In New Jersey, nuclear medicine technology studies are offered at the undergraduate level, through certificate, associate and bachelor's degree programs. There are also programs offered as part of joint education efforts by local medical centers and colleges; in these cases, students earn a diploma from the medical center as well as an associate degree from the participating college. Programs combine lectures with clinical components, and students learn about such topics as patient care, nuclear medicine instrumentation, radiation protection, radiochemistry and nuclear medicine physics. To be considered for admission, applicants may be required to complete certain foundational prerequisites, including courses in medical terminology, chemistry, physics, anatomy and physiology.
Rowan College at Gloucester County
At this Sewell-based school, students can enroll in a state-approved nuclear medicine technology associate program. Full-time students can complete the program in about 22 months. During the first year, students complete lecture classes in areas like radiation safety and biology, nuclear medicine instrumentation, radiation physics, nuclear medicine techniques, medical terminology, imaging criteria and patient care.
In the second year, students participate in clinical training hours. To be successful in this portion of the program, students need to able to stand for more than six hours, be capable of moving patients with minimal assistance, possess the dexterity to manipulate instruments and be able to notice slight changes in images.
Located in Newark, students at this university have the option to enroll in a state-approved nuclear medicine technology certificate program. Students who are already biology majors at an approved partner institution can pursue a joint bachelor's degree in medical imaging science. Admission requirements for all programs include prerequisite courses, such as human anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, chemistry, physics, algebra, biology and communications.
After students are accepted into the certificate program, they complete cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification; bachelor's degree applicants must already be certified. Curriculum topics include radiation biology and protection, nuclear physics and instrumentation, patient care, radiopharmacy, clinical applications and more. Students also need to participate in three clinics at affiliated facilities.
Union County College
Technically, the New Jersey licensing board does not approve the associate program in nuclear medicine at this college in Cranford. Nevertheless, the program is jointly offered with the JFK Medical Center Muhlenberg, and the program at that facility is approved. Graduates receive an associate degree from this college. Pre-professional course requirements include anatomy and physiology, chemistry, algebra, physics, psychology and computer science. Over the duration of four semesters, students complete professional courses in such areas as nuclear medicine procedures, medical terminology, radiochemistry, electrophysiology, nuclear medicine physics, radiation protection and nuclear medicine instrumentation. Students also participate in clinical practicums each semester, with 1-2 days per week required during the first semester, three days per week needed in the second semester, four days per week mandated in the third semester and five days per week required during the final semester.
To become a nuclear technologist, at least an associate's degree in nuclear medicine technology is typically required. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, several states require nuclear medicine technologists to be licensed. In New Jersey license eligibility requirements include having the equivalent of a high school diploma, being at least 18, completing an approved nuclear medicine training program and passing a state-licensing exam, such as the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB) exam or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) exam.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Nuclear Medicine Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)|
|Rowan College at Gloucester County||2-year, public; large suburb||Associate in Applied Science in Nuclear Medicine Technology|| $4,470 in-district;
|Rutgers University||4-year, public; small city|| Nuclear Medicine Technology Certificate Program,
Bachelor of Science in Medical Imaging Sciences
| $14,974 in-state;
|Union County College||2-year, public; large suburb||Associate in Science in Nuclear Medicine|| $5,140 in-district;
Source: *NCES College Navigator.