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Working As a Nuclear Medicine Technologist

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

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Stressful

  • $71,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Nuclear Medicine 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 Medicine 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 Medicine Technologist Career Paths

Average Length of Employment
CT Technologist 5.2 years
Top Careers Before Nuclear Medicine Technologist
Internship 4.6%
Volunteer 2.9%
Cashier 2.6%
Supervisor 2.6%
Manager 2.4%
Top Careers After Nuclear Medicine Technologist
Supervisor 2.9%
Manager 2.8%
Volunteer 2.3%

Do you work as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist?

Average Yearly Salary
$71,000
Show Salaries
$52,000
Min 10%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$98,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Aurora Medical Group
Highest Paying City
Santa Cruz, CA
Highest Paying State
Rhode Island
Avg Experience Level
6.1 years
How much does a Nuclear Medicine Technologist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Nuclear Medicine Technologist in the United States is $71,799 per year or $35 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $52,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $98,000.

Real Nuclear Medicine Technologist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Nuclear Medicine Technologist Southern Ocean County Hospital Manahawkin, NJ Feb 02, 2010 $119,000
Nuclear Medicine Technologists Exponential Group Inc. Livingston, NJ Jul 06, 2012 $100,776 -
$120,000
Nuclear Medicine Technologist Meridian Hospitals Corporation Manahawkin, NJ Feb 02, 2013 $100,000
Nuclear Medicine Technologist Vassar Brothers Medical Center Poughkeepsie, NY Jan 11, 2013 $95,752
Nuclear Medicine Technologist Thomas Jefferson University Hospital Philadelphia, PA Feb 01, 2015 $88,545
Nuclear Medicine Technologist Thomas Jefferson University Hospital Philadelphia, PA Jan 02, 2015 $88,545
Nuclear Medicine Technologist Vassar Brothers Medical Center Poughkeepsie, NY Jan 11, 2010 $84,074
Nuclear Medicine Technologist 3M Technology Inc. Morganville, NJ Aug 11, 2010 $83,668 -
$85,567
Nuclear Medicine Technologist Thomas Jefferson University Hospital Philadelphia, PA Feb 01, 2012 $81,606
Nuclear Medicine Technologiest Vassar Brothers Medical Center Poughkeepsie, NY Jan 11, 2010 $80,850 -
$86,000
Nuclear Medicine Technologist Bon Secours Baltimore Health System Baltimore, MD Feb 17, 2010 $80,496 -
$84,670
Nuclear Medicine Technologist Saint Margaret Mercy Healthcare Centers Hammond, IN May 19, 2010 $80,205
Chief Technologist In Nuclear Medicine Universal Imaging, Inc. Ypsilanti, MI Nov 24, 2009 $78,513
Chief Technologist In Nuclear Medicine Universal Imaging, Inc. MI Nov 24, 2009 $78,513
Nuclear Medicine Technologist Fresno Community Hospital and Medical Center Fresno, CA Jan 15, 2010 $75,691 -
$87,675
Nuclear Medicine Technologist Sun Radiology Peoria, AZ Jan 03, 2011 $73,045
Nuclear Medicine Technologist Norman Regional Health System Norman, OK Nov 15, 2011 $73,045
Nuclear Medicine Technologist Norman Regional Health System Norman, OK Nov 13, 2009 $73,045
Nuclear Medicine Technologist Sun Radiology Peoria, AZ Oct 01, 2010 $73,045 -
$37
Nuclear Medicine Technologist Community Medical Centers Fresno, CA May 01, 2011 $71,855 -
$93,915
Nuclear Medicine Technologist Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center Baltimore, MD Aug 20, 2012 $69,560
Nuclear Medicine Technologist Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center Baltimore, MD Aug 20, 2012 $69,326
Nuclear Medicine Technologist Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District Brawley, CA Jun 10, 2010 $69,000
Nuclear Medicine Technologist Greyhawk Medical Staffing Phoenix, AZ Jul 01, 2010 $68,871
Nuclear Medicine Technologists Wellspan Health York, PA Apr 26, 2013 $68,000
Nuclear Medicine Technologist Wellspan Health York, PA Apr 26, 2010 $68,000
Nuclear Medicine Technologist Mount Sinai Medical Center New York, NY Feb 01, 2010 $67,972
Nuclear Medicine Technologist Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center Baltimore, MD Aug 20, 2011 $67,577 -
$73,045

