Nuclear Medicine Certification and Certificate Programs
Certificate programs in nuclear medicine, which are typically offered through hospitals, cover how to safely use diagnostic equipment and record the results for physicians to interpret. Upon completion of the program, students are eligible to pursue certification as nuclear medicine technologists (NMTs), which is available through the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB) or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).
Nuclear medicine is a form of diagnostic imaging that uses radiopharmaceuticals to help produce images used for diagnosing diseases, infections, and other health problems. Nuclear medicine professionals administer radiopharmaceuticals to patients and then operate scanners, also called gamma cameras, to detect the distribution of radiation emissions in the body. Nurses, diagnostic medical sonographers, and radiologic technologists are among those who often pursue a certificate in nuclear medicine.
- Prerequisites: An associate's degree in a related field such as radiation therapy or diagnostic medical sonography is required
- Length of Study: Twelve months
- Other Requirements: Internship
Nuclear Medicine Certification
The student engages in hands-on experience in a controlled classroom environment and, eventually, through an internship program at a medical office or hospital. The curriculum covers the functions of organ systems as well as in-depth safety and equipment procedures. Here is a list of course topics one might study through this certificate program:
- Nuclear medicine procedures
- Clinical nuclear medicine technology
- Nuclear medicine physics
- Applications of nuclear medicine
- Radiation safety
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average yearly income for nuclear medicine technologists in May 2014 was $72,100. That same year, there were about 20,320 positions held nationwide. The employment of NMTs is projected to grow by 20% between 2012 and 2022, reports the BLS. NMTs can work in hospitals, laboratories, private practice offices, and similar healthcare facilities.
Continuing Education Information
Over half of the states in the U.S. require nuclear medicine technologists to be certified. Certification for NMTs is available through the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB) or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT); some NMTs choose to obtain both certifications. The requirements for initial certification include completing an approved training program and passing an exam. To maintain their certified status, NMTs must earn continuing education credits annually, demonstrating that they're keeping abreast of technological advances in the nuclear medicine field.