Using cameras, computers and radioactive materials to map out a clear picture of the body and its organs, a nuclear medicine technologist plays a crucial role in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases. The process of acquiring a job as a nuclear medicine technician involves a large time commitment as well as dedication to a course load heavily defined by math and science.
For this particular field of work, there are no shortcuts available. According to The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (AART), a minimum of an associate degree will be required for this job as of January 1, 2015. Contrary to popular belief, this associate degree isn't limited to radiology. Radiation therapy, sonography, nuclear medicine and magnetic resonance imaging also fit the bill. The degree must also be issued by an institution that is accredited by AART.
Many community colleges and universities are set to help you achieve your degree. Before you select a school, it is a good idea to sit down with one of the school's counselors to determine if they have the program and accreditation that you need.
The Certification Process
With your degree in hand, you are now ready to begin the process of attaining your certificate to work as a nuclear medicine technologist. Though this process may vary a bit from state to state, you are looking at a 12-month program that combines both classroom and clinical instruction. Classes include radio pharmacology, immunology, and biochemistry, just to name a few. At the end of the road, an AART certification awaits you.
Obtaining your certificate is only the beginning in your path to becoming a nuclear medicine technologist. You are expected to continue your education after your entrance into the workforce. Your certification is only applicable for one year at a time, and 24 category A or A+ Continuing Education credits are also required every two years.
Pursuing a career as a nuclear medicine technologist can be a bit daunting, but the growth rate for hiring within this field is continually growing. Job placement can be found not only in hospitals, but in physician's offices, laboratories and universities.