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The Nuclear Medicine Technology Profession
The nuclear medicine technologist is a highly specialized health care professional who works closely with nuclear medicine physicians, radiologists and cardiologists using sophisticated radiation-detection instrumentation to perform planar studies, single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) studies, positron emission tomography (PET) studies and the combination of PET and SPECT studies with computed tomography (CT) referred to PET/CT, SPECT/CT or molecular CT. Technologists’ primary responsibilities include:
- Obtaining and critically analyzing patient history
- Monitoring patients’ physical conditions during procedures
- Preparing and administering radioactive chemical compounds, known as radiopharmaceuticals
- Labeling biologic specimens with radioactivity
- Performing patient procedures including diagnostic imaging, quantitative and therapeutic procedures.
- Processing images using computer enhancement techniques.
- Evaluating images to determine technical quality
- Providing images, data analysis and patient information to physicians for diagnostic interpretation
Opportunities in nuclear medicine technology are available in hospitals, imaging centers and physician offices and clinics. Other potential employment opportunities include sales, research, education, and equipment applications. Many of the college’s graduates continue their education by pursuing advanced degrees or advanced certification in nuclear cardiology and positron emission tomography. Also, graduates from the nuclear medicine major serve in a variety of leadership positions, such as department managers and supervisors, instrumentation or computer applications specialists and officers in various professional organizations.
Excellent resources for information regarding this field and career opportunities are available at www.snm.org.
Graduates have the opportunity to earn credentials from two different accrediting agencies. Upon successful completion of the major, students are eligible to sit for the certification examinations in nuclear medicine technology as given by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (www.arrt.org) or the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (www.nmtcb.org).