What Does a Nuclear Med Tech Do?

A nuclear medicine technologist is a professional who uses radioisotopes to diagnose and treat disease. Nuclear medicine offers the unique ability to image the body’s function, rather than its structure.

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Job Description

A Nuclear Medicine Technologist is a health care professional who uses radioactive materials to diagnose and treat disease. Nuclear Medicine is a branch of medicine that uses radioactive isotopes to diagnosis, manage and treat various diseases.


Nuclear medicine technologists typically do the following:
-Prepare patients for procedures by taking and documenting vital signs and answering any questions they may have
-Explain the procedures to patients and answer any of their questions
-Prepare radioactive drugs and administer them to patients
-Operate imaging equipment that takes pictures or creates videos of the inside of patients’ bodies
-Process images using computers and analyze them to look for abnormalities
-Present findings to physicians and other members of the patient’s care team
-Maintain records of patient exam results


A nuclear medicine technologist is a highly skilled professional who uses radioactive materials to diagnose and treat disease. As a nuclear medicine technologist, you will need to have a strong understanding of physics and biology, as well as be able to operate complex equipment. You will also need to be able to work well under pressure, as you will often be working with patients who are in pain or discomfort. If you are interested in a career in nuclear medicine, you will need to complete an accredited training program and pass a national certification exam.


The average salary for a Nuclear Medicine Technologist is $82,090 per year. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $58,860, and the highest 10 percent earn more than $109,490. The median annual salary for all workers was $37,690 in May 2019.

Factors that Affect Salary

There are many factors that can affect how much a nuclear medicine technologist makes. Here are a few:
-Experience: Like most jobs, the more experience you have, the more you will typically earn.
-Geographic location: Costs of living and wages vary from place to place. Technologists in large metropolitan areas usually earn more than those who work in smaller towns or rural areas.
-Employer type: There is a significant difference in pay between hospitals and private diagnostic imaging centers. Those who work for the government or in academia also tend to earn less than those in the private sector.
-Specialization: There are many different types of nuclear medicine, from diagnostic imaging to radiopharmaceutical production. Those with specialized skills and knowledge usually earn more than those who do not.
-Educational level: Most technologists have at least an associate’s degree, but those with a bachelor’s or master’s degree may earn more.

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment of nuclear medicine technologists will grow by 4% from 2019 to 2029, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. The median salary for nuclear medicine technologists was $77,560 per year, or $37.29 per hour, in May 2019, according to the BLS.

Education and Training

A nuclear medicine technologist is a highly trained professional who uses radioactive materials to diagnose and treat medical conditions. Nuclear medicine technologists must complete an accredited educational program and obtain a license in order to practice.


Individuals must complete an accredited two- to four-year educational program in nuclear medicine technology. Many programs offer a bachelor’s degree, but an associate’s degree may be sufficient for some positions. Admission requirements vary by program, but most require at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Some colleges and universities also require candidates to complete prerequisite coursework in math and the sciences.


Nuclear medicine technology programs are available at the certificate, associate’s and bachelor’s degree levels at many community colleges, universities and medical institutions across the united states Admission to these programs is often selective, and may require completion of prerequisite coursework in mathematics and the sciences.


To become a nuclear medicine technologist, you must complete an accredited two-year associate degree or four-year bachelor’s degree program in nuclear medicine technology. Successful completion of a national or state certification examination is also required for many positions. Some states require licensure.

Voluntary Certification

Although not required, certification demonstrates a commitment to one’s profession and may lead to greater job opportunities. Certification is available through the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB) and the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). To be eligible for certification, candidates must graduate from an accredited program and complete a clinical training program.

Career Paths

A nuclear medicine technologist is a professional who uses radioactive materials to diagnose and treat disease. These materials, called radiopharmaceuticals, are injected into the body, inhaled or swallowed. The radiopharmaceuticals travel through the body and are detected by a gamma camera. The images produced allow doctors to determine the location and function of specific organs or tissues.

Nuclear medicine technologists must be licensed in most states. Licensure requirements vary by state but usually include completing an accredited educational program and passing a written exam. Some states also require nuclear medicine technologists to pass a clinical skills exam.

The majority of nuclear medicine technologists work in hospitals, but many also work in outpatient clinics, physician offices and diagnostic imaging centers. Some may also work in research laboratories or pharmaceutical companies that manufacture radiopharmaceuticals.

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