The work of nuclear medicine technologists revolves around tiny particles of matter called “radionuclides.” The particles are used in solutions that the technologist prepares and administers to patients, under the direction of a doctor. The technologist also operates equipment that tracks these particles as they move through organs or different parts of the body, and records images of how the particles appear. The resulting images can be used to diagnose a patient’s condition and to guide a course of treatment. Because they are working with radioactive materials, nuclear medicine technologists must follow strict safety procedures, including wearing a device to detect occupational exposure to radiation. They also explain test procedures to patients, so good communication skills are important. Nuclear medicine technologists most often work in hospitals; a few work in laboratories. Most work full-time, possibly on nights and weekends when needed. An associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nuclear medicine technology is usually required to enter this field. Some states require licensure, and some employers require certification. Often, these technologists seek additional training to handle other kinds of medical imaging procedures. In every case, they combine knowledge and precision with technology to help the patient get the best possible outcome.
What they do:
Prepare, administer, and measure radioactive isotopes in therapeutic, diagnostic, and tracer studies using a variety of radioisotope equipment. Prepare stock solutions of radioactive materials and calculate doses to be administered by radiologists. Subject patients to radiation. Execute blood volume, red cell survival, and fat absorption studies following standard laboratory techniques.
On the job, you would:
Administer radiopharmaceuticals or radiation intravenously to detect or treat diseases, using radioisotope equipment, under direction of a physician.
Detect and map radiopharmaceuticals in patients' bodies, using a camera to produce photographic or computer images.
Process cardiac function studies, using computer.
Math and Science
Arts and Humanities
medicine and dentistry
thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
understanding people's reactions
changing what is done based on other people's actions
communicate by speaking
listen and understand what people say
Ideas and Logic
notice when problems happen
order or arrange things
add, subtract, multiply, or divide
choose the right type of math to solve a problem
People interested in this work like activities that include ideas, thinking, and figuring things out.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
Concern for Others
You might use software like this on the job:
Electronic medical record EMR software
associate's degree or bachelor's degree usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.