Radiation therapy is used to treat cancer, carcinoma, lymphoma and leukemia. Completely online degree programs in radiation therapy aren't accredited by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). However, a number of accredited hybrid programs in radiation therapy are offered by vocational schools and community colleges. Such programs allow students to take some of the didactic coursework online while completing lab classes and clinical requirements in person.
Programs are offered at the associate's and bachelor's levels for those new to the field. Certificate programs also exist for those with training and experience in radiologic technology; coursework for these programs is offered completely online, but students still have to complete clinical experiences.
Associate's in Radiation Therapy
This program combines the convenience of an online education with campus-based hands-on coursework. The program can be completed in about two years. Students learn the basics of the profession and take some general education courses.
Online courses include studies of health care management, health care law and health care procedures. Online coursework is completed at the student's own pace. Students receive instruction and course materials through interactive tutorials and video lectures.
Earning an associate's degree in radiation therapy generally includes a significant amount of hands-on experience with health care technologies. On-campus courses are often focused on training students in the techniques and principles used in professional practice, as well as in patient care and treatment planning.
Bachelor's in Radiation Therapy
These ARRT-accredited programs incorporate training in radiation medicine with additional coursework in hospital administration, office management and anatomy. The degree can be completed in around four years.
Radiation therapy programs with hybrid elements often allow students to complete online coursework in a variety of required elective subjects, like statistics, history and political science. Online courses in areas related to radiation therapy include radiation oncology, computed topography and imaging.
Students are required to complete clinical experiences before graduating. Some programs require students to complete six semesters or nearly three years of clinical courses in order to receive a bachelor's degree in radiation therapy. Many on-campus classes include laboratory work as well as hands-on instruction.
Certificate in Radiation Therapy
Radiologic technologists with an associate's degree or higher can enroll in an online program in radiation therapy. The required coursework, which takes about a year to complete, can be taken completely online. Topics include radiation therapy physics, therapeutic radiobiology, simulation and treatment procedures and others; no general education classes are required. After completing classes, students attend clinical rotations at one or more radiation therapy centers.
Radiation therapy education in the form of distance learning can be found at associate's, bachelor's and certificate levels. Courses are mainly available online, with some requirements for hands-on experience.