Online Radiation Therapy Schools: How to Choose

Learn about important considerations when selecting an online radiation therapy school. Read more to get an overview of the program options, education requirements, and common topics offered for the field of study.

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Selecting an Online School

Radiation therapy is a hands-on field, meaning that online programs in the subject are challenging to find. There are a couple of partially online options that students may want to consider. In this video, we will discuss the different levels of available programs, various licensure and certification requirements, and in-person requirements for programs.

It is important to keep in mind a few key factors when choosing online radiation therapy schools. Radiation therapists are healthcare professionals who assist in the treatment of cancer by using radiation technology. Radiation therapy programs that lead to registration and qualify graduates for employment are not normally available in a fully online form, though some related and hybrid programs are available. Bachelor's degree programs in radiation sciences with a radiation therapy concentration are available from a few colleges. A few radiation therapy certificate programs are also available.

Program Availability and Level

A bachelor's degree program in radiation sciences and radiation therapy is designed for entry-level students, while certificate programs often require individuals to already have a degree or experience in the radiography field. In comparison, traditional on-campus students have additional options of enrolling in associate's or bachelor's degree programs in radiation therapy, which are not traditionally available online.

Licensing Requirements

State licensure and certification is typically required to work as a radiation therapist, and licensing requirements vary by state. Most prospective radiation therapists must complete an approved radiation therapy program and pass an examination offered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) in order to earn certification.

When choosing a radiation therapy school, students may want to determine what the licensing requirements are in their state and check with prospective employers to determine what educational requirements they must meet, such as program level or specific coursework. Students may also check carefully to see that any online program under consideration is approved by the ARRT and will prepare them to earn the credentials they need to practice.

Available Online Programs

Online Bachelor of Science in Radiation Sciences

Though they do not focus specifically on radiation therapy, radiation science bachelor's degree programs are available through distance learning. These programs often include coursework or a concentration in radiation therapy, but do not necessarily provide all the requirements for licensure or certification. Some of these programs are available in a fully online format, while others require students to complete some classes in person. Students may also be required to have an associate's degree or complete general education requirements prior to enrollment. Distance learning students take courses in:

  • Imaging informatics
  • Radiographic pathology
  • Microbiology
  • Physiology and anatomy
  • General psychology

Online Radiation Therapy Certificate

Radiation therapy certificate programs are also available in a partially online form from some institutions. These programs are generally intended for individuals who already have a degree or are working in the field of radiography and want to focus on radiation therapy.

These programs typically have clinical requirements that must be fulfilled in person, while the didactic courses are available online. Many programs also require students to attend at least one in-person course at the institution's campus. Subjects covered include:

  • Radiation biology
  • Oncology
  • Applied dosimetry
  • Radiation therapy procedures
  • Pathology

Online Schools With Programs

Washburn University offers an online radiation therapy certificate program that is designed for individuals who have already graduated from an accredited radiologic technology program at the associate level or higher and possess the RT(R) certification. The courses in this program can be completed entirely online, though students will have to attend clinical rotations on campus. The semester is comprised of 40 credit hours and can be completed in 13 months.

The University of Cincinnati offers a Bachelor of Radiation Science Technology that can be completed online. This program is designed for individuals who have already obtained an associate-level degree in radiation therapy or medical imaging and are also nationally certified. While all courses can be completed entirely online, students will also have to complete an in-person internship to put their skills to use. To be admitted, they must show proof of their certification and also have maintained a GPA of at least 2.5 in their past courses.

To summarize, there are a few partially online programs in radiation therapy, often designed for students who have already obtained credentialing in this area. These programs may help students obtain more advanced careers as they increase their knowledge and skill set in the field.

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