Career Profile: Nuclear Medicine Technologist

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Job Description:

A Nuclear Medicine Technologist is someone who is well-versed in the field of nuclear medicine. Unlike other diagnostic procedures that center on changes in organ structure, nuclear medicine use metabolic changes as basis for determining the presence of diseases. Technically, they are tasked to administer radiopharmaceuticals or radioactive drugs in the patient's body to detect abnormalities. Since Nuclear Medicine Technologist professionals often deal with radioactive materials, they have to follow safety protocols to limit radioactive exposure.

Nuclear Medicine Technologist professionals usually carry out the following tasks and responsibilities:

  • Operate cameras to map the radioactive drug inside the patient's body to create clear diagnostic images
  • Thoroughly explain the procedure to the patient before commencing with the test
  • Ensure that the patient is comfortably positioned
  • Take extra precaution when preparing radiopharmaceuticals
  • Keep a detailed record of the amount of radionuclides used and discarded by the patient
  • Produce precise interpretation of the nuclear imaging test and submit the result to the physician
Work Environment:

Nuclear Medicine Technologist professionals are usually exposed to prolonged standing and complicated machine operation. Moreover, they may have to lift or turn disabled patients while doing the procedure. They are required to wear protective covering to strictly comply with radiation safety guidelines. Nuclear Medicine Technologist professionals typically work 40 hours a week and might also have on-call hours especially in work places with extended hours of operation.

Education and Training Requirements:

Aspiring Nuclear Medicine Technologist professionals can choose to complete any of the following course programs:

  • A one –year certification program from technical/vocational schools
  • 2-year Associate degree program at junior or community colleges
  • 4-year Bachelor's degree program in a reputable university

Nuclear Medicine Technologist courses often include topics on radiation biology, physical sciences, imaging techniques, computer science, and radiopharmaceuticals.

Nuclear Medicine Technologist aspirants must obtain license and certification before they can legally practice the profession. Hence, they have to pass the licensure or certification exam given by credible associations like the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologies.

Salary Range:

Majority of Nuclear Medicine Technologist professionals are earning around $57,270 - $78,240 annually. While those who have earned higher educational degrees and gained relevant experiences can earn $87,770 or more yearly. Those working full-time usually receive benefits in the form of health insurance, retirement plan, and paid vacations.

Job Outlook:

The need for Nuclear Medicine Technologist professionals is expected to have minimal increase until 2014. Since nuclear medicine is quite a small field, fewer job opportunities will be generated. But those who have a strong background in nuclear medicine and radiologic procedures will certainly have better chances of landing high-paying job offers.

So, what are you waiting for? Start your training today by browsing through our extensive list of Nuclear Medicine Technologist schools!

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