Accredited Online Radiologic Tech Programs
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According to the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT), radiologic technologists (RTs) operate x-rays, CAT scans, and other equipment to assist physicians in making accurate diagnoses. Some choose to specialize in a field such as sonography, which uses high-frequency sound wave devices, or nuclear medicine, which uses radiopharmaceuticals and special cameras to view difficult-to-detect physiological phenomena, among other subfields of this growing career.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2016) reported that there were 200,650 radiologic technologists earning an average annual wage of $59,260, a generous wage considering that this career typically requires only two years of postsecondary education. Also, there was expected to be a nine percent increase in positions for radiologic technologists between 2014 and 2024—an addition of 17,200 jobs—which is slightly faster than the BLS’s average growth anticipated across all U.S. occupations during that time period (6.5 percent).
So how does a person become a radiologic technologist? In January 2015, the ARRT — the main organization which credentials these professionals — began requiring candidates to have at least an associate degree from an accredited program. The predominant accreditation organization is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT), and the AART offers a comprehensive breakdown of all qualifying accrediting agencies.
While many aspiring RTs choose to enroll in traditional, on-campus educational programs, there’s a growing array of accredited distance-based programs as well. These allow students to complete their core coursework online while completing in-person trainings at approved facilities close to their homes. While not all students will thrive in this type of setting, online programs allow for more scheduling flexibility, which can be attractive to working professionals, those with familial responsibilities, or people who live in rural regions.
This guide explores online radiologic technologist programs, including the typical coursework, tuition, and other relevant information.
Admissions Requirements for Online Radiologic Technologist Programs
To gain admissions to an online radiologic technologist program, the requirements mirror those of their on-campus counterparts. Derived from real online RT programs, applicants are typically expected to submit:
- Completed application and fee
- Official secondary school transcripts with competitive grades in science and math courses
- Proof of prerequisite coursework (e.g., chemistry, biology, etc.)
- TOEFL scores for non-native speakers of English
- A personal statement (500-600 words)
- Proof of health insurance and/or immunizations
Some programs have additional requirements, including candidate interviews, a resume, a background check, or letters of recommendation.
Curriculum & Specializations
Not all online radiologic technologist programs offer identical curricula, but students who aspire to study this subject should expect to take courses on the following topics:
- Diagnostic imaging
- Imaging modalities
- Radiographic procedures
- Medical procedures for radiologic technologists
- Radiation biology
- Medical terminology
- CT imaging
- Specialized imaging
- Anatomy and radiographic positioning
- Human anatomy and physiology
- Patient care
- Radiation physics
Aspiring students should also note that they also will be required to complete clinical hours in a healthcare setting, learning the hands-on applications of the discipline.
Some programs—particularly at the bachelor’s degree level—allow students to specialize in areas such as:
- Nuclear medicine technology
- Magnetic resonance technology
- Radiation therapy
- Medical dosimetry
- Bone densitometry
- Cardiovascular-interventional radiography
- Computed tomography (CT)
- Clinical management
- RT Education
Featured Online Radiologic Technologist Programs
Prior to applying to any of the below programs, students are encouraged to ensure that they’re eligible based on their state of residence. State authorization information is typically readily available on program websites (e.g., Oregon Tech Online), or can be retrieved from program coordinators to ensure eligibility.
Please note that associate degree programs generally take two years, and bachelor’s degree programs take four. Also, most online bachelor’s degree programs are open to working radiologic techs and want to deepen their expertise.
Southeast Community College (Several campuses in NE)
Students can pursue an online associate of applied science (A.A.S.) degree in radiologic technology in this JRCERT-accredited program. Courses include the introduction to diagnostic imaging; radiographic procedures; diagnostic imaging theory; advanced patient care management; radiation biology; and diagnostic imaging applications. The approximate cost for the whole program was $9,939 (2017).
Minnesota State Community and Technical College (Several campuses in MN)
This 79-credit hybrid radiologic technology A.A.S. program at Minnesota State Community and Technical College is JRCERT-accredited. The program includes both online and on-campus instruction in the fundamental concepts of radiologic technology; the principles of radiobiology; imaging equipment; and several clinical courses as well. To estimate costs, check out MState’s Tuition Calculator.
Century College (White Bear Lake, MN)
This school offers a hybrid A.A.S. degree in radiologic technology and is JRCERT-accredited. The 78 credit-hours include instruction in anatomy and positioning; the fundamentals of radiography; radiation biology and protection; and introduction to sectional anatomy, among other subjects. It costs $178.66 per credit-hour (2017).
Indian Hills Community College (Ottumwa, IA)
This school provides a two-year hybrid A.A.S. program with instruciton in human anatomy, positioning and film critique, and medical terminology. Please note that only the second year of the program is offered in an online format. The program costs $4,950 annually for residents and $7,200 for non-residents.
Ball State University (Muncie, IN)
BSU offers a 26-month hybrid A.S. program in radiography which is JRCERT-accredited. Please note that clinical hours must be completed at specific centers in Indiana, such as the IU Health Methodist Hospital or Hendricks Regional Health. The 14-month professional concentration portion of the program costs $13,769 for IN residents; additional fees apply for the other coursework.
University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College (Cincinnati, OH)
This online bachelor’s of radiation science technology (B.R.S.T.) program is open to applicants with at least an associate degree and are registered radiologic technologists. Designed for RTs seeking more in-depth education or opportunities in management, this program costs $11,150 annually for Ohio residents and $11,510 for non-residents.
St. Joseph’s College (Standish, ME)
This online B.S. is open to applicants who are working radiologic technologists seeking to further their education; it includes instruction in human resource management, healthcare informatics, ethics in healthcare, and reimbursement methodologies, among others. It costs $381 per credit-hour. Notably, students can fast-track to the school’s master’s of health administration program upon completion of the B.S.
University of Louisiana–Monroe (Monroe, LA)
At the University of Louisiana–Monroe, students can pursue an online bachelor of science (B.S.) degree in radiologic technology. To qualify, students must be registered with the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Students learn subjects such as clinical management; advanced imaging procedures; and specialized medical imaging modalities. It costs $400 per credit-hour.
Oregon Tech Online (Klamath Falls, OR)
Finally, this online B.S. program is open to working ARRT-registered professionals and focuses on the practice of radiologic science with advanced coursework in equipment operation and maintenance; patient care; radiation protection; healthcare systems and policy; total quality in healthcare; healthcare management; the essentials of pathophysiology; and mammography, in addition to a hands-on externship. It costs $245 per credit.