Earning an Associate of Arts (A.A.) or Associate of Science (A.S.) degree in nuclear medicine technology can be a start to an entry-level career. In addition to traditional classroom-based sessions that cover nuclear medicine instruments and imaging techniques, schools often work with hospitals or other medical centers that provide clinical training.
A high school diploma or GED equivalent is required for admission. Many schools require that applicants complete high school or college courses in chemistry, medical terminology, statistics, and algebra, with a grade of 'C' or better.
Associate's Degree in Nuclear Medicine Technology
Most associate's programs focus on nuclear medicine and radioactive materials and also include general education courses in subjects like speech communication, math, and science. Positron emission tomography (PET) and cardiology are also covered. Most programs also include work experience in the form of clinical rotations. Some coursework may transfer to a four-year bachelor's degree program in nuclear medicine technology.
Subjects often covered include the following:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Nuclear medicine technology
- Imaging of internal organs
- Nuclear pharmacy applications
- Fundamentals of PET
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted 2% growth in jobs for nuclear medicine technologists from 2014 to 2024. This rate of growth is slower than average for all occupations and will result in the introduction of only about 300 new positions over the 10-year span. Technologists' average salary in May 2015 was reported as $74,990 by the BLS.
Licensing and Certification
Many A.A. and A.S. program graduates pursue voluntary certification through the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB) or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). These groups require students to pass a written examination and complete continuing education to earn certification. According to the BLS, some states require nuclear medical technologists to earn a state license, and many employers only hire licensed professionals.
An associate's program in nuclear medicine technology incorporates classroom training and hands-on clinical experience. Graduates are prepared for licensure and can qualify for entry-level positions as nuclear medicine technologists.