Celebrating 20 years: BCIT Radiation Therapy is the only program of its kind in BC

The BCIT School of Health Sciences is excited to celebrate 20 years of its Radiation Therapy program this spring. As the only program of its kind in BC, this Bachelor of Science program has graduated close to 200 radiation therapists who contribute to delivering accurate treatment and a high standard of patient care to treat cancer. The program also contributes 100% of BC’s radiation therapy specialists, whose work makes a meaningful difference for patients and their families.

“Our first cohort in the program had 12 students who graduated in May 2003. All of these graduates are still working in radiation therapy with almost all taking on leadership or specialty roles in the profession, including in educational roles,” says Dr. Lorraine Clarke Roe, Program Head, BCIT Radiation Therapy.

The field of Radiation Therapy has evolved progressively over the past two decades. Prior to the introduction of Radiation Therapy program at BCIT, the only training available for students in BC was at BC Cancer and in the form of a diploma program. Realizing that this program should become a degree, the decision was made to move to an accredited post-secondary institute, with BCIT being the obvious choice given the Institute’s already comprehensive health sciences offerings.

“Our home at BCIT allows us to be in close connection with the other Medical Radiation Technology programs, namely Medical Radiography and Nuclear Medicine. This close alliance also allows us to learn from each other, share knowledge of our professions and curriculum, and build relationships that are already designated by the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (CAMRT), our national professional association,” explains Lorraine who has been Program Head since the beginning.

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An innovative and applied learning environment

The advancement of technology has also enhanced students’ applied learning experience. “BCIT students use virtual simulation to explore complex techniques in a safe environment that mimics the healthcare setting. The treatment planning lab provides practical, innovative, and hands-on experience for students to gain complex and daily treatment techniques and daily imaging techniques required to produce treatment plans,” says Lorraine.

Throughout the years, the program remains taught and designed by clinical experts who ensure the curriculum is relevant, flexible, and applied so students are job-ready at graduation.

The role of a radiation therapist

Radiation therapy is the treatment of cancer with doses of targeted ionized radiation. Radiation therapists use innovative computer software and sophisticated equipment – a precise beam – to treat cancer patients.

Graduates work in a team of healthcare professionals including radiation oncologists, nurses, and nutritionists to support cancer patients during their treatment. Graduates of the BCIT Radiation Therapy program work in BC Cancer Radiation Therapy departments across the province and Canada wide.

Thank you to all our Radiation Therapy graduates for your contributions to the healthcare system. Learn more about the BCIT Bachelor of Science in Radiation Therapy program.

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