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Top Skills for A Nuclear Medicine Technologist

  1. Nuclear Medicine
  2. Therapeutic Procedures
  3. Patient Care
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Reviewed requests for x-ray, nuclear medicine, ultrasound, other diagnostic imaging procedures, and determined applicability of requested procedures.
  • Perform diagnostic and therapeutic procedures including routine nuclear medicine studies, nuclear cardiology, and oncology.
  • Delivered pro-active, courteous and effective patient care while working with physicians and other medical professionals to execute related procedures.
  • Executed Radiation Safety techniques for NRC and Nevada State Regulatory Commission compliance.
  • Perform patient imaging procedures using sophisticated radiation-detecting instrumentation.

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Top 10 Best States for Nuclear Medicine Technologists

  1. New Hampshire
  2. Rhode Island
  3. Connecticut
  4. Maine
  5. Louisiana
  6. Massachusetts
  7. Nevada
  8. West Virginia
  9. Texas
  10. New Mexico
  • (48 jobs)
  • (9 jobs)
  • (46 jobs)
  • (50 jobs)
  • (26 jobs)
  • (80 jobs)
  • (25 jobs)
  • (18 jobs)
  • (143 jobs)
  • (47 jobs)

Nuclear Medicine Technologist Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 8,112 Nuclear Medicine Technologist resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Nuclear Medicine Technologist Resume

View Resume Examples

Nuclear Medicine Technologist Demographics

Gender

Female

49.8%

Male

42.0%

Unknown

8.1%
Ethnicity

White

60.4%

Hispanic or Latino

14.6%

Black or African American

11.9%

Asian

9.1%

Unknown

4.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

59.9%

French

7.2%

Russian

3.6%

Tagalog

3.0%

Portuguese

3.0%

Arabic

3.0%

Hindi

2.4%

Mandarin

2.4%

Chinese

2.4%

Ukrainian

1.8%

Italian

1.8%

German

1.8%

Romanian

1.2%

Filipino

1.2%

Cantonese

1.2%

Greek

1.2%

Urdu

1.2%

Swedish

0.6%

Vietnamese

0.6%

Gujarati

0.6%
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Nuclear Medicine Technologist Education

Schools

Ferris State University

12.7%

University of Findlay

10.6%

Keiser University

10.4%

Community College of Allegheny County

5.5%

Hillsborough Community College

5.1%

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

4.7%

University of the Incarnate Word

4.5%

University of Phoenix

4.2%

Triton College

4.0%

Gateway Community College

3.9%

Houston Community College

3.9%

Amarillo College

3.9%

Molloy College

3.6%

Southeast Technical Institute

3.6%

Broward College

3.6%

University of Alabama at Birmingham

3.5%

Delaware Technical and Community College

3.2%

University of Nevada - Las Vegas

3.1%

Wheeling Jesuit University

3.1%

Manhattan College

3.1%
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Majors

Nuclear And Industrial Radiologic Technologies

36.9%

Medicine

23.5%

Medical Technician

8.7%

Business

7.2%

Nursing

3.5%

Health Care Administration

3.4%

Biology

2.9%

Health Sciences And Services

2.1%

Veterinary Science

1.7%

Medical Assisting Services

1.4%

Management

1.2%

Physician Assistant

1.1%

Computer Science

1.0%

Clinical Psychology

1.0%

Health/Medical Preparatory Programs

0.9%

Public Health

0.8%

Pharmacy

0.8%

Education

0.7%

Chemistry

0.7%

Psychology

0.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

31.9%

Associate

25.4%

Other

16.3%

Certificate

12.4%

Masters

11.5%

Doctorate

1.1%

Diploma

1.1%

License

0.3%
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Updated May 19, 2020