Nuclear Medicine Bachelors Degree Program Information
Individuals who want to enroll in bachelor's degree programs in nuclear medicine can find a program overview and requirements as well as common course topics here. Read on for employment outlook and salary statistics for nuclear medicine technologists.
Nuclear medicine technology is a fast-growing, high-paying field among those requiring only a bachelor's degree. Students can expect to learn about radioactive drugs, nuclear imaging machines and anatomy. Bachelor's degree programs in nuclear medicine technology, such as the Bachelor of Science (B.S.), prepare students to work as nuclear medicine technologists. Students learn to work with imaging technology that uses radio-nuclides to see the systems of the body, diagnose ailments and help doctors determine the best forms of treatment.
Through classroom lectures and practical experiences, nuclear medicine students learn to administer radioactive pharmaceuticals, as well as proper radiation safety techniques, biological sample collection and quality control measures. Students typically complete an internship and upon graduation are prepared to sit for the certification examination offered by the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB).
The minimum requirement to be considered for admission to this degree program is a high school diploma; however, many incoming students have an associate's degree in nuclear medicine. Applicants should also expect to complete a mental evaluation, which is typically administered by members of the program's department, as well as submit letters of recommendation and a personal statement.
Coursework in this field combines didactic learning with hands-on laboratory learning. The following are classes that might appear in the curriculum:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Radiation chemistry
- Gamma scintillation camera operation
- Patient care and ethics
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects the employment rate for nuclear medicine technologists to grow 19% between 2010 and 2020 (www.bls.gov), which is about as fast as average. The median annual salary for this profession was $70,180 as of May 2012. The highest-paid nuclear medicine technologists earned upwards of $93,320, while the lowest-paid made $50,560 or lower.
Continuing Education and Certification
Certification in this field is not mandatory, but the BLS notes that it is now the industry standard for entry-level nuclear medicine technologists. Each state has its own certification requirements and those pursuing this certification should consult the state medical board for the state in which they plan to work. The Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB) and the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) both offer certification for nuclear medicine technologists.
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