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Nuclear Medicine Technology

Technician looking at a computer screen

Nuclear Medicine is a health technology which utilizes the internal administration of radioactive materials. The field is primarily diagnostic although some therapeutic procedures are performed. The Nuclear Medicine Technologist works under the direction of a physician who is licensed for the use of radioactive materials. The Nuclear Medicine Technology curriculum prepares students to perform as clinical Nuclear Medicine Technologists.

Graduates of the program are eligible to take any of the two national certification/registration examinations currently offered. These examinations are given by the Nuclear Medicine Certification Board (NMTCB) and the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).

CCC&TI offers the following educational programs in this area:

For more information about course descriptions or required courses, refer to the current CCC&TI Course Catalog and its corresponding Addendum.

Employment Outlook

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, "Employment of nuclear medicine technologists is projected to grow 20 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. However, because it is a small occupation, the growth will result in only about 4,200 new jobs over the 10-year period. Nuclear medicine technologists work mostly with adult patients, although procedures may be performed on children. A larger aging population should lead to the need to diagnose and treat medical conditions that require imaging, such as heart disease. Nuclear medicine technologists will be needed to administer radioactive drugs and maintain the imaging equipment required for diagnosis. Federal health legislation will increase the number of patients who have access to health insurance, increasing patient access to medical care. This will increase the demand for medical imaging services, including those provided by nuclear medicine technologists."

Working conditions

The DOL's Occupational Outlook Handbook states, "Technologists are on their feet for long periods and may need to lift or turn patients who are disabled… Most nuclear medicine technologists work full time. Because imaging is sometimes needed in emergencies, some nuclear medicine technologists work evenings, weekends, or on call. Although radiation hazards exist in this occupation, they are minimized by the use of gloves and other shielding devices. Nuclear medicine technologists wear badges that measure radiation levels in the radiation area. Instruments monitor their radiation exposure and detailed records are kept on how much radiation they get over their lifetime. When preparing radioactive drugs, technologists use safety procedures to minimize radiation exposure to patients, other healthcare workers, and themselves. Like other healthcare workers, nuclear medicine technologists may be exposed to infectious diseases."

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Nuclear Medicine Technologists, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nuclear-medicine-technologists.htm (visited May 25, 2015).