Best Online Associate in Radiology Tech Programs of 2024

Gayle Morris, MSN
Updated April 3, 2024
Edited by
Your Future is Waiting

Explore and compare a list of accredited schools to enroll in your next program.

Person in college

Radiology technologists can begin their careers with a two-year associate degree from an accredited online radiology tech program. This is the fastest way to enter the field, which opens managerial and leadership opportunities after completing a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

This guide explores the best online radiology tech programs and the steps necessary for completing your associate degree and getting certified.

Loading...Learn More
Visit Site
Loading...Learn More
Visit Site
Loading...Learn More
Visit Site

The Best Radiology Tech Programs Online

#1 Best Online Associate in Radiology Tech Programs of 2024

Santa Fe College

  • Location-markerGainesville, FL
  • 4 year
  • Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$1,872
  • Out-of-state$7,418
  • Retention Rate0%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled12,830
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment55%
  • AccreditationYes
#2 Best Online Associate in Radiology Tech Programs of 2024

Southeast Community College

  • Location-markerLincoln, NE
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$2,856
  • Out-of-state$3,444
  • Retention Rate50%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled9,416
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment38%
  • AccreditationYes

What Degree Do You Need to Become a Radiology Tech?

In general, you need at least an associate degree to become a radiology technologist (also called a radiologic technologist or radiologic technician).

Most states require radiology techs to be licensed. To get licensed, you must graduate from an accredited radiology tech program and pass an exam. Many employers prefer radiology techs to be certified, even if the state you work in does not require it.

After becoming a radiology tech, you can advance your career by earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree. A higher degree can help prepare you for teaching positions, management, or advanced medical work.

Can You Attend a Radiology Tech School Online?

While many schools offer online radiology tech programs, you should expect some on-campus requirements as well.

Most accredited online radiology tech programs have laboratory and clinical requirements that you’ll have to complete in person, either on campus or at a local facility.

Still, you can take plenty of classes online, including general education courses, medical terminology, anatomy, fundamentals, and procedures.

As an online student, you can enjoy a flexible schedule. Online coursework is often asynchronous, allowing you to take classes and study when it best suits you.

Did You Know…

A new type of electromagnetic energy was discovered in the late 1800s, which continues to evolve and contribute to desirable medical outcomes.

How Much Do Online Radiology Tech Programs Cost?

Tuition rates can vary depending on your online associate in radiology tech program.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public two-year schools cost an average of $4,000 in tuition and fees in 2021-2022, whereas private nonprofit two-year schools cost more than $17,000.

While you likely won’t have to pay any campus fees as an online student, you will have to consider books and materials, as well as any travel fees for on-campus labs and clinical placements.

Thankfully, you can get help to cover some or all of these costs, including federal financial aid and private scholarships, such as those from the American Society of Radiologic Technologists.

How to Become a Radiology Tech in 5 Steps

The following steps can guide you toward becoming a radiology tech.

Step 1: Research Accredited Radiology Tech Programs

Accredited online radiology tech programs list the program accreditation on the school website, which should come from the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Seek programs with a mix of online and clinical requirements that meet your individual needs.

Prospective students should also consider factors, such as program cost, available financial aid, graduation and retention rates, and the certification pass rate.

Step 2: Take All Required Courses

Online associate radiology tech programs typically include courses in general education, foundational sciences, medical terminology, and anatomy.

Examples of core courses you might take include:

  • Radiologic principles and procedures
  • Pharmacology
  • Digital imaging
  • Healthcare ethics
  • Radiologic technology

Some online radiology tech programs may require you to attend on-campus lab classes.

Step 3: Complete Clinical Requirements

All accredited online radiology tech programs feature clinical requirements, which may qualify you for certification with the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) and/or state licensure.

For ARRT certification, your clinical requirements must cover the following skills:

You typically need to complete these requirements as part of a practicum with live patients, but clinical simulations may be acceptable in some cases. All skills must be logged and verified.

Step 4: Apply for State Licensure

According to ARRT, more than three-fourths of U.S. states require licensure for the radiologic technology field. Confirm your state’s licensing requirements before enrolling in a radiology tech program.

Generally, to be eligible for a state license, you must have an associate degree, complete professional ethics training, pass a state licensure exam, and pay the licensure exam fee. Most licensure exams cost between $50 and $200.

