Nuclear Medicine Technician Education Requirements and Career Info
Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a nuclear medicine technician. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.
Nuclear medicine technicians, also known as nuclear medicine technologists, are trained to use radiopharmaceuticals and medical imaging to help detect health issues. The field of nuclear medicine technology requires specialized training from an associate's or bachelor's degree program. Graduates must then gain certification before they can pursue a career as nuclear medicine technicians.
|Required Education||Associate's or bachelor's degree|
|Other Requirements||Licensure in some states, certification|
|Projected Job Growth||20% from 2012 to 2022*|
|Median Salary (2013)||$71,120 annually*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Nuclear Medicine Technician Education Requirements
Individuals interested in becoming nuclear medicine technicians should first enroll in an education and training program that has been accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Educational Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology (JRCNMT). Candidates can enroll in either an associate's or bachelor's degree program for nuclear medicine technology. These programs provide in-class work as well as clinical on-site training. Radiopharmaceuticals, tomographic imaging, radiation physics and human anatomy are common courses found in an undergraduate degree program.
Nuclear medicine technician programs prepare graduates for taking two national certification exams hosted by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) and Nuclear Medicine Technologist Certification Board (NMTCB). Passing at least one of these exams is required to work as a nuclear medicine technician; some professionals choose to acquire both credentials to improve employment prospects.
Not all states require nuclear medicine technicians to be licensed. For those that do, requirements for licensure vary; typically, they include the completion of an accredited education program and becoming certified. It's important to check individual states to find out its specific criteria for nuclear medicine technician licensing. Many states also require continuing education courses to maintain or renew a license.
A nuclear medicine technician is trained to help diagnose health issues by using medical imaging technology coupled with radioactive materials. Radiopharmaceuticals are administered to patients, and the technician then captures images of how it disperses throughout the body. These professionals are highly trained in safety procedures to ensure minimal exposure and proper handling of radiopharmaceuticals. Nuclear medicine technicians work closely with physicians and are required to document all procedures on patient medical records.
From 2012-2022, employment opportunities in nuclear medical technology are projected to grow 20%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). However, there may be heavy competition for open positions due to an increase in trained individuals. More opportunities might exist for nuclear medicine technicians skilled in several diagnostic technologies, such as nuclear cardiology or diagnostic medical sonography.