Guide to Accredited Online Radiation Therapy Schools

Explore JCERT-accredited online radiation therapy schools that make it convenient and affordable to get the training you need to become ARRT-certified.

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Last Updated: 09/22/2021
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Are you interested in a challenging and satisfying career helping patients in their fight to overcome serious illness? How about one that also has good pay and real growth potential that doesn’t require years of grad school?

If this sounds like you, then you may want to consider becoming a radiation therapist. Radiation therapists are medical professionals who provide crucial radiation therapy to cancer patients at state-of-the-art treatment facilities in their communities. To become a radiation therapist, you’ll need to earn your professional radiation therapist certification. And that requires completing a fully-accredited radiation therapy degree or certificate program.

This guide shows you how you can get the radiation therapy training you need through the convenience and flexibility of distance learning. Below you’ll find key details to get started on your program search, including a list of the best online radiation therapy schools and the different types of programs offered partially-online. You’ll also get the latest information on radiation therapy salaries, job prospects, and much more. Keep reading to learn how you can launch your career in radiation therapy by earning your radiation therapist online degree.

Best Radiation Therapist Online Programs for 2021

We’ve spotlighted three of the best online radiation therapy schools to give you an idea of what to look for. These programs rose to the top based on several important criteria, including affordability, flexibility and convenience, access to student support services, and proper accreditation. The spotlights also provide a preview of our full radiation therapist online program rankings list coming later this year. So, be sure to check back.

Amarillo College

The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Radiation Therapy program at Amarillo College in Amarillo, Texas, offers general education courses and coursework for your major 100% online but combines that with approximately 1,500 clock hours of in-person clinical training. Clinicals are held weekdays at radiation therapy centers throughout the U.S. The 77-semester-hour program requires two years of full-time study, with most students completing all degree requirements at the end of the spring semester of their sophomore year. Along with earning their AAS degree, graduates of the program are eligible for the national examination to obtain certification and registration in Radiation Therapy from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).

Amarillo College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Amarillo College’s Radiation Therapy program is accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT).


Hillsborough Community College

Located in Tampa, Florida, Hillsborough Community College offers an Associate of Science (AS) in Radiation Therapy designed for high school graduates seeking to become fully credentialed radiation therapists. The program consists of 77 credit hours of coursework and clinical training completed in six semesters (including summer sessions) over a two-year period. The bulk of academic coursework is held on the college’s Dale Mabry campus. However, a number of required and elective courses, including the five prerequisite courses (completed prior to admission into the degree program), can be taken online. Students also complete substantial clinical hours at one of over 30 affiliated clinical sites located throughout Tampa and the surrounding areas. The program is JRCERT-accredited.

Students who successfully complete the AS program are eligible for the ARRT’s national radiation therapy exam. Graduates who want to continue their education can move into the Bachelor of Science in Applied Science program at the University of Florida. Hillsborough also offers a 43-credit-hour, Radiation Therapy Specialist Certificate program for current radiographers interested in becoming certified radiation therapists.

Washburn University

Washburn University’s 13-month-long Radiation Therapy Certificate program is designed to provide currently registered radiologic technologists with the coursework and clinical training to become certification and registry-eligible for the ARRT Radiation Therapist credential. Students attend online synchronous live classes each Monday from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm (Central Time) and complete clinical requirements in person (typically weekdays Tuesday through Friday) at dozens of program-affiliated radiation therapy centers across the US. The program is accredited by the JRCERT.

To be eligible for this program, an applicant must be a graduate of an accredited radiologic technology program, hold a previously earned associate (or higher) degree from a school accredited by an ARRT-approved agency, and currently possess the ARRT’s RT(R) professional designation. Online students at Washburn have access to a range of academic support services that include tutoring and writing support, online library resources, and IT support available seven days a week.

Popular Types of Radiation Therapist Online Programs

When it comes to radiation therapist online programs, your options are fairly limited but there are some out there. These include both associate and bachelor’s degree programs, as well as courses leading to a radiation therapy postsecondary certificate. Each is designed to accommodate students at different points along their academic and professional paths. How do you decide which is best for you? Here’s a look.

Associate Degrees in Radiation Therapy

The associate degree in radiation therapy is the most popular academic pathway to obtaining the academic and clinical training to be eligible for ARRT certification and registration as a radiation therapist. A small number of radiation associate degree programs (listed below) feature all or part of their general education and/or major-subject coursework online. All programs include substantial (approximately 1,500) clinical hours that must be completed in person at a radiation therapy practice site, usually in the student’s local area.

