A high school diploma is required for this program and an associate degree in nuclear medicine may be helpful. Schools may also require a mental evaluation administered by the program's department. Through classroom lectures and practical experiences, nuclear medicine students learn to administer radioactive pharmaceuticals, as well as radiation safety techniques, biological sample collection, and quality control measures. Students typically complete an internship and, upon graduation, sit for the certification examination offered by the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB).
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Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Medicine Technology
Coursework in this program combines theoretical learning with hands-on laboratory work, which allows students develop practical and technical skills. Programs emphasize coursework and experience necessary for achieving certification and entering the field as a trained professional. Typical coursework may include classes in:
- 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 2% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov), which is slower than average. The median annual salary for this profession was $73,360 as of May 2015. In 2014 there were 20,700 nuclear medicine technologists working in the U.S.
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 their state medical board. The Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB) and the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) both offer certification for nuclear medicine technologists.
A Bachelor of Science degree in Nuclear Medicine Technology prepares students to work as nuclear medicine technologists to diagnose ailments and work with doctors to determine a course of treatment.