Job Details

Position : Nuclear Medicine Tech

Upon completion of an educational program covering topics that include the physical sciences, effects of radiation exposure, radiation procedures, radiopharmaceuticals, computer applications and imaging techniques an individual may earn a 2-year associate's degree or a 4-year bachelor's degree. One-year certificates in nuclear medicine are available to registered nurses and individuals who already have an associate's degree in areas such as radiologic technology or diagnostic medical sonography and wish to specialize.

Although educational requirements vary by state, most require professional certification or licensure to practice. Most often, certification is earned by completing a training program and comprehensive examination recognized by the American Association of Radiologic Technologists (AART) or the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB).

Following an explanation of the procedure about to be performed on him or her, nuclear medical technicians administer radionuclides to the patient either orally, by injection or inhalation. These radionuclides or isotopes have been purified to form what are known as radiopharmaceuticals.

While working with radioactive material, nuclear medicine technologists are responsible for safety precautions, as they see to it that patients and workers are only exposed to the necessary amount of radiation.

Placing the patient in the appropriate position, the technician operates the scanner, or gamma scintillation camera. This creates images that map the localization of the radiopharmaceuticals in the patient's body and transmits them to a computer. In addition to recording the amount and type of radiopharmaceuticals used, the technician monitors the camera's operation.