Online Radiation Therapy Schools: How to Choose
Radiation therapists are healthcare professionals who assist in the treatment of cancer by using radiation technology. Radiation therapy programs that lead to registration and qualify graduates for employment are not normally available in a fully online form, though some related and hybrid programs are available.
How to Choose an Online Radiation Therapy School
Program Availability and Level
Programs with online components that cover radiation therapy are rare, and fully online programs that focus specifically on radiation therapy are practically nonexistent; however, prospective radiation therapists seeking online programs do have options, including bachelor's degree programs in radiation sciences with a radiation therapy concentration or radiation therapy certificate programs. The bachelor's degree program is designed for entry-level students, while the certificate program often requires individuals to already have a degree or experience in the radiography field. In comparison, traditional on-campus students have additional options of enrolling in associate's or bachelor's degree programs in radiation therapy, which are not traditionally available online.
Licensing and Certification Requirements
State licensure and certification is typically required to work as a radiation therapist, and licensing requirements may vary by state. Normally, prospective radiation therapists must complete an approved radiation therapy program and pass an examination offered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) in order to earn certification.
When choosing a radiation therapy school, students may want to determine what the licensing requirements are in their state and check with prospective employers to determine what educational requirements they must meet, such as program level or specific coursework. Students may also check carefully to see that any online program under consideration is approved by the AART and will prepare them to earn the credentials they need to practice.
Available Online Radiation Therapy Programs
Online Bachelor of Science in Radiation Sciences
Though they do not focus specifically on radiation therapy, radiation science bachelor's degree programs are available through distance learning. These programs often include coursework or a concentration in radiation therapy, but do not necessarily provide all the requirements for licensure or certification. These programs may be available in a fully online format or require students to complete some classes in person, depending on the institution. Distance learning students normally take courses in clinical radiography, radiographic pathology, human anatomy, physiology and general psychology. Students may also be required to have an associate's degree or complete general education requirements prior to enrollment.
Online Radiation Therapy Certificate
Radiation therapy certificate programs are also available in a partially online form from some institutions. These radiation therapy programs typically have clinical requirements that must be fulfilled in person, while the didactic courses are available online. A few programs may be primarily available online, though they often still require students to attend at least one in-person course at the institution's campus. Subjects covered include radiation biology, oncology, ethics and health, radiation therapy procedures and pathology. These online certificate programs are often intended for individuals who already have a degree or are working in the field of radiography and want to focus on radiation therapy.
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