Like most associate degrees, earning your radiation therapy associate degree requires two years of full-time study, including summer sessions. Mitchell Tech’s one-year, three-semester program (linked below) is the exception. Admission requirements typically include a high school diploma or equivalent and completion of a set of prerequisite college-level courses. Some programs also require applicants to have ARRT-registered radiologic technologist certification or be a registry-eligible graduate of a radiologic technology program.

Examples of Accredited Online Radiation Therapy Schools with this Program

Amarillo College

Cambridge College of Healthcare & Technology

Hillsborough Community College

Mitchell Technical College

Bachelor’s Degrees in Radiation Therapy

There are two categories of bachelor’s degrees related to the field of radiation therapy. The first are titled as radiation therapy degrees (such as Bachelor of Science in Radiation Therapy). These programs may be traditional four-year programs that include all general education requirements or two-year degree completion programs in which students enter the program having previously completed all general ed courses. Like radiation therapy associate degrees, these bachelor’s programs prepare graduates for ARRT certification and registration as radiation therapists, which means they include substantial in-person clinical training requirements.

Online radiation therapy bachelor’s programs are practically nonexistent. However, many campus-based programs include general education coursework that can be completed fully or partially online. Examples include the Kent State University, Thomas Jefferson University, and University of Wisconsin La Crosse programs linked below.

The second type of radiation-therapy-related bachelor’s degrees are those that provide currently certified and registered radiation therapists a way to gain additional specialized skills and earn a full bachelor’s degree, typically with two years of coursework. Since the programs don’t require in-person clinical training, many are available 100% online. Examples include the Morehead State University, Ohio State University, Thomas Edison State University, and University of New Mexico programs linked below.

Examples of Accredited Online Radiation Therapy Schools with this Program

Kent State University

Thomas Jefferson University (BS in Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences with Radiation Therapy Concentration)

University of Wisconsin La Crosse (BS in Radiation Therapy)

Morehead State University (BS in Leadership in Medical Imaging)

Ohio State University (AS to BS in Radiologic Sciences)

Thomas Edison State University (BS in Radiation Therapy)

University of New Mexico (BS in Radiologic Science Medical Imaging)

Radiation Therapy Certificates

Radiation therapy certificate programs provide a convenient and cost-effective path for current ARRT-certified radio technologists with a previously earned associate degree to obtain the education and clinical training for ARRT Radiation Therapist certification and registration eligibility. Radiation therapy certificate programs typically require one year of academic coursework and in-person clinical training. Since these programs are specifically focused on providing the requirements for radiation therapist certification, virtually none of them feature coursework that is completed primarily online. The lone exception is the Washburn University program linked below. However, other certificate programs (like Hillsborough Community College’s) may include one or two courses that can be taken online.

Examples of Accredited Online Radiation Therapy Schools with this Program

Hillsborough Community College

Washburn University

Radiation Therapy Master’s Programs

Current radiation therapists interested in advancing their careers will want to consider a master’s degree in dosimetry or radiation sciences leadership. Many of these programs feature academic coursework that is entirely online. Dosimetry master’s students also complete in-person contact hours at a clinical site approved by the degree program. Admission into these master’s programs typically requires a previously earned bachelor’s degree in radiation therapy or another radiologic technology-related major. ARRT certification and registration may or may not be required for admission, although noncertified applicants may need to complete additional master’s program requirements.

Examples of Accredited Online Radiation Therapy Schools with this Program

Grand Valley State University (MS in Medical Dosimetry)

Loma Linda University (MS in Radiation Sciences)

Southern Illinois University (MS in Medical Dosimetry)

University of Wisconsin La Crosse (MS in Medical Dosimetry)

What Do You Learn in an Online Radiation Therapist Program?

The job of the radiation therapist is to administer prescribed doses of radiation to cancer patients through the operation of sophisticated radiation therapy equipment. And that’s what your radiation therapist online degree or certificate program will train you to do. Through coursework and hands-on training at state-of-the-art treatment facilities, students learn to explain treatment procedures to patients, properly position patients to receive treatment, administer proper dosages of radiation, monitor patients for unusual reactions to treatment, and maintain accurate treatment records.

