Many schools offer associate's degree programs in radiologic technology that combine fully online coursework with hands-on clinical experiences. Students can access lectures and course materials as their schedules permit, and interact with instructors and classmates through e-mail and online forums. Extensive clinical experiences at area health care facilities are required throughout the program, giving students a chance to practice as they learn.
Courses in an associate's degree program in radiologic technology may include general education topics, such as psychology, biology and English composition. Radiologic technology students also study anatomy and physiology, interpersonal communication and patient care. They learn the basics of radiologic technology through courses and practice in equipment operation, safety procedures and imaging procedures. The programs take about two years to complete.
Many states require that radiologic technicians and technologists be licensed. Students should make sure any online program they are considering is accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JCERT). Most states require this for licensure, in addition to passing a certification examination.
Radiology Technician Associate Degree
This degree program provides training in the fundamental principles students need to assist radiologists in the examination of patients. Students study medical terminology and the principles of x-ray technology and examination procedures while learning how to operate an x-ray machine. Radiology technicians help doctors treat patients for internal ailments, such as tumors, broken bones and ulcers. Students are trained to evaluate x-ray images and assist in the diagnosis process. It is helpful if students are in good physical shape; radiology technicians often have to lift and maneuver patients who have difficulty doing so on their own.
Program Information and Requirements
Online radiology technician associate degree programs offered in a hybrid format require that students complete on-site clinical experience at a medical facility. Some schools deliver coursework through a platform such as Blackboard. This allows students to communicate with teachers and other students via e-mail and message boards.
Students must have access to a computer with a high-speed Internet connection. It is helpful if the computer has an updated Web browser and operating system.
Typical Online Courses
Students can expect to enroll in general education courses in addition to elective courses. Courses are often asynchronous, so that they can be completed at the student's discretion.
This course outlines the proper use and function of x-ray equipment. Students learn about the terminology used and how to interpret projected images. In addition, basic anatomy and body positions are examined.
Students gain an understanding of how radiation exposure can affect biological systems. This course focuses on radiation monitoring and the practices used to measure radiation levels. In addition, students learn the procedures used to protect patients undergoing radiation treatments.
Radiographic Imaging Equipment
Course topics include X-ray equipment physics, mechanics and basic principles. Students also learn about the physical as well as digital components in an X-ray machine.
Certification and Continuing Education
Upon completion of this program students are eligible to take the radiography certification exam offered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. Graduates can choose to enhance their education by pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Technology, also offered online, mostly in a hybrid format. Coursework in this program includes instruction in more complex types of radiographic imaging, such as CT (computed tomography) and MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scanning; other courses cover advanced radiography and the issues affecting today's professional technologist.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 195,590 radiologic technologists were employed nationwide in 2015, and the annual mean wage for this position was $58,520. People who worked with commercial and industrial machinery and equipment rental and leasing had the highest earnings with an annual mean salary of $73,360.
Associate's degree programs in radiologic technology offer fully online coursework but require extensive hands-on clinical experiences. Common courses include topics related to necessary procedures, equipment, and protection.