimal it is still necessary to be able to physically assist as needed. Prolonged sitting, keyboard and mouse manipulation skills are necessary. Visual acuity at a distance of approximately 15 inches is essential as is the ability to view a computer screen for hours at a time. Candidates must have good coordination and fine motor skills in order to manipulate brachytherapy sources, and construct beam modifying devices. The ability to think critically, integrate data, and comprehend theoretical constructs is essential.
Dosimetrists work under physician's direction to build three dimensional, virtual models of patient anatomy and isodose curve distributions, and it is necessary to be able to oversee the translation of such models into clinical practice.
Excellent communication skills are essential as dosimetrists have to interact with physicians, physicists, radiation therapists, and other professionals to ensure that treatment plans are accurately constructed and delivered. For major duties and job skills refer to the AAMD Website.
The certificate in Medical Dosimetry is accredited by: WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) JRCERT (Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology. Contact Information: 20 North Wacker Drive Suite 2850, Chicago IL 60606-3182. Phone (312) 704-5300(312) 704-5300 Fax (312) 704-5304 Website www.jrcert.org Email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Medical Dosimetry Certificate Program follows the Loma Linda University quarterly academic terms. The program begins each September. The Fall quarter runs from the end of September to mid-December. The Winter quarter runs from the first part of January to mid-March. The Spring quarter runs from the end of March to middle of June. The summer quarter runs from the end of June to the beginning of September. Please refer to the Academic Calendar since the actual dates change annually.
Students will either need to have:
AART registration in Radiation Therapy Technology with a minimum of two years post graduation clinical experience and a Bachelor's degree in any topic. Additional prerequisites: College Algebra, Trigonometry
A Bachelor's degree in Physics or Mathematics from an accredited university. Additional prerequisites: Anatomy and Physiology (no lab needed), Medical Terminology
All course requirements must be met before the start of the program.
Upon completion of the program, the student should be qualified to:
- Demonstrate an ability to accurately complete dosimetric calculations and procedures as they pertain to all aspects of treatment planning for external beam and brachytherapy techniques.
- Develop and refine critical thinking skills to enhance the ability to analyze and compute dosimetric data as it relates to all aspects of radiation therapy treatment.
- Exhibit professional behavior that includes the ability to communicate with other professionals and work well individually and as a member of a team.
- Manage patients in an empathetic manner and exhibit basic patient care proficiencies.
- Support the professional code of ethics and comply within the scope of practice.
During the 15-month Certificate Program in Medical Dosimetry, students take formal classes along with instruction in a clinical setting. This includes participation, under closer supervision, in the actual procedures within the Radiation Physics/Dosimetry Department.
This is a full time, 40-hour per week program. The schedule is coordinated with participating clinical affiliates and clinical hours are arranged around lectures.
The curriculum differs depending on the entry track.
Medical Dosimetry Goals and Student Learning Outcomes
The student learning outcomes (SLO’s) of the medical dosimetry program are:
Goal # 1: Student will demonstrate critical thinking
- Student will be able to perform hand calculations
- Students will utilize software tools to manipulate isodose curves and achieve planning goals.
- Student will achieve maximum target coverage, minimize hot/cold spots, and spare critical structures as per prescription.
Goal # 2: Student will be clinically competent
- Student will construct deliverable treatment plans with consideration of machine and patient limitations.
- Student will calculate MU’s for clinical set-ups
- Student will minimize systemic and random errors by checking plan parameters.
- Student will thoughtfully follow hospital policies and procedures while performing all dosimetry activities.
Goal # 3: Student will be able to communicate effectively
- Student will demonstrate effective verbal communication skills
- Student will demonstrate effective written communication skills
- Student will demonstrate effective oral presentation communication skills
Goal # 4: Student will demonstrate professionalism
- Student will treat all persons with respect
- Student will understand and abide by HIPPA rules
- Student will demonstrate responsibility and accountability for actions
Goal #5: The program will achieve the following outcomes:
- Student will complete the program
- Graduates will pass MDCB exam
- Graduates job place rate of 80% within 6 months post completion of passing their MDCB exam
- Program will maintain an attrition rate of less than 25%
Interviews are conducted during the second and third week of June. Final determination will be made by July1, with acceptance letters sent out from the SAHP Admissions Committee by the middle of July. Priority is given to students whom have completed the following requirements:
- Completed all pre-requisite classes
- Submitted official transcripts
- Submitted three reference letters.
- Written and submitted admissions essay (see application portal for details)
- Completed 4-8 hours of observation in a Radiation Oncology Department. The career observation form can be downloaded on the forms page and brought to the the interview or submitted to the address given on the form)
- LLU must receive transcripts, references, and career observation form no later than May 1.
Department of Radiation Technology
School of Allied Health Professions
Loma Linda University
Nichol Hall A829
Loma Linda CA 92350
Carol Davis, PsyD, Dr.PH, R.T.(T)(ARRT)