Online Training to Be a Radiographer

Learn about online degree programs in radiography. Get an overview of program types, degree levels, completion requirements, course topics, and continuing education options available for this field.

Essential Information

Radiography is a field of medicine that uses various forms of radiation to perform diagnostic procedures. Professionals in this field operate and maintain equipment, such as x-ray, MRI and mammography machines. Community colleges and four-year universities both offer undergraduate degree programs in radiography via distance learning.

The associate's-level programs are usually in a hybrid format, because it's at this level that students typically gain hands-on training in radiography. For this reason, associate's programs often combine virtual and on-campus instruction. Clinical practicums in a local healthcare facility are also required.

Online bachelor's degree programs, however, may offer fully online coursework. Schools usually offer these as degree completion programs, which means that students must already have a radiography associate's degree and be employed in the field. In addition, some programs require applicants have earned certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Clinical work may be required at this level as well.

Online Learning Information

Beyond any clinical work on campus or at a medical facility, students can complete radiography coursework online whenever it fits their schedules. Course management systems are used to deliver a virtual classroom experience complete with lectures, assignments, tests and tools for interaction like discussion boards or chat rooms. Class materials are usually always available to distance learners, although assignments and tests typically have rigid deadlines.

Associate's Degrees

In general, an online associate's degree in radiography can be earned in two years, but individuals pursuing online options may have greater pacing flexibility. The associate's degree programs require prospective students to have a high school diploma or GED, satisfactory placement test scores in general education areas, and a clean criminal background check.

Course Topics

These programs cover a range of subjects related to health and medicine in addition to general education coursework. Those expecting to pursue employment in clinics and doctor's offices upon graduation may wish to take complementary courses in accounting, patient psychology and medical law as well. Typical coursework in a distance learning program includes the following:

  • Safety procedures
  • Physiology
  • Patient management
  • Pharmacology
  • Statistics
  • Patient assessment

Bachelor's Degrees

An online radiography bachelor's degree can typically be finished in 2-4 years, though the actual amount of time spent in classes various significantly between students. Some online programs provide students with mentors or faculty advisors to assist with the unique challenges of earning a degree over the Internet; this may be especially necessary for radiography programs that require practical training components. Many online baccalaureate programs ask that applicants have experience in the radiography field and possess certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).

Course Topics

A bachelor's degree may prepare students to assume managerial or teaching roles in the field. As such, students may explore classes in consumer research, sales and marketing; in addition to the usual health-related topics listed below:

  • Technical writing
  • Computed tomography
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Sectional anatomy
  • Radiation biology
  • Public health
  • Healthcare leadership
  • Professional ethics

Continuing Education

On its own, online training to be a radiographer doesn't qualify a student for employment. A few programs, however, couple online radiography degrees with certification from ARRT. Requirements for professional practice as a radiographer vary between states, but most use these same examinations and standards for licensing professional radiographers.

Online associate's and bachelor's degree programs for aspiring radiographers combine general education with basic medical classes and radiography-focused subjects. After completing these programs, students may need to secure licensure or certification before they are able to work as radiographers.

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