Nuclear Medicine Technologist Schools and Colleges in the U.S.
Nuclear medicine technologist schools train students to use radiopharmaceuticals and associated radiation detector machines to help physicians diagnose and treat disease. Training programs can take 1-4 years, depending on the student's background.
Selecting a Nuclear Medicine Technology Program
Nuclear medicine technologists use radioactive materials to administer tests that help physicians diagnose and treat patients. To enter this career, one needs an associate's or bachelor's degree or certificate in nuclear medicine technology and a passing score on the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB) national exam. Students must complete a program that is accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Educational Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology to be eligible to sit for the NMTCB exam.
Students will need to choose which level of degree to pursue. A baccalaureate degree may make graduates more competitive in the job hunt and open up opportunities for supervisory roles. There are many 1-year certificate programs, but these are typically pursued by qualified radiology technologists, diagnostic medical sonographers and other allied health professionals who wish to move into the specialty of nuclear medicine technology.
Clinical experience is an important part of the training for nuclear medicine technologists, so students may want to choose a program that has an association with a medical school or hospital with a national reputation or one that offers opportunities for specialization.
Scheduling and location may also be considerations. Some programs offer distance-learning options or flexible scheduling with classes and clinical rotations on evenings and weekends.
Nuclear Medicine Technology Program Overviews
Certificate in Nuclear Medicine Technology
Certificate programs last around 1-2 years and are intended to supplement the education and experience of current allied health professionals who would like to add nuclear medicine to their certifications. Certificate programs are offered at community colleges and at hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Coursework covers nuclear medicine techniques and includes clinical rotations. Applicants must either be certified allied health professionals or have completed an associate's degree program that included prerequisite coursework in the sciences and math.
Associate of Science (A.S.) in Nuclear Medicine Technology
An A.S. program takes two years to complete and includes some general education courses. Students are often required to have already fulfilled basic courses in anatomy, physiology, pathology, chemistry and math before entering an A.S. program. Some programs are intended for individuals already working as allied health professionals. Prerequisites vary, but a high school diploma or GED certificate is the minimum requirement for entry into an A.S. program.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Nuclear Medicine Technology
A B.S. program takes four years to complete. The first two years are spent fulfilling general education requirements and taking prerequisite science and math courses. The last two years are spent taking professional courses in specific nuclear medicine techniques and procedures. Students complete multiple clinical rotations. A high school diploma or GED certificate is required to begin a B.S. program, and satisfactory completion of prerequisite courses is required before being admitted to professional-level courses.
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