BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech Community College alumna Amber Weyrich graduated with an Associate of Science in Radiation Therapy in 2013 and is now working full-time at Franciscan Health Cancer Center in Mooresville, Ind. with the title Lead Radiation Therapist. Weyrich began job shadowing radiation therapists at the Center which prompted her decision to enroll at Ivy Tech to earn her associate degree. She was hired as a PRN radiation therapist, working on an as-needed basis, which led to a regular, part-time position. She was promoted to her current role in March, 2016.
As lead radiation therapist, Weyrich administers radiation to patients, trains staff therapists, and works closely with dosimetrists, radiation oncologists and other healthcare professionals.
“I administer radiation to patients with all different types of cancers in different parts of the body,” said Weyrich. “We do CT scans for our patients before their treatments begin to help the doctor and dosimetrists, who plan treatments and pinpoint the area to be treated. As the lead radiation therapist I am basically the ‘go-to’ person for the manager of radiation oncology when she has any questions about the Mooresville clinic.”
Weyrich said she discovered the radiation therapy career while researching healthcare careers online.
“I chose Ivy Tech for the convenience of being able to take some of my pre-requisites online and also because Ivy Tech’s radiation therapy program was so much more cost efficient than the other degree program that is offered in Indiana for this career choice,” said Weyrich. “Ivy Tech offered the degree I wanted at a price I could afford. The Radiation Therapy program was organized and included exactly what I needed to learn to not only pass my board exams after graduation, but also to be able to be successful in finding a career after graduation.”
Weyrich excelled at Ivy Tech and received the John and Cathleen Cameron Radiation Therapy Scholarship in Spring 2013 and Fall 2012, the Ivy Tech Scholarship and the Bloomington Hospital Foundation Scholarship in Fall 2012, and the Ferguson Radiation Therapy Scholarship in Fall 2011 and Spring 2012.
Weyrich said her most influential instructors were Dr. Larry Swafford, dean of the School of Health Sciences and Karlee Wyatt, radiation therapy program chair.
“Not only were they wonderful teachers, they truly care about each of the students in the program,” she said. “They were personally invested in giving us the tools and information we needed to get through the program successfully, pass our board exams, and to navigate finding a position in our field.”
Weyrich said that she finds her career extremely rewarding. “A lot of times during the course of their treatments, patients will tell us how much their pain has been relieved due to their radiation and that makes us feel really good,” she said. “There is a misconception that being around cancer patients every day is depressing. Sure, you are going to see some really good people going through some really hard times and some of their outcomes don’t end well. On the other hand, seeing patients come back in for follow ups weeks, months, and years later looking happy and healthy is amazing and is the most rewarding feeling of all.”
Weyrich said she plans to continue her education by transferring her Ivy Tech credits to a four-year university with an online bachelor’s degree program.
Ivy Tech Bloomington’s Associate of Science in Radiation Therapy is the only accredited radiation therapy associate degree program in Indiana. The classroom is equipped with a state-of-the-art Virtual Environmental Radiotherapy Training (VERT) system, and Ivy Tech is one of 14 programs in the United States that trains students in this interactive 3-D virtual treatment room. In February 2016, the program received the Indiana Career and Technical Education Program Award for Excellence from the Indiana Department of Education. Information can be found online at ivytech.edu/radiation-therapy.