Nuclear Medicine Technologist
|Career data updated last on 10/8/2014|
|Nuclear medicine technologists use radio-active particles in medical procedures to help doctors diagnose physical disorders and to treat cancer. They prepare and administer the nuclear materials called radiopharmaceuticals, operate the equipment that traces the presence and movement of those substances in the body, and have an important role in patient safety and quality control.|
|Salary||$39.26/hour - $81,660 annually|
|Significant Points||Faster-than-average growth will arise from an increase in the number of middle-aged and elderly persons, who are the primary users of diagnostic procedures.|
Some clinical specializations include:
|Work Environment||Nuclear medicine technologists work under the direction of physicians in hospitals, diagnostic centers, research facilities and educational institutions, under standards set by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Nuclear medicine technologists generally work a 40-hour week, perhaps including evening or weekend hours in departments that operate on an extended schedule. Opportunities for part-time and shift work are also available. In addition, technologists in hospitals may have on-call duty on a rotational basis.|
|High School Prep||High school diploma or equivalent, preferably with course work after high school from a college or community college in human anatomy and physiology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and medical terminology.|
Training is from one to four years (depending on prior education) leading to a certificate(hospital based program), an associate(community college) or baccalaureate degree program (university). The program covers health physics, Courses cover the physical sciences, biological effects of radiation exposure, radiation protection and procedures, the use of radiopharmaceuticals, imaging techniques, and computer applications. The Joint Review Committee on Education Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology accredits most formal training programs in nuclear medicine technology. Certification for graduates can be obtained through the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board and the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. Nuclear medicine technologists must meet the minimum Federal standards on the administration of radioactive drugs and the operation of radiation detection equipment.
Technologists may advance to supervisor, then to chief technologist, and, finally, to department administrator or director. Some become instructors or directors in nuclear medicine technology programs, a step that usually requires a bachelor’s or master’s degree in nuclear medicine technology. Others leave the occupation to work as sales or training representatives for medical equipment and radiopharmaceutical manufacturing firms or as radiation safety officers in regulatory agencies or hospitals.
There are currently no schools in Colorado that offer training or a degree. We suggest you look in the Organization listing, often the associated professional organization list schools where a degree or training can be found.
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