Imaging Sciences Nuclear Medicine

How to Become a Nuclear Medicine Technologist


If you are interested in health care and technology, becoming a nuclear medicine technologist may be the perfect career for you. Nuclear medicine technologists use specialized equipment to create images of a patient’s body to help diagnose and treat various medical conditions. Let’s take a look at what it takes to become a nuclear medicine technologist, including education requirements, job responsibilities, and career outlook.

What is a Nuclear Medicine Technologist?

Nuclear medicine technologists are health care professionals who work with small and safe amounts of radioactive materials to create images of a patient’s body. These images can be used to diagnose and treat various medical conditions, including cancer, heart disease, and neurological disorders. Nuclear medicine technologists use specialized equipment, such as gamma cameras and PET scanners, to detect the radioactive material in a patient’s body and create images that can be used to make a diagnosis.

Education and Training

To become a nuclear medicine technologist, you typically need to have an associate or bachelor’s degree in nuclear medicine technology or a related field. The program should be accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology (JRCNMT). The JRCNMT is the only programmatic accreditor recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for nuclear medicine technology programs.

Most programs take two to four years to complete, depending on whether you pursue an associate or bachelor’s degree. The coursework typically includes classes in radiation safety, anatomy and physiology, chemistry, and physics. Students will also gain hands-on experience in a clinical setting under the supervision of a licensed nuclear medicine technologist.

Certification and Licensing

After completing an accredited program, graduates must become certified by passing the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB) exam or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) exam. Both exams test the candidate’s knowledge and skills in nuclear medicine technology and must be passed to become certified.

Some states require nuclear medicine technologists to be licensed. Licensure requirements vary by state but often involve passing an exam and completing continuing education credits to maintain the license.

Skills and Qualities

Nuclear medicine technologists must have several skills and qualities to effectively perform their job duties. These include:

  • Attention to Detail: Nuclear medicine technologists must be detail-oriented and follow precise procedures to ensure the safety of patients and themselves.
  • Critical Thinking: They must be able to analyze images and determine if they are high quality enough to make an accurate diagnosis.
  • Communication Skills: They need to be able to communicate with patients and other health care professionals to explain procedures, answer questions, and discuss test results.
  • Physical Stamina: Nuclear medicine technologists may be on their feet for long periods and may need to lift and move patients who cannot move themselves.

Job Outlook and Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for nuclear medicine technologists was $78,270 in 2021. The highest 10 percent earned more than $104,980, and the lowest 10 percent earned less than $56,280. The BLS also projects employment of nuclear medicine technologists to grow 6 percent from 2020 to 2030, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Career Advancement

Nuclear medicine technologists can advance in their careers by pursuing additional education and training. They may choose to specialize in a specific area of nuclear medicine, such as cardiac or