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The nuclear medicine technologist is a highly specialized health care professional who works closely with the radiologist. Nuclear medicine technology uses radiopharmeceuticals to “see” organ images (i.e., heart, lungs, liver, kidneys), body functions, and assist in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Skilled in patient care, nuclear medicine technologists instruct patients before medical procedures. Under the direction of a physician, they calculate dosages and administer appropriate radioactive drugs. Technologists also must document the use and disposal of radioactive materials.
Nuclear medicine technologists are usually employed in hospitals, clinics, and outpatient imaging centers, and generally work a 40-hour week. This may include evening or weekend hours in departments that operate on an extended schedule. Opportunities for part-time and shift work are also available.
Employment of nuclear medicine technologists is projected to grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. An aging population may lead to the need for nuclear medicine technologists who can provide imaging to patients with certain medical conditions, such as heart disease, or treatments for cancers and other diseases
Nuclear medicine technologists receive their education through academic programs at hospitals, community colleges, and colleges and universities. Programs range in length from one to four years and lead to a certificate, associate degree, or bachelor’s degree. One-year certificate programs are for registered radiological technologists and ultrasound technologists who wish to specialize in nuclear medicine. Others interested in the nuclear medicine technology field have three options: a 2-year certificate program, a 2-year associate program, or a 4-year bachelor’s program.
Licensure is not required in the state of Connecticut.
American Registry of Radiologic Technologists
1255 Northland Drive
St. Paul, MN 55120
Society of Nuclear Medicine, Technologist Section
1850 Samuel Morse Drive
Reston, VA 20190