Required Certifications or Degrees for Nuclear Medicine Technology
Mar 17, 2015 | 9:00 am
If you’d like to combine your skills in chemistry, physics, math and technology with helping patients in the field of nuclear medicine, then you’re probably curious about the requirements to become a nuclear medicine technologist. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the field is growing faster than average for all occupations, and it has a median annual earning potential of $70,180. So what degrees or certifications do you need to become a nuclear medicine technologist? Let’s find out.
Several academic paths lead to a job as a qualified nuclear medicine technologist. For starters, undergrads can earn a two-year associate degree or four-year bachelor’s degree in nuclear medicine technology. A bachelor’s degree may prove more valuable for job prospects and advancement opportunities in regions with high competition levels.
Earning a degree from an institution accredited by one of the six major U.S. accrediting bodies approved by the U.S. Department of Education is a requirement before entering into a certification program. Whichever educational path you choose, the UNC Hospitals School of Nuclear Medicine Technology & Molecular Imaging notes that the program must include coverage of the following:
•Chemistry and Physics
•Human Anatomy and Physiology
•Humanities and Social Science Courses
•Oral and Written Communication Courses
Accredited programs also include clinical experience and labs, which allow students to gain experience under the supervision of a certified nuclear medicine technologist, physician or surgeon. For students who hold a degree in a physical science or nursing, post-baccalaureate certificates can help bridge the gap of credits needed in nuclear medicine.
While certification isn’t required in every state, the BLS notes that a nuclear medicine technologist can improve his or her job prospects by getting it, especially in a medical specialty such as nuclear cardiology (NCT) or positron emission tomography (PET). Getting certified has at least two benefits: It makes you more competitive in the job market, and it also fulfills most or all of the requirements for state licensure.
To earn certification, you must have the required education noted above along with a determined number of clinical hours. Both the American Registry of Radiological Technologists and Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB) offer approved certification exams. The NMTCB notes that passing the exam qualifies you to use the professional credential “CNMT,” otherwise known as Certified Nuclear Medicine Technologist.
Earning the education and certification needed to become a Nuclear Medicine Technologist shows your commitment to the art and skill of diagnostic evaluation and therapy through the safe use of radio-pharmaceuticals.