Every radiation therapist online program sets its own program goals in a statement of learning outcomes similar to the following:

  • Clinical competence

Demonstrated clinical competence in all duties and responsibilities of an entry-level radiation therapist, including the implementation of proper clinical procedures, application of appropriate radiation protection principles and practices, and the application of appropriate legal and ethical practice standards.

  • Communication

Demonstrated competency of effective communication and interpersonal skills when interacting with patients and fellow members of the therapist’s oncology team both inside and outside the clinical setting.

  • Critical thinking

Demonstrated competence in critical thinking and problem-solving skills in academic and professional radiation therapy practice settings. These include the ability to recognize and resolve issues concerning patient treatment in both routine and nonroutine circumstances.

  • Professional and ethical practice

Possession of a solid understanding of professional and ethical standards of behavior and their consistent application both within and outside the clinical setting.

  • Professional development and lifelong learning

Commitment to professional growth during and after the student’s radiation therapist academic program and throughout their entire professional career. This includes active participation in continuing education programs and professional activities that keep them aware of current and emerging radiation therapy methods, practices, and technologies.

Common Radiation Therapy Online Courses

Anatomy and Physiology

Introduction to the function, structure, and terminology of the human body and its systems. Specific topics covered include: chemistry and cellular structures; tissue and the integumentary system; skeletal system and joints; muscle, muscle tissue, and the muscular system; the central and peripheral nervous systems; the sensory, motor, and integrative systems; and the endocrine system.

Introduction to Radiation Therapy

Overview of the field of professional radiation therapy and the role it plays in cancer management and the delivery of care to cancer patients. Specific topics include radiation therapy and oncology-related medical terminology, patient assessment, radiation safety and protection practices and procedures, charting and documentation, and proper therapist/patient interaction.

Medical Terminology

Review of basic medical words, terms, abbreviations, and symbols used in general medical practice and specific to radiation therapy. Particular emphasis is placed on word origin and structure, definitions, spelling, and pronunciation. Other topics include diagnostic, therapeutic, disease process, and operative terminology, as well as basic health care records.

Radiation Oncology

Introduction to the fundamentals of radiation oncology, including the diagnosis, evaluation, staging, and development of treatment plans for common malignancies in both child and adult cancer patients. Included are discussions of the general principles of oncological radiation therapy and its side effects, the relationship of radiation therapy to other treatment modalities (immunotherapy, chemotherapy, surgery), and psychological and ethical principles related to interacting with cancer patients and their families.

Radiation Physics and Dosimetry

Examination of the fundamental principles of radiation physics, including radioactivity, ionizing radiation, and radiation dosimetry (the process of measuring dosage and optimizing delivery of ionizing radiation to the human body). Topics covered include the production of ionizing radiation, mechanisms of radioactive decay, the protocols for proper dosage measurement, and the imaging and treatment equipment used in clinical care of cancer patients.

FAQs About Online Radiation Therapy Schools

How much does online radiation therapy school cost?

Costs for online radiation therapy schools and the degrees and certificates they offer vary from school to school, sometimes substantially. This is due to factors such as program type and length and whether the school is public or private. Private programs tend to cost more than their public counterparts. We’ve listed current tuition rates for three radiation therapist online programs. These figures will give you a general idea of costs for the program you choose.

Amarillo College

AAS in Radiation Therapy

Total Credits: 65

$89/creditn (in-district);
$132/credit (out-of-district);
$196/credit (out-of-state)*

*Figures are approximate, based on an average of 11 credits per semester.

Cambridge College of Healthcare & Technology

AS in Radiation Therapy

Total Credits: 89

$474/credit

Washburn University

Radiation Therapy Certificate

Total Credits: 40

$379/credit

Can you get a radiation therapy degree completely online?

In a word: no. But there are radiation therapy degree and certificate programs that offer some or (in a few cases) all their academic coursework in an online format. The extent of online content depends on the particular school and, most significantly, the degree you’re seeking. Plus, all radiation therapy degree and certificate programs that lead to ARRT Radiation Therapy certification and registration eligibility include the in-person clinical hours needed for that eligibility.

Is financial aid available for online radiation therapy programs?

Generally speaking, yes. Many schools themselves offer their students scholarship and grant opportunities and may even provide their own loan programs. More common student loans, like those from the federal government, are available to radiation therapy degree students whose programs are properly accredited (including all of the degree programs mentioned in this guide). Other funding resources such as work-study and employee tuition reimbursement programs may also be available.

