What Does a Nuclear Medicine Technologist Do?
Nuclear Medicine Technologists work at hospitals and imaging labs alongside Nuclear Medicine Phyicians to examine a patient’s internal organs, bones and muscles for potential abnormalities. Their role is to give radioactive medication to patients through injection, inhalation or oral administration, allowing the radiation to make it easier to see infections, tumors or signs of an internal disorder. Nuclear Medicine Technologists use imaging technology to capture images for the attending Physician to interpret. They are in charge of implementing safety procedures to protect patients and medical staff from unnecessary exposure to radiation during treatment.
Nuclear Medicine Technologist Skills and Qualifications
Nuclear Medicine Technologists spend a lot of time interacting with patients, so an understanding of medical procedures and patience are crucial skills. A job description for a Nuclear Medicine Technologist may contain the following skills and qualifications:
- Ability to use technology
- Analytical skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Physical stamina
Nuclear Medicine Technologist Salary Expectations
The average salary for a Nuclear Medicine Technologist is $36.96 per hour. This information is based on 266 anonymously submitted salaries to Indeed from employees and users along with past and present job title job postings on Indeed within the last 36 months.
Nuclear Medicine Technologist Education and Training Requirements
A Nuclear Medicine Technologist position usually requires a minimum of an associate degree in nuclear medicine, though many employers prefer individuals with a bachelor’s degree. Some candidates may become qualified for the position by combining a 12 month certification program in nuclear medicine technology with an associate or bachelor’s degree program in a health field such as nursing or radiologic technology.
Nuclear medicine technology programs typically include coursework in computer science, radioactive drugs, chemistry, physics and human anatomy and physiology. In addition to the coursework, clinical experience is also required.
After graduating from an accredited program, Technologists can choose between earning a certification in nuclear cardiology or positron emission tomography (PET). Nuclear medicine programs are accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Educational Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology. Candidates must graduate from an accredited program in order to become licensed.
Nuclear Medicine Technologist Experience Requirements
While not required for licensure, the majority of Nuclear Medicine Technologists obtain some sort of certification as it fulfills many of the same requirements of state licensing. It’s not uncommon for employers to require candidates to be certified regardless of state regulations.
Certification begins with the successful completion of a nuclear medicine technology program from an accredited school. Both the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB) and the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) offer certification opportunities.
In addition to obtaining a general certification, Nuclear Medicine Technologists also have the ability to earn specialized certifications based on their proficiency with certain equipment and in completing specific procedures. Certifications Technologists can earn include computed tomography (CT), nuclear cardiology (NCT) and positron emission tomography (PET).
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