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Become A Nuclear Cardiology Technologist

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Working As A Nuclear Cardiology Technologist

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Getting Information
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Stressful

  • Make Decisions

  • $235,990

    Average Salary

What Does A Nuclear Cardiology Technologist Do

Nuclear medicine technologists operate equipment that creates images of areas of a patient’s body. They prepare radioactive drugs and administer them to patients. The radioactive drugs cause abnormal areas of the body to appear different from normal areas in the images. 

Duties

Nuclear medicine technologists typically do the following:

  • Explain imaging procedures to the patient and answer questions
  • Follow safety procedures to protect themselves and the patient from unnecessary radiation exposure
  • Examine machines to ensure that they are working properly
  • Prepare radioactive drugs and administer them to the patient
  • Monitor the patient to check for unusual reactions to the drugs
  • Operate equipment that creates images of areas in the body, such as images of organs
  • Keep detailed records of procedures
  • Follow radiation disposal and safety procedures

Radioactive drugs, known as radiopharmaceuticals, give off radiation, allowing special scanners to monitor tissue and organ functions. Abnormal areas show higher-than-expected or lower-than-expected concentrations of radioactivity. Physicians and surgeons then interpret the images to help diagnose the patient’s condition. For example, tumors can be seen in organs during a scan because of their concentration of the radioactive drugs.

After graduation from an accredited program, a technologist can choose to specialize in positron emission tomography (PET) or nuclear cardiology. PET uses a machine that creates a three-dimensional image of a part of the body, such as the brain. Nuclear cardiology uses radioactive drugs to obtain images of the heart. Patients may exercise during the imaging process while the technologist creates images of the heart and blood flow.

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How To Become A Nuclear Cardiology Technologist

Nuclear medicine technologists typically need an associate’s degree from an accredited nuclear medicine technology program. Technologists must be licensed in about one half of the states; requirements vary by state.

Education

Nuclear medicine technologists typically need an associate’s degree in nuclear medicine technology. Bachelor’s degrees are also common. Some technologists become qualified by completing an associate’s or a bachelor's degree program in a related health field, such as radiologic technology or nursing, and then completing a 12-month certificate program in nuclear medicine technology.

Nuclear medicine technology programs often include courses in human anatomy and physiology, physics, chemistry, radioactive drugs, and computer science. In addition, these programs include clinical experience—practice under the supervision of a certified nuclear medicine technologist and a physician or surgeon who specializes in nuclear medicine.

The Joint Review Committee on Educational Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology accredits nuclear medicine programs. Graduating from an accredited program may be required for licensure or by an employer.

High school students who are interested in nuclear medicine technology should take courses in math and science, such as biology, chemistry, anatomy, and physics.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

As of 2015, about half of all states required nuclear medicine technologists to be licensed. Requirements vary by state. For specific requirements, contact the state’s health board.

Most nuclear medicine technologists become certified. Although certification is not required for a license, it fulfills most of the requirements for state licensure.

Some employers require certification, regardless of state regulations. Certification usually involves graduating from an accredited nuclear medicine technology program. Certification is available from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) and the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB).

In addition to receiving general certification, technologists can earn specialty certifications that show their proficiency in specific procedures or on certain equipment. A technologist can earn certification in positron emission tomography (PET), nuclear cardiology (NCT), or computed tomography (CT). The NMTCB offers NCT, PET, and CT certification exams.

Important Qualities

Ability to use technology. Nuclear medicine technologists work with computers and large pieces of technological equipment and must be comfortable operating them.

Analytical skills. Nuclear medicine technologists must understand anatomy, physiology, and other sciences and be able to calculate accurate dosages.

Compassion. Nuclear medicine technologists must be able to reassure and calm patients who are under physical and emotional stress.

Detail oriented. Nuclear medicine technologists must follow exact instructions to make sure that the correct dosage is given and that the patient is not overexposed to radiation.

Interpersonal skills. Nuclear medicine technologists interact with patients and often work as part of a team. They must be able to follow instructions from a supervising physician.

Physical stamina. Nuclear medicine technologists must stand for long periods and be able to lift and move patients who need help.

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Nuclear Cardiology Technologist Demographics

Gender

Male

70.2%

Female

28.2%

Unknown

1.6%
Ethnicity

White

62.6%

Hispanic or Latino

14.8%

Black or African American

11.8%

Asian

7.2%

Unknown

3.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

69.2%

German

15.4%

Danish

7.7%

Lithuanian

7.7%
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Nuclear Cardiology Technologist Education

Schools

Webster University

7.7%

University of Pittsburgh -

7.7%

Community College of the Air Force

5.8%

Naval School of Health Sciences

5.8%

Liberty University

5.8%

Idaho State University

5.8%

University of Phoenix

5.8%

University of Virginia

5.8%

University of Nevada - Las Vegas

5.8%

Hillsborough Community College

5.8%

Salem State University

3.8%

University of Memphis

3.8%

State University of New York Albany

3.8%

Trident University International

3.8%

State University of New York Buffalo

3.8%

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

3.8%

Columbia Southern University

3.8%

Forsyth Technical Community College

3.8%

Manhattan College

3.8%

University of Findlay

3.8%
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Majors

Nuclear And Industrial Radiologic Technologies

23.3%

Medicine

21.5%

Business

11.0%

Medical Technician

5.2%

Biology

4.1%

Health Care Administration

3.5%

Education

2.9%

General Studies

2.9%

Electrical Engineering

2.9%

Health Sciences And Services

2.3%

Computer Information Systems

2.3%

Automotive Technology

2.3%

Computer Science

2.3%

Nursing

2.3%

Criminal Justice

2.3%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.7%

Chemistry

1.7%

Finance

1.7%

Human Resources Management

1.7%

Industrial Technology

1.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

30.4%

Other

22.5%

Associate

20.6%

Masters

11.5%

Certificate

11.5%

Diploma

1.6%

Doctorate

1.6%

License

0.4%
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Top Skills for A Nuclear Cardiology Technologist

  1. Radiation Safety
  2. Verification Procedures
  3. Cardiology
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Participated in radiation safety training, personnel training, maintained departmental protocols and policies
  • Provided temporary coverage as a technologist for cardiology outpatient facilities, hospital and PET/CT.
  • Utilized mobile Nuclear Imaging camera to perform up to 13 Nuclear Stress tests.
  • Performed all aspects of cardiac testing
  • Advocated for patient and staff safety by proactively learning and readily enforcing safety protocols and practices.

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