Best Online Radiation Therapy Degree Programs & Schools

Learn about the different types of online radiation therapy degree programs, including common coursework and practical requirements. Then, explore the top radiation therapy schools and get tips on how to choose the perfect program for your needs. Schools offering Diagnostic Medical Sonography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Best Online Degree Programs & Schools for Radiation Therapy

There are a variety of online radiation therapy degree programs available at the undergraduate and graduate level, and to help you understand what your options are for earning a degree of this type, we've complied a list of the top programs. Below, you can explore radiation therapy programs that are flexible, affordable, and prepare students for radiation therapy-focused careers.

1. University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Location Graduate Tuition & Fees (in-state)
La Crosse, WI $9,915

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse is home to an online Master of Science in Medical Dosimetry degree program that welcomes students who are radiation therapists, non-radiation therapists, and currently certified medical dosimetrists. This online program prepares students for careers as part of a radiation oncology team where they plan optimal radiation treatments and calculate radiation doses. Students take convenient, synchronous online classes that feature lectures, interactive elements, forums, and projects. Also required is a 12-month internship, which takes place in a radiation oncology department, and the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse partners with prestigious clinical sites throughout the country and works with students to find suitable placements. This master's program has the distinction of being accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT), and all students pay an affordable rate of $400 per credit.

2. La Roche University

Location Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Pittsburgh, PA $28,564 76%

La Roche University offers students who are or will become a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS) or a Registered Technologist (RT) the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Medical Imaging through its degree completion program. This career-centered program is fully online and helps students advance in the radiography, nuclear medicine, and MRI fields. With a generous transfer credit policy, students can apply up to 90 credits towards this 120-credit degree. That means with 15 RDMS or RT credits, 45 science credits, and an additional 30 credits, students only need to complete 10 courses to earn their bachelor's degree. La Roche University has received accreditation from both the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSCHE) and the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT).

3. Rutgers University-New Brunswick

Location Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
New Brunswick, NJ Undergraduate: $14,974
Graduate: $19,416
69%

At Rutgers University-New Brunswick, students have several pathways for advancing their radiologic career, including earning a:

  • Bachelor of Science (BS) in Medical Imaging Sciences in Radiologic Imaging Modalities
  • Master of Science (MS) in Radiologist Assistant
  • Certificate in Radiologic Imaging Modalities

The flexible online BS is for American Registry of Radiologic Technologist (ARRT) credentialed radiologic technologists and features a curriculum that algins with the American Society of Radiologic Technologist (ASRT) standards. The online, part-time 46-credit MS is the only degree of its kind in New Jersey that has been recognized by ARRT and boosts a high pass rate on the Registered Radiologist Assistant (RAA) national board certification exam. For ARRT-registered Diagnostic Radiologic Technologists, the online 34-credit certificate program can help them expand their skill set in CT/mammography or MRI. Each of these online programs requires clinical experiences or labs that must be completed in-person.

4. Southern Illinois University-Carbondale

Location Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Carbondale, IL Undergraduate: $14,704
Graduate: $15,626
93%

Southern Illinois University-Carbondale offers a unique online Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Sciences degree completion program that has a special focus on management and education. This 120-credit program is open to credentialed radiation therapists, nuclear medicine technologists, and medical dosimetrists who want to move into a managerial role in a medical imaging department or who want to focus on radiography education. Also offered at this university is an online Master of Science in Radiologic Sciences degree program that requires 36 credits and has a similar management and education focus as the online BS. Both of these programs can be completed 100% online with no on-campus or clinical experiences required. These programs have also achieved accreditation from the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT).

5. Morehead State University

Location Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Morehead, KY $9,070 99%

At Morehead State University, students who are certified in the fields radiation therapy, radiography, nuclear medicine, or sonography can earn a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Leadership in Medical Imaging in a 100% online format with no in-person requirements. This program is perfect for those who want to expand their management/leadership skills as well as their teaching/educational skills. Especially designed for working professionals, this BS program offers a convenient part-time attendance option, perfect for those balancing work, school, and life. The Department of Kinesiology, Health, and Imaging Sciences at Morehead State University has earned accreditation for its program from the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

