Medical diagnostics involves the use of imaging technology to diagnose medical conditions. Medical diagnostic imaging training courses are offered online in specific areas, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), mammography, cardiac sonography, angiography, vascular sonography and bone densitometry.
Due to the clinical, hands-on nature of the work, the number of completely online medical diagnostic programs is limited; most programs are offered in a hybrid format in which coursework is accessed online, but students still have to complete clinical and lab work. Students can earn either a certificate or a bachelor's degree in this field. Prior to enrolling in a bachelor's degree program, students may need an associate's degree in healthcare-related studies or experience as a nursing assistant, emergency medical technician (EMT), licensed practical nurse (LPN), or patient care medical assistant. They may also need to have taken coursework in anatomy, physiology, physics, communication, and statistics and algebra.
The programs that are available are designed primarily for those already working in the field and seeking career advancement, such as technologists, therapists, EMTs and nurses. The most common type of online program is a bachelor's degree completion program in diagnostic imaging or sonography. These programs qualify graduates to take advanced registry certification exams from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists or Cardiovascular Credentialing International.
Since these are completion programs, schools design their programs for those already working in the field or with some clinical experience or education in a related area. For example, some schools require that applicants have a healthcare-related associate's degree or higher in an area such as occupational therapy assisting, respiratory therapy or radiologic technology or have worked for one year as a nursing assistant, EMT, LPN or patient care medical assistant. Prerequisite courses often include anatomy, physiology, physics, communication, statistics and algebra, among others.
Learning Format and In-person Requirements
The didactic portion of the program is presented online, including the course syllabus, assignments, library and teacher presentations. Some programs offer multi-featured online classrooms in which students can view lectures and communicate with professors and peers. In-person requirements for these online programs include on-campus lab work and clinical practicums.
Bachelor of Science programs can be found online in medical diagnostic imaging and diagnostic medical sonography. Along with any general education coursework and prerequisite courses still needed, students take classes in a variety of imaging technologies. Students can often study two or more areas within a program in order to obtain multiple certifications. Subjects vary depending on the school and program focus, but include areas like mammography, bone densitometry and vascular sonography.
In addition to imaging coursework, some online medical diagnostic programs also cover research, management and administration in the field. Students may be required to complete a research project as part of their medical diagnostics career training.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- Computed Tomography (CT)
- Cardiac Sonography
- Vascular Sonography
- Bone Densitometry
After taking basic undergraduate coursework and gaining entry-level experience within the medical field, students may be interested in directing their careers toward medical diagnostics. An online bachelor's degree program in medical diagnostics can provide the necessary career education through virtual coursework and on-site practical training.