What does a nuclear medicine technologist do?

Nuclear medicine technology evaluates the body’s physiological processes via the administration of radioactive compounds known as radiopharmaceuticals. After the radioisotope is administered, the technologist will image the biodistribution of the radiotracer with a gamma camera to determine the presence of disease. Sophisticated computer software applications can further investigate and quantify radiopharmaceutical uptake to determine the presence of disease.

What might a nuclear medicine technologist do in a workday?

  • are key players in the ability to find cancer due to the advent of positron emission tomography.
  • play key roles in identifying cardiac disease and in preventing heart attacks through nuclear cardiology stress testing.
  • perform renal scans to determine kidney function.
  • perform bone scans to identify the presences of bone infections.
  • perform HIDA scans that can uncover stones blocking the gallbladder.
  • perform gastric emptying to look at the body’s ability to digest food.

How much does a nuclear medicine technologist earn?

  • $65,000 - $75,000

How do I become a nuclear medicine technologist?

Students intending to pursue a career as a nuclear medicine technologist should prepare by taking the most challenging high school courses available in science and math.

Nuclear medicine technology programs are available through both hospitals and colleges/universities. High school graduation (or GED) is required for entry into a two-year or four-year program. For one-year programs, graduation from an Accredited radiologic technology or health sciences program is usually necessary. Individuals also must earn certification involving written and practical examinations.

Certification can be obtained from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists and the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board.

Where else can I learn about becoming a nuclear medicine technologist?

Society of Nuclear Medicine
1850 Samuel Morse Drive / Reston, VA 20190
tel: (703) 708-9000 / web:  www.snm.org

Virginia Society of Radiologic Technologists
P.O. Box 1114 / Salem, VA 24153
tel:  (540) 355-6778 / web:  www.vsrt.org

American Society of Radiologic Technologists
15000 Central Avenue S.E. / Albuquerque, NM 87123-3909
tel:  (505) 298-4500 or (800) 444-2778 / web:  www.asrt.org

Educational Institutions in Virginia for Nuclear Medicine Technologists: