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Nuclear Medicine Technologist

As a nuclear medicine technologist, you will not only seek out diseases, but you'll also play an integral role in trying to defeat them. From heart disease to cancer, you will be on the front lines in the fight against life-threatening illnesses. Nuclear medicine technologists peer into the cellular function and physiology of a patient, rather than just viewing images of the anatomy.

Radioactive isotopes, known as radionuclides are combined with various pharmaceuticals, which are administered to the patient. The way these substances react will help the physician find problems. As a nuclear medicine tech, you will be using cutting-edge technology, combined with the knowledge you've gained through an education degree program about chemical and anatomical interactions.

Nuclear Medicine Technologist Schools

Browse our nuclear medicine technologist schools offering nuclear medicine, medical laboratory, and special pharmaceutical science programs. You can request information directly from schools in order so you'll better understand the specifics of each program, including curriculum, course schedules, online course availability, prerequisites, and career options that may be available to you upon graduating from a program.


How To Become a Nuclear Medicine Technologist

nuclear medicine tech preparing a pharmaceuticalAccording to the World Nuclear Association, tens of millions of nuclear medicine procedures are performed in the U.S. -- and around the world -- every year. Developed in the 1950s, these procedures are now a medical specialty that is practiced in all major countries. And the field continues to evolve: nuclear medicine equipment, procedures, and the development of new radiopharmaceuticals are under constant refinement.

Becoming a nuclear medicine technologist begins with completing a certificate, associate, or bachelor's degree program through an accredited radiology school. Program topics typically covered include nuclear drug administration, equipment operation, as well as general radiology curriculum.

Nuclear medicine certification requirements vary from state to state, so it is important to find out what your state requirements are. Certification is available from two organizations:

  • The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT)
  • The Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB)

Who Performs Nuclear Medicine Tests?

The physicians who supervise the procedure and interpret the results are a specially trained and certified. The nuclear medicine technologists who perform the scans and procedures are also specially trained and certified, usually through the NMTCB (The Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board). The usual route to becoming a nuclear medicine tech is a two-year associate program.

How is Nuclear Medicine Technology Used?

Nuclear medicine can be used in a variety of ways:

  • To identify abnormal lesions deep in the body without exploratory surgery.
  • To determine whether or not organs like the heart, kidneys, and stomach are functioning normally.
  • To evaluate a patient's blood volume, lung function, vitamin absorption and bone density.
  • To detect the smallest bone fracture before it can be seen on x-ray.
  • To find cancers and to determine if they are responding to treatment, and determine if infected bones will heal.
  • To identify sites of seizure (epilepsy), Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's.
  • After a heart attack, it can assess the damage to the heart.
  • It can tell physicians how well newly transplanted organs are functioning.

Nuclear medicine is different from an x-ray, a CT scan and ultrasound and MRI. Nuclear medicine can detect the radiation coming from inside a patient's body. All the other procedures expose the patient to radiation from the outside of the body. No other imaging method has the ability to use our body's own functions to determine disease status.


Nuclear Medicine Technologist Job Description

  • Communicate with the patient to prepare them for the procedure.
  • Administer radioactive pharmaceuticals to the patient orally or intravenously.
  • Monitor "gamma cameras," which capture and form images from radiation given off by the pharmaceuticals.
  • Seek out reactions in the body, known as tracers, where the radionuclide chemically binds to the materials in a characteristic manner, which indicates the presence of certain diseases or abnormalities.
  • In some cases, you may work in conjunction with CT or MRI techs to highlight an area of interest in greater depth.
  • Follow strict guidelines for safe dosages and adhering to protocols.
  • Set guidelines for each procedure in order to minimize any possible negative side effects.

Sources:

Radioisotopes in Medicine, World Nuclear Organization, http://world-nuclear.org/information-library/non-power-nuclear-applications/radioisotopes-research/radioisotopes-in-medicine.aspx

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Why Brightwood?

Real-World Training

We keep education relevant by employing instructors with real-world experience in the field, who bring their career backgrounds to the classroom. Our programs are continually assessed by faculty, staff and members of the business and education communities to help ensure your studies align with your career goals. Programs offered by Brightwood College focus on local employment needs, in areas such as allied health, nursing and technical and professional programs.

Degree - Diagnostic Medical Sonography
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Diagnostic Medical Sonography

Medical Career Institute in Ocean, NJ is your one-stop-shop for medical career training in Monmouth and Ocean Counties.  Medical Career Institute is approved by the United States Department of Education and the New Jersey Departments of Education and Labor and Workforce Development. Offering both morning and evening classes in addition to financial aid assistance to those who qualify. The school is accredited by ABHES and CAAHEP, ensuring the quality and level of education meets the highest standards.

 

Associate of Science in Radiologic Technology

Since 1977, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career-focused education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals.  Our student-centered approach remains at the foundation of the Keiser University mission and continues to attract students who prefer a more personal learning experience. 

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Diagnostic Medical Sonography/Ultrasound
Virginia College , Birmingham

The goal of Virginia College lies in its responsibility to its students, the technical and business communities, and the general citizenry. We have a long history of offering new direction to students.

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Diagnostic Medical Sonography (General Concentration)
Advance your career with American Institute - Diagnostic Medical Sonography. Our program can be completed in as little as 16 months. We offer program specializations in general or cardiac sonography, both of which include vascular ultrasound training.
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Medical Assisting Basic X-ray Technician
Fortis Institute , Salt Lake City

Fortis Institute can give you the skills you need to train for a career in the healthcare field.

* Programs vary by location

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Daymar College , Bowling Green
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A.S. - Diagnostic Medical Sonography

Southern Technical College provides education and training in a variety of medical and technical areas that enable graduates to obtain entry-level employment. As a student at Southern Technical College, you will have the opportunity learn in several different ways.

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Quest College is dedicated to providing career-focused, accessible education and helping individuals get the training, experience and support for the Allied Health and business industries.

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Diploma - Patient Care Technician

Get hands-on training with Brookline College. We offer diploma and degree programs in the areas of health care, business, nursing, criminal justice, paralegal, and computer security. We understand that today's student is busy with many responsibilities, so we offer day, evening, and online classes, giving you options to fit school into your schedule.

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Multi-Skill Health Technician
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