Online associate's degree programs in radiology are typically available in a hybrid format and open only to individuals who have graduated from a radiology technician training program. Without this prior training, students cannot meet the clinical experience required for certification as a radiographer. Before selecting a school, students should check to see how many of their previous credits will transfer. The length of the program varies, depending on the credits allotted. Students without prior training who are looking for a fully online program can consider options in a related field, such as a medical assistant associate's degree.
Courses in a radiology program may cover anatomy, biology and medical terminology. Students learn the mathematical calculations they'll need in their work as well. In-person requirements for these programs typically involve hands-on clinical training.
The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (AART) offers voluntary certification by means of an exam to graduates of approved programs. Some states use these test results to regulate licensing. Continuing education is required every two years to maintain certification. Specialty certifications are also available in areas such as CT scans or mammography through the AART.
Associate's Degree in Radiology
Participants in these degree programs learn how to perform X-ray scans using radiologic instruments and equipment. Only the didactic portion of associate's degree programs in radiology can be completed online; students must learn how to operate equipment in person on campus or in professional settings.
Students with previous experience that meets clinical requirements must provide documents proving graduation from an approved educational program and verified documentation of hours worked in the field. Graduates are awarded an Associate of Occupational Science or an Associate of Science in Radiologic Science Administration degree. They are also eligible to apply for and take the ARRT certification exam.
Program Information and Requirements
Students transferring substantial previous education credit may be able to complete an online associate's degree program in radiology in under a year. Schools grant a specific amount of academic and clinical experience credit to those who meet their criteria. Students who need to complete in-person training simultaneously will generally take longer to complete a program. Depending on the school, between 60 and 95 total credits may be required for graduation.
List of Common Radiology Courses
Radiology classes focus on science topics in biology, anatomy, physiology and physics. Radiography, pathology, patient care, computer literacy and medical terminology are also common topics of study. Some typical online courses are listed below.
Physiology and Anatomy
This class studies human tissues and systems with a focus on microscopic and gross anatomy. Physiological apparatus, laboratory work and lectures are used to study the nervous, muscular and skeletal system interactions.
Students are introduced to biological principles and concepts. Topics include cell structure and physiology, biochemistry and biological regulatory mechanisms, with an emphasis on conceptual thinking and the relationships among different parts of a system.
This course covers basic math concepts, skills, systems and subsystems. The class also includes studies in algebra and geometry.
Employment in radiology is expected to grow faster than average between 2018 and 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). An increase in the aging population and access to healthcare is expected to drive the growth. (www.bls.gov).
Workers who are experienced with more than one specialty imaging procedure generally enjoy the best employment prospects, according to the BLS. In May 2018, the BLS reported that median annual salary for radiologic technologists ranged from $40,630 and below for the lowest 10% to $86,350 and up for the highest 10%.
Continuing Education Information
Students can pursue further undergraduate or graduate degrees in radiologic science. Bachelor's degree programs are available online through some schools, and master's degree programs are offered in a combined online and in-person format.
Associate's degree programs in radiology include courses on human anatomy, biology and mathematics, and while most of the courses can be completed online, most distance learning programs in this field also require clinicials or other in-person training. Following certification, graduates of these programs can work as radiologic technologists.