Nuclear medicine technology is a fast-growing, high-paying field among those requiring only a bachelor's degree. Through classroom lectures and practical experiences, nuclear medicine students learn to administer radioactive pharmaceuticals, as well as proper radiation safety techniques, biological sample collection and quality control measures. Students typically complete an internship and upon graduation are prepared to sit for the certification examination offered by the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB).
- Prerequisites: High school diploma is required; associate degree's in nuclear medicine may be helpful. Schools may require a mental evaluation administered by program's department.
- Other Requirements: Lab practice, internship in some cases
Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Medicine Technology
Coursework in this program combines didactic learning with hands-on laboratory learning, which allows students develop practical and technical skills. Programs emphasize the coursework and experience necessary for achieving certification and entering the field as trained professionals. The following are classes that might appear in the curriculum:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Radiation chemistry
- Gamma scintillation camera operation
- Patient care and ethics
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects the employment rate for nuclear medicine technologists to grow 20% between 2012 and 2022 (www.bls.gov), which is about as fast as average. The median annual salary for this profession was $72,100 as of May 2014. The highest-paid nuclear medicine technologists earned upwards of $96,570, while the lowest-paid made $52,080 or lower.
Continuing Education and Certification
Certification in this field is not mandatory, but the BLS notes that it is now the industry standard for entry-level nuclear medicine technologists. Each state has its own certification requirements and those pursuing this certification should consult the state medical board for the state in which they plan to work. The Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB) and the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) both offer certification for nuclear medicine technologists.