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Nuclear Medicine Technologist


Description

Nuclear medicine technologists have an important role to play in the detection and treatment of various forms of cancer. These trained technologists acquire images that help pinpoint the nature of a disease, and help the doctors learn about how the disease is affecting the body. They can also help doctors learn how a patient is responding to various treatments.

Nuclear medicine technologists use radioactive drugs, called "tracers", to monitor patients. The tracers are usually injected into the patient, although sometimes the drugs are taken orally, in pill form. The tracers concentrate in specific organs, and release a very low level of radiation while the technologist attempts to collect data. This data is recorded by a special detector, called a "gamma camera". Using the data collected, a computer can produce images of the organ from different angles. They can even obtain cross-sectional images. They can transfer the images to a photograph or to a computer printout, which is given to the doctors to examine.

Nuclear medicine technologists are helpful in studying coronary disease, and to learn how the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs are functioning. Their technology can determine the location of tumors, monitor the progression of cancer and the results of cancer treatments, and even diagnose hormonal disorders. Without their expertise, many illnesses would go unnoticed. The early detection of cancer is one of the most important factors in the patient's survival, and the technologists can participate in the detection, and subsequent treatment, of may forms of the disease.
 
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Brookline College

Get hands-on training with Brookline College. We offer diploma and degree programs in the areas of health care, business, nursing, criminal justice, paralegal, and computer security.

Programs Offered:
  • Diploma - Patient Care Technician
  • Diploma - Surgical Technology
  • Diploma - Medical Assistant

 

 



  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
$35,870
 
Median Salary:
$48,750
 
Highest 10% of Earners:
$68,710

  Interests and Skills  
Nuclear medicine technologists need to be technologically minded, with a calm, sensitive demeanor, a gentle disposition, and a sense of humor. They are organized, efficient, and safety conscious, with a desire to help people. They must also work well with others, have good communication skills, and be open to other cultures and belief systems in order to succeed in this career.
 

  Typical Tasks  
  • Explain the procedure to the patient
  • Answer questions as fully as possible
  • Comfort the patient and provide emotional support
  • Correctly position the patient and the equipment
  • Prepare the tracer prescribed by the physician
  • Administer the tracer, by mouth or injection
  • Ensure that the patient, all staff, and visitors are protected from radiation
  • Monitor the patient during procedure
  • Conduct computer analysis to produce medical images
  • Perform any minor repairs to equipment when necessary
  • The typical day for a nuclear medicine technologist will involve working closely with a number of clients. The environment can be tense, due to the nature of the diseases being diagnosed and monitored. Nuclear medicine technologists work indoors, with little opportunity to travel.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Nuclear medicine technologists work in hospitals and health clinics. They work in offices, and in screening rooms. They work with radiation, and so they must be prepared to take safety precautions. They work regular hours, but may be required to work some evenings or weekends, depending on the clinic. They work in small teams of doctors, technicians, assistants, and receptionists.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Nuclear medicine technologists can become supervisors, or become college instructors. They can branch into other forms of radiation technology, or can go on to become public health nurses, teaching people about early detection of cancer. Or, they can become advocates for cancer sufferers and head up fundraising campaigns for research and support groups.
 

  Educational Paths  
In order to become a nuclear medicine technologist the completion a two- to three-year program in nuclear medicine technology is required. Nuclear medicine technologists may be required to join a professional society, depending on where they live.
 

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

Featured Schools

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Brookline College

Get hands-on training with Brookline College. We offer diploma and degree programs in the areas of health care, business, nursing, criminal justice, paralegal, and computer security.

Programs Offered:
  • Diploma - Patient Care Technician
  • Diploma - Surgical Technology
  • Diploma - Medical Assistant

 
Quest College

Quest College is dedicated to providing career-focused, accessible education and helping individuals get the training, experience and support for the Allied Health and business industries.

Programs Offered:
  • Patient Care Technician
  • Medical Assisting with Phlebotomy and EKG

 
Southern Technical College

Southern Technical College provides education and training in a variety of medical and technical areas that enable graduates to obtain entry-level employment.

Programs Offered:
  • A.S. - Diagnostic Medical Sonography
  • A.S. - Surgical Technician
  • A.S. - Medical Laboratory Technician
  • And more...

 
Keiser University Campus

Since 1977, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career-focused education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals.  Our student-centered approach remains at the foundation of the Keiser University mission and continues to attract students who prefer a more personal learning experience. 

Programs Offered:
  • Bachelor of Science in Imaging Sciences—Imaging Administration Concentration
  • Associate of Science in Radiologic Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences - Pre-Physician Assistant Concentration

 
UEI College

At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it.

Programs Offered:
  • Medical Assistant (10-Month Diploma Program)

 
Charter College

You can prepare for a new career with help from Charter College.

Programs Offered:
  • Certificate - Medical Assistant

 
Centura College

Centura College, with campus locations in Virginia, South Carolina and Florida.

Programs Offered:
  • Health Information Technology

 
Florida Career College
Train for the real-world skills that help you launch a successful technology or healthcare career with a degree, or diploma from Florida Career College.
Programs Offered:
  • Medical Assistant Technician (10-Month diploma program)

 
Keiser University

Since 1977, Keiser University has provided quality student-centered, career-focused education. Keiser University Online offers degree programs online to prepare students for in-demand professions.

Programs Offered:
  • Associate of Science in Medical Assisting Science

 
Metropolitan Institute of Health and Technology

MIHT provides a great prospect for employment and career development. Upon program completion, graduates take advantage of our career placement program to secure employment in the health and technology industry.

Programs Offered:
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Clinical Medical Assisting

 
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