While most programs in radiography and radiation science are not fully online, some associate and bachelor's degree programs offer a combination of online and onsite requirements for individuals working during the day or who are already in technician roles. We'll take a look at how an individual's current level of education can help him or her pick the right program and explore a couple of schools offering these degrees.
How to Select an Online Radiation Tech School
Because of the hands-on nature of the profession, states do not generally approve fully online education programs for radiation technicians, but they are offered by some schools. There are several factors about an online radiation technician schools that one must keep in mind, including which degrees can be found entirely online as well as several considerations regarding one's own schedule.
Degree Level and Type
Prospective students should choose a program based on their needs, whether entry-level or a degree completion program for working professionals. Those entering the profession will need to obtain a degree in radiologic technology or a similar area; these are most often found at the associate's level and can be found in hybrid format, although accelerated, fully-online associate degree programs exist. Those already working in the profession can enroll in a fully online bachelor's degree program in radiologic sciences, as long as they have completed the clinical requirements for licensure.
Time Requirements and Schedule
Some degree programs are accelerated programs designed for those who wish to take classes full time and complete their degree program more quickly than usual. These are normally hybrid programs that require students to attend class at particular times for in-person classes in addition to online coursework.
The other general type of degree program is designed to be flexible. When online, this includes asynchronous communication via forums and flexible assignment and test due dates. For hybrid programs, this usually means providing students with the opportunity to attend in-person classes on nights or weekends.
Online Program Options for Radiation Technicians
Online Associate of Applied Science in Radiography
Entry-level programs for radiation technicians are normally available in hybrid or traditional format, though some of them have either accelerated degree options or flexible programs for working adults. Those classes which can be found entirely online can include:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Medical terminology
- Methods of patient care
- Law and ethics in medicine
Online Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Sciences
A bachelor's degree in radiologic sciences is normally available online as a degree completion program for radiation technicians who have graduated and are already working full time. Similar classes are required, though more general education requirements may be included. Coursework for this degree program includes:
- Clinical ethics
- Sectional anatomy
- Healthcare organization and leadership
- Radiologic pharmacology
- MRI or CT physics
Schools with Online Programs in Radiography and Radiologic Science
Pima Medical Institute offers an accelerated associate degree program in radiography partially online. The advanced placement program is intended for individuals who are already licensed in radiography and want to increase their knowledge base or have additional career opportunities. Online coursework includes but is not limited to medical terminology, anatomy and physiology. Students must also complete a clinical externship. The program is usually 60 weeks long and consists of 2,720 hours of instruction, but that may vary according to the number of credits a student transfers into the program.
At Oregon Tech, registered radiologic technologists can acquire either a Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Science or a Bachelor of Science in Health Care Management online. The first degree combines a general education core with instruction in such topics as MRI, CT, and mammography, while the second focuses more on management. Eligible students must meet Oregon tech admissions criteria and hold credentials from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). They also must have access to a radiology laboratory to complete clinical requirements and gain extern credits.
Individuals interested in completing an online radiation technician program must consider factors such as their ability to meet on-site requirements, their career goals, and their current role. An in-person element is generally required, but many programs offer flexible schedules in order to accommodate different lifestyles.