Rank School Name Location Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
6 University of New Mexico-Main Campus Albuquerque, NM $7,633 96%
7 Georgia Southern University Statesboro, GA $6,356 90%
8 Indiana University-Northwest Gary, IN $7,344 86%
9 Indiana University-South Bend South Bend, IN $7,344 89%
10 Clarkson College Omaha, NE $13,392 95%
11 Siena Heights University Adrian, MI $27,124 100%
12 Santa Fe College Gainesville, FL $2,563 68%
13 Washburn University Topeka, KS $8,312 92%
14 University of Cincinnati-Blue Ash College Blue Ash, OH $6,010 80%
15The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston, TX $6,403 (Graduate) n/a

Overview of Online Radiation Therapy Programs

Online radiation therapy degree programs are for current or aspiring radiation therapists who want to earn the right educational credentials for their career or for professional certification. These types of programs usually require online coursework as well as some in-person, practical requirements. For example, some programs require internships or clinical work in a medical setting. A limited number of programs may be able to be completed fully online; however, usually, these programs are for credentialed professionals.

Further, there are several similar degree types in the field, including degrees in radiological science, radiological imaging, medical dosimetry, and radiography, which share a similar focus and may include courses that instruct students on the principles of radiation therapy subjects.

Undergraduate Radiation Therapy Programs

Online associate degrees in radiation therapy require around 60 credits with curriculums that include some general education coursework in life sciences, math, communication, and the humanities as well as radiation therapy-centered courses. Associate programs allow students to complete some coursework through an online format but may require some on-campus classes. Students also complete practicums or externships.

While there are several options available for earning a bachelor's degree in radiation therapy online, many, but not all, are degree completion programs that requires students have already earned an associate degree or a bachelor's degree. Some of these programs can be completed 100% online and others required some in-person clinical experiences. There are also online bachelor's programs available in radiological imaging, medical imaging, and radiation science technology.

Online radiation therapy programs that lead to a certificate are for students who already hold a degree in allied health or radiological technology. Along with online coursework, students must also complete labs or clinical placements at radiation therapy centers.

Graduate Radiation Therapy Programs

There are several types of online graduate radiation therapy-focused degrees, including the following:

  • Master of Radiation Therapy
  • Master of Science in Medical Dosimetry
  • Master of Science (MS) in Radiologist Assistant
  • Master of Science in Radiologic Sciences

Mainly, master's level programs are designed for students who want to move into a leadership, administrative, or educational role in the field of radiation therapy. Usually, these programs allow students to complete coursework online; however, all but a limited number of programs require a clinical internship.

Length of Online Radiation Therapy Programs

Associate programs in radiation therapy take about 2 years to complete, and bachelor's programs take 4 years. However, bachelor's degree completion programs can be completed in 1 to 2 years, as students apply their already earned college credits towards their bachelor's.

Online certificate programs can be completed in about 13 to 16 months, depending on the program's format. Master's degrees can usually be earned in about 2 years with some programs offering an accelerated 1-year format.

Common Courses in Online Radiation Therapy Programs

Radiation therapy programs usually cover a range of topics that relate to radiology, medical imaging, and patient safety, and below, you can explore some common courses that you may take in your program.

  • Radiation Physics - This course provides students with an understanding of radiation and its use in the medical field, including x ray production, matter interactions, magnetism, and radiation protection/safety.
  • Oncology - A class that covers the diagnosis and treatment of human cancer as well as the principles and techniques of radiation therapy treatment.
  • Patient Care - The study of patient care in a radiation therapy context, which teaches students about vital sign monitoring, emergency procedures, infection control, and pharmacology.
  • Dosimetry and Treatment Planning - Students learn the techniques for planning radiation treatments for patients. Specific topics covered include patient contouring, dosimetric calculations, and isodose descriptions.
  • Sectional Anatomy - This is a course that focuses on 3-D anatomy and helping students understand the relationship and placement of anatomic structures, including the brain, spine, and abdominal region.

Prerequisites for Online Radiation Therapy Programs

The prerequisites for online radiation therapy programs differ based on the level of degree. For online associate degrees, you need to have finished high school or have earned your GED.

Bachelor's programs usually require that students complete prerequisite coursework before applying, which could include classes in radiology, physiology, human anatomy, English, and math. Bachelor's degree completion programs require an associate degree in radiation therapy, diagnostic medical sonograph, radiologic technology, or in a related field. Some programs will also accept a bachelor's degree in unrelated field but will require the completion of prerequisite coursework as well. Additionally, bachelor's degree completion programs sometimes require that you have achieved certification as a radiation therapist, nuclear medicine technologist, a radiologic technologist, or in a related occupation.

Online certificate programs typically require an associate degree, and some programs require observation hours, prerequisites coursework in math, physiology, human anatomy, and radiation physics.

