Two-year associate programs in nuclear technology are designed for students who want to work as assistants in nuclear power plants or related facilities. Enrolled students complete lecture-based courses and lab sessions, and internship opportunities may be available.
Two-year associate programs in nuclear medicine technology are geared toward students who want to assist physicians and other healthcare professionals with diagnostic procedures. The curriculum usually consists of clinical practica, classroom sessions, and an externship. Earning an associate degree in nuclear medicine technology can lead to certification or state-required licensure.
Associate of Science in Nuclear Technology
This program trains students for a career as a nuclear technician in nuclear power plants, reactors, and businesses working with nuclear power. Students learn to use remote controlled machinery to handle radioactive materials or materials that have been exposed to radiation. This program focuses mostly on the sciences and is usually two years in length. Students will need to have a high school diploma or GED.
Courses in this nuclear technology program typically apply mathematical knowledge from fields like algebra, trigonometry, and calculus as those subjects apply to the industry. Students also learn to use mathematics to explain natural phenomena. Students gain essential communication and writing skills. Here is a sampling of courses you might take:
- Properties and reactivity
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- Nuclear Technologies
Associate of Science in Nuclear Medicine Technology
Nuclear medicine technicians, also known as nuclear medicine technologists, work with doctors performing medical procedures with nuclear technology to treat and diagnose patients. For example, a nuclear medicine technologist might use minimal quantities to visualize tumors or malfunctioning internal organs. Students must have a high school diploma or GED.
Associate degree programs include both academic and clinical preparation. Graduates usually sit for the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board's exam. The American Registry of Radiologic Technology also administers an alternate exam. Most students must also be licensed by the state in which they choose to work. The following are courses can be expect in a nuclear medicine technology associate's degree program:
- Medical terminology
- Nuclear medicine technology
- Nuclear medicine instrumentation
Graduates are qualified for entry-level employment after completing state exams. Technicians work in both industrial and military arenas in areas such as:
- Health physics
- Reactor operations
- Chemical technology
- Quality assurance
- Control technology
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov, nuclear medicine technologists made an average annual salary of $74,990 in May 2015. The lowest-paid 10% of nuclear medical technologists earned $52,950 or less, while the highest-paid 10% of nuclear medical technologists made $100,080 in May 2015.
Working nuclear technology technicians usually have the necessary skills and prerequisites to enroll in a 4-year bachelor's degree program in engineering or radiology. This is especially beneficial for technicians looking to advance in the field who have experience assisting nuclear engineers.
Individuals looking for an associate's degree in nuclear technology will learn about power plants and businesses working in nuclear power. On the other hand, nuclear medicine technology students prepare to work with physicians using procedures in nuclear technology to help patients.