To learn more about how to fund your radiation therapist online program, be sure to check out EduMed’s financial aid, scholarships, and student loan guides.

Accreditation for Online Radiation Therapy Schools and Programs

Postsecondary accreditation is the process through which schools and their degree and certificate programs are reviewed and confirmed to meet stated standards of academic quality. Proper accreditation is crucial because that’s how you can be sure the program you choose is worth your time, effort, and money.

There are two basic types of accreditation to look for from radiation therapist online programs: institutional and programmatic. Institutional accreditation refers to the accreditation of colleges and universities themselves. Institutional accreditation of U.S. postsecondary institutions is administered by several Department of Education-recognized independent regional and national accrediting agencies. Programmatic accreditation concerns the vetting of individual degree and certificate programs offered by colleges and universities. Programmatic accreditation of radiation therapy programs in the U.S. is administered by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT).

Both institutional and programmatic accreditation information can normally be found on program webpages. You can also confirm institutional accreditation status by visiting the various institutional accrediting agency websites linked above. You can check programmatic accreditation by using this JRCERT Accredited Educational Programs search engine.

Employment and Salary Outlook for Radiation Therapists

Two important questions for all career seekers are, “Is this career in high demand?” and “How much will I earn?” For prospective radiation therapists, the answers to both questions are very encouraging. For example, according to the recent figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for radiation therapists in the U.S. is $86,850–well above the $41,950 median salary for all occupations combined. The BLS also reports radiation therapist salary estimates of $60,080 for the lowest 10% of earners and $132,930 for the highest 10% of earners.

As for job outlook, employment of U.S. radiation therapists is expected to grow by 7% between 2019 and 2029. That’s nearly twice the estimated growth rate for all occupations combined during that same period. Not bad for a career you can enter with as little as an associate degree or undergrad certificate.

Radiation Therapist Licensing and Professional Certification

Once you’ve earned your radiation therapy online degree or certificate, you’ll need to take and pass the exam for ARRT Radiation Therapist certification and registration. That’s why, along with proper accreditation, it’s so important to always confirm that any program you consider qualifies you for the ARRT exam. The ARRT Radiation Therapist exam is a 3 ½-hour computer-based test administered by Pearson VUE. It can be taken online or at dozens of Pearson VUE test centers in the U.S. and around the world. Find detailed information about the ARRT exam and all other certification and registration requirements in this ARRT Primary Eligibility Pathway Handbook.

Additionally, many states have licensing laws governing radiologic technology and its practice, which means you many have to meet state radiation therapist licensure requirements as well. Be sure to check for any requirements by visiting your state government’s official website.

Radiology Tech Programs

Radiology technologists (aka radiologic technologists or radiographers) are medical professionals who perform a number of diagnostic imaging procedures (x-rays, mammographies, CT exams, etc.). ARRT certification and registration is required to practice as a radiology tech in the U.S. To gain your certification, choose from dozens of on-campus and online radiologic technologist associate degree, bachelor’s degree, or postgraduate certificate programs.

Visit EduMed’s Inside the Top Accredited Rad Tech Programs Online guide to learn more about becoming a certified radiology technologist.

MRI Tech Programs

MRI technologists are healthcare professionals who specialize in operating medical resonance imaging scanners, which produce images used in the diagnosis and treatment of a range of diseases and illnesses. Like radiology techs, there are dozens of on-campus and online associate degree, bachelor’s degree, and postsecondary certificate programs available that provide the coursework and training for ARRT MRI Technologist certification and registration.

For more on becoming an MRI tech, visit EduMed’s online MRI tech programs guide.

Nuclear Medicine Technologist Programs

Nuclear medicine technologists are healthcare professionals responsible for preparing and administering radiopharmaceuticals to patients to create images used in the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses and diseases. Most nuclear medicine technologists enter their careers after earning an associate or bachelor’s degree in nuclear medicine technology or by earning an associate or bachelor’s degree in a closely related major plus a nuclear medicine technology certificate. Some of these programs (particularly those for associate degrees and certificates) feature some or all their academic coursework online. However, all programs include in-person clinical training at hospitals or similar healthcare facilities.

To learn more about nuclear medicine technologist education programs and careers, be sure to check out EduMed’s guide to nuclear medicine technologist online schools.

Online Resources for Radiation Therapy Students and Professionals