This article looks at creating a career with nuclear medicine technologist schools. Nuclear Medicine has advanced rapidly over the past few years and the demand for trained personnel in this field has been in high demand. The field has been found to be an excellent source for diagnosing ailments and treating disease. This is done through the use of nuclear atoms, which give off radiation and can identify a disease on the basis of metabolic changes. Using this method of diagnosis, many times a disease can be detected, and cured, before it gets to a stage beyond treatment.
Nuclear Medicine Technologist Education and Training
A number of people are entering this field by way of Nuclear Medicine Technologist Schools. The training programs for a career in this field ranges from one to four years, leading to a certificate and a bachelor or associate degree, with a number of states also requiring a license. Anyone undertaking this training should check with their state’s Department of Education to determine the exact requirements to qualify to work in this field. Certificate programs are available in colleges and universities, hospitals, and community colleges.
The courses studied will include imaging techniques, radiopharmaceuticals, physical sciences, radiation exposure, anatomy and others. It is possible for those who already have an associate or bachelor’s degree to take a one-year certificate program to qualify for the position. People who often take advantage of this opportunity include registered nurses, medical technologists, radiologic technologists and others in the medical arena.
Nuclear medicine technologist courses many include, Nuclear physics, Statistics, Health physics, Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry, Radiopharmacology, Radiation biology, Clinical nuclear medicine, Radionuclide therapy, Immunology. Other coursework includes:
- Molecular Biology
- Cellular Biochemistry
- Biomedical Ethics
All associate and bachelor nuclear medicine technologist schools and related areas in this field, must be accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology. There are 25 states that require nuclear medicine technologists to be licensed. Certification is also required in many healthcare facilities for insurance purposes. This certification is available from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists and from the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board.
Nuclear Medicine Technologist Careers
Nuclear Medicine Technologists have little direct supervision so must be able to work independently. Because of their constant interaction with patients and their families they must also have very good communication skills. Their work requires them to be very precise and detail-oriented and to follow all required regulations. Detailed records and documentation regarding doses given to patients is essential in their duties.
A patient’s treatment is conducted by means of a camera, operated by the technologist, that maps the radioactive drug and creates a diagnostic image. The radiopharmaceutical may be administered by mouth, injection, inhalation or other means. As this drug localizes, at certain points in the body, images are received which are reproduced on a computer screen or film for the physician to review.
Nuclear Medicine Technologists have a choice of two different specialty areas. They are nuclear cardiology which uses the radiopharmaceuticals and cameras for a patient’s images in a prone position, and positron emission tomography, which requires action on the part of the patient while the pictures are being taken. The type of imaging done is determined by the physician.
Estimated Income and Projected Career Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the median annual wage of nuclear medicine technologists was $68,560 in 2010. The lowest 10% earned less than $49,130, and the top 10% earned more than $91,970. The employment of nuclear medicine technologists is expected to grow by 19% from 2010 to 2020,
Although there has been great advancement, and increased use, in this form of diagnosing diseases the job competition is quite strong. If a person wishes to secure a good job in this sector training in multiple diagnostic methods is the best way to go.
This would include such things as radiologic technology, diagnostic medical sonography, nuclear cardiology or similar areas. In 2008 there were 21,800 persons employed in this field and it is projected that this number will reach 25,400 in 2018. Nuclear medicine technologist schools will therefore prepare you for this dynamic career.