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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's Occupational Outlook Handbook, "Employment of nuclear medicine technologists is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2014. Growth will arise from technological advancement, the development of new nuclear medicine treatments, and an increase in the number of middle-aged and older persons, who are the primary users of diagnostic procedures, including nuclear medicine tests. However, the number of openings each year will be relatively low because the occupation is small. Technologists who also are trained in other diagnostic methods, such as radiologic technology or diagnostic medical sonography, will have the best prospects."

Working conditions

The DOL's Occupational Outlook Handbook states, "Nuclear medicine technologists generally work a 40-hour week, perhaps including evening or weekend hours, in departments that operate on an extended schedule. Opportunities for part-time and shift work also are available. In addition, technologists in hospitals may have on-call duty on a rotational basis."

"Physical stamina is important because technologists are on their feet much of the day and may lift or turn disabled patients."

"Although the potential for radiation exposure exists in this field, it is kept to a minimum by the use of shielded syringes, gloves, and other protective devices and by adherence to strict radiation safety guidelines. The amount of radiation in a nuclear medicine procedure is comparable to that received during a diagnostic x-ray procedure. Technologists also wear badges that measure radiation levels. Because of safety programs, badge measurements rarely exceed established safety levels."

(Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition, Nuclear Medicine Technologists, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos104.htm (visited April 11, 2006)).