Medical Imaging
Nuclear Medical Technologist

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Career photo
Salary: $54,841 - $61,5530
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Hourly: $23.28 - $34.86
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Outlook: 3 Stars
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Length of Training: 2-4 years
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Career Explorer
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Roadmap
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Nuclear medicine technologists administer nuclear medicine procedures to diagnose and treat illness. In diagnosis, nuclear medicine technologists operate cameras that detect and map the radioactive drug in the patient’s body to create a diagnostic image. Nuclear medicine technologists prepare and administer the radiophar maceuticals (radioactive drugs) to patients either by mouth or by injection. A radiation-sensitive camera traces the journey of the radiopharmaceutical through the body and abnormal areas show higher- or lower-than-expected concentrations of radioactivity.

Nuclear medicine technologists also analyze the interaction of blood and urine samples with radioactive materials to determine drug and hormone levels. Other responsibilities may include keeping accurate records of how much treatment each patient receives, disposing of radioactive waste, maintaining inventory, and following safety regulations to limit radioactive exposure.

The nuclear medicine field continues to grow as new radioactive drugs are developed and the technology changes. The field is gravitating towards molecular and cellular imaging so that cancer cells and other disease processes can be evaluated much earlier, which will lead to earlier treatment, and consequently, will improve cure rates.

Areas of Specialization
The majority of nuclear medicine technologists are generalists and do not specialize in any one population or disease.

However, new technologies enable technologists to choose to work in specialty areas, such as cardiology centers or PET (Positron Emission Tomography) centers, which enable physicians to locate and determine how advanced the cancer is.

Work Environment

According to the Department of Labor, most nuclear medicine technologists work in hospitals, although some work in physicians’ offices and in diagnostic imaging centers.

If a nuclear medicine technologist works in a hospital, there may be evening and weekend hours involved, as well as taking calls after hours. Working evening and weekend shifts also provides opportunities for additional pay.