What you'll do: As a nuclear medicine technologist (NMT), you'll perform diagnostic tests on patients using imaging equipment such as gamma cameras.
Where you'll work: Hospitals, physician's offices and clinics, private practice or for a firm. Some nuclear medicine technologists may work for state or federal government agencies.
Degree you'll need: Associate's degree, preferably a bachelor's degree
Median annual salary: $70,180*
Nuclear Medicine Technologist Job Description
Working directly with patients and under the supervision of a physician, you'll fulfill the following standard duties of a nuclear medicine technologist:
- Explaining procedures to patients
- Administering radioactive substances to patients
- Producing the images on a computer screen or on film for a physician to interpret
- Taking precautions to limit radiation exposure to the patient and yourself
You might also document laboratory operations and participate in scheduling patient examinations.
Education & Licensure
First and foremost, you'll need to make sure you complete an accredited NMT program. Certificate programs are offered for experienced technologists who wish to specialize in nuclear medicine. In the training programs, students receive a combination of classroom and clinical instruction. Coursework generally includes the following:
- Nuclear physics
- Health physics
- Radiation biology
- Clinical nuclear medicine
- Radionuclide therapy
Regulations about certification and licensing vary from state to state. However, getting your certification is a good idea because most employers require it. Upon completion of an accredited program, you can receive your NMT certification from these agencies:
Sources: U.S. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook; Nuclear Medicine Technologists.
*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.