For undergraduate programs, you will also need to submit an application and transcripts, and some programs require letters of recommendation, a background check, or an essay.

Master's degree programs in the field of radiation therapy require that students apply with a bachelor's degree with some requiring a Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT)-accredited degree and certification in radiologic sciences or a therapeutic field. You must also submit an application, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose.

Radiation Therapy Career Options

With a degree in radiation therapy, you can fulfill your goal of becoming a radiation therapist or can pursue other types of careers in the radiologic field. All of the careers below require a bachelor's degree, an associate degree, or a certificate.

Radiation Therapist

Radiation therapists specialize in treating cancer and other patients by administering radiation treatments. Their job duties include:

  • Preparing patients for treatment
  • Operating radiation machines and technology
  • Monitoring patients and their treatment
  • Keeping patient records

Nuclear Medicine Technologist

Nuclear medicine technologists primarily work with radioactive drugs, preparing them for use in medical imaging or for patient use. Specific job duties entail:

  • Interacting with patients to describe procedures
  • Following strict safety protocols
  • Operating the imaging machines and technologies
  • Monitoring patients for adverse reactions

Radiologic and MRI Technologist

Radiologic technologists and MRI technologists are experts at performing diagnostic imaging examinations, such as x-ray and computed tomography (CT) imaging. Typically, they must:

  • Take patient histories
  • Prepare equipment for use
  • Position patients correctly to image the right area
  • Analyze images

Job Title Median Annual Salary (2019) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Radiation Therapists $85,560 9%
Nuclear Medicine Technologists $77,950 7%
Radiologic and MRI Technologists $62,280 9%

Salary and job growth information provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Professional Certification for Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapist must be licensed in most states, and although requirements vary, typically, they must graduate from an accredited program and achieve ARRT certification, which comes from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).

ARRT certification entails the following:

  • Completion of an ARRT-approved program
  • Commitment to ARRT ethical standards
  • Passing the ARRT certification exam

Nuclear medicine technologist must also become licensed, and most choose to become certified, as certification helps fulfill licensure requirements. ARRT offers certification as does the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB).

While MRI technologist don't need state licensure, radiologic technologists do. Licensure usually requires completion of an accredited program as well as a passing grade on a state or certification exam. ARRT also offers certification for radiologic technologists and MRI technologists, with the latter also able to earn certification from the American Registry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists (ARMRIT).

How to Choose an Online Radiation Therapy Program

As becoming a licensed and certified radiation therapy requires several steps, including earning an accredited degree, it's important that you choose the right program. We suggest that you consider a program's practical requirements as well as if it is accredited.

Practical Requirements

The first thing to consider when choosing an online program is if you can complete any in-person, practical requirements. If you are unable to come to campus or complete practicums, then you should choose a program that is 100% online. However, as most programs requires some kind of in-person experience, then its best that you consider how you can complete the practical requirements. For example, perhaps you will not be able to come to campus but can complete a clinical placement in your own community. Be sure that you do your research about what practical elements a program has and don't be afraid of asking your prospective program how they help you complete them.

Accreditation

Perhaps the most important factor that should guide your decision-making process is accreditation. You want to choose a program that has been accredited by an agency approved by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). One of these approved agencies is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT), which offers accreditation to radiation therapy, magnetic resonance, radiography and medical dosimetry programs on all levels. To achieve accreditation a program must meet standards that include student safety, curriculum, program resources, integrity, and student outcomes.

There are also other ARRT-approved accreditors, including the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), which accredits health sciences profession programs, and the Joint Review Committee on Educational Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology (JRCNMT), which accredits nuclear medicine programs.

Last, you want your school to be regionally accredited by an agency approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Regional accreditation is important for two major reasons: one, schools only accept transfer credits from other regionally accredited schools, and two, only students who attend an accredited school can access federal financial aid.

Schools with Online Radiation Therapy Programs

In addition to our ranking, the following schools also offer online radiation therapy-centered degree programs.

School Name Location Program Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state) JRCERT Accredited
Washburn University Topeka, KS Certificate in Radiation Therapy $8,312 Yes
Amarillo College Amarillo, TX Associate of Applied Science in Radiation Therapy $3,168 Yes
University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH Bachelor of Radiation Science Technology $11,000 Yes
Valencia College Orlando, FL Bachelor of Science in Radiologic and Imaging Sciences $2,474 Yes
Thomas Edison State University Houston, TX Bachelor of Science in Radiation Protection/Health Physics $7,519 No

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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