Some states collaborate with ARRT to administer the certification examination for state licensure. Seven types of examinations are available for state licensure, including fluoroscopy, radiation therapy, and nuclear medicine technology.

Step 5: Get Certifications

Candidates for the ARRT examination must graduate from an accredited program and complete professional ethics training. Candidates can request an ethics review before applying to ensure they follow ethical standards in radiology technology.

ARRT certification, while optional, can help you land better-paying jobs and impress potential employers, as many employers prefer candidates to have certification.

Specializations for Radiology Technicians

Candidates in radiology technician school can specialize in one of five areas. Specialization typically requires certification to verify your clinical and professional standards.


These technologists primarily specialize in high-quality images of a patient’s breast tissue, paying close attention to the factors that affect the quality of the images. They also maintain accurate records, clean the machine between uses, and explain the procedure to the patient.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

MRI technologies take images utilizing a machine with complex magnets, computers, and radio waves. When the imaging requires contrast, they inject the dye and operate the machine. MRI technologists are responsible for explaining the procedure to the patient and helping them feel comfortable.

Computed tomography (CT)

These technologists use specialized machinery to take multiple X-ray images from a variety of angles that are combined to capture cross-sectional 3D diagnostic images of tissue, bones, and muscle. The technologist may administer contrast material in the patient’s veins, position the patient to get optimal images, and control the equipment.

Cardiac or vascular interventional radiography

These specialists assist physicians with minimally invasive, image-guided procedures, working with fluoroscopic equipment that image the heart and surrounding blood vessels. Certified technologists may assist with procedures, such as embolization, biopsies, stenting, and angioplasty.

Nuclear medicine

Nuclear medicine technologists prepare and give radioactive drugs used to get high-quality images. The responsibilities include following dosage and safety regulations, maintaining patient records, and administering radiation treatment for medical conditions.

How to Find Accredited Online Radiology Tech Programs

When comparing online radiology tech programs, look for two types of accreditation: institutional and programmatic.

All schools you consider should have institutional accreditation from one or more accrediting agencies recognized by either the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the Department of Education.

To obtain licensure through the ARRT, your degree must come from one of the recognized accrediting agencies listed on ARRT’s website.

How Much Can You Make with an Associate Degree in Radiology Tech?

Radiology Tech Degree Salaries
CareerMedian Annual Salary (May 2023)Job Growth Rate (2022-2032)
Radiologic Technologists and Technicians$73,4105%
MRI Technologists$83,7408%
Source: BLS

The median annual salary range for students who pursue a career from a radiology technician school varies widely. Education, specialization, and certification all affect salary.

For example, radiology technicians are generalists, which is reflected in a lower annual salary of 73,410. However, an MRI technologist earns $83,740 per year, and a nuclear medicine technologist makes $92,500.

Other factors that affect salary include location and experience. Radiology technologists living in cities with a higher cost of living typically make more money than those living in rural areas with a lower cost of living. Radiology technicians with more experience are generally paid more than new graduates.

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Radiology Tech Programs

Where do radiology techs make the most money?

According to the BLS,” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>radiology techs make the most money in California, where the average annual salary is $103,150. Massachusetts and Hawaii pay the next highest average salaries, at $93,270 and $92,170, respectively.

The highest-paying industry for radiology techs is scientific research and development services, which paid an average annual salary of $88,690 in May 2022.

Are online radiology tech programs hard?

Most students find positioning techniques are the most difficult part of a radiology tech program. It is even more difficult if you don’t have a firm grasp on anatomy and physiology. Ultimately, you must memorize the different positions for imaging and practice until it becomes second nature.

Do online associate radiology tech programs require a lot of math?

The type of math required in an online radiology tech program is typically basic algebra. However, the program also includes physics, which is a closely connected science that uses math as a logical framework. Most students have more difficulty with the math portion of physics than with the basic algebra math classes.

Is becoming a radiology tech worth it?

Whether you think becoming a radiology tech is worth it will ultimately depend on your skills, interests, and goals. Many radiology techs have exciting and rewarding careers, making great contributions to our healthcare system.

According to the BLS, this in-demand career offers higher-than-average wages, with about half of radiologic techs making $73,000 or more a year.

Similar Careers

All rankings and school descriptions on this page were created and reviewed independently by the ASO Rankings Team.

Shape your future with an online degree

Connect with a community of peers, and find a program that will allow you to continue your education in a fast and flexible way.