Most students interested in nuclear medicine technology begin their career by completing an associate's degree, usually an Associate of Science, from an accredited institution. Bachelor's degree programs are also available and provide a comprehensive education in the field. Nuclear medicine technologists may become certified. They usually receive some on-the-job training, and are required to participate in clinical labs in order to complete the degree program.
Associate's in Nuclear Medicine Technology
The Associate of Science (A.S.) in Nuclear Medicine Technology is a 2-year, undergraduate degree that teaches students the skills necessary to immediately enter the workforce. In these programs, students will learn how to handle and get rid of nuclear medicine in a safe manner. Some course topics might include:
- Nuclear medicine instrumentation
- Radiation safety
- Nuclear medicine methodology
Bachelor's in Nuclear Medicine Technology
A Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Nuclear Medicine Technology is a 4-year, undergraduate degree program that offers students a more comprehensive nuclear medicine education than an associate's degree program. Students might take classes that include:
- Radiopharmacy techniques
- Radiation biology
- Nuclear cardiology
- Intro to computers
- Organic chemistry
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The BLS states that nuclear medicine technologists make a mean annual wage of $73,360 as of May 2015. The BLS also states that from 2014-2024, the job outlook for this career is expected to grow 2%, which is slower than the average for all other occupations.
The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) and the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB) offer certification for nuclear medicine technologists. Although eligibility requirements for the two organizations differ, both require nuclear medicine technologists to have completed certain education requirements and pass a certifying exam.
Nuclear medicine technology workshops often address technological advances made in the field. Seminars may discuss the capabilities and limitations of certain imaging devices and ways to improve testing procedures. Ways to increase patient safety may also be examined.
Nuclear medicine technologists may choose to specialize in a particular area of the field, such as nuclear cardiology or positron emission tomography (PET); specialization usually involves additional training. Certified technologists must complete a certain number of hours of continuing education in order to maintain certification. Completing a master's degree in a related field may qualify technologists for supervisory or teaching positions.
Undergraduate degree programs are available for those interested in pursuing the field of nuclear medicine technology. Upon completion of either program, students will be prepared to work as a nuclear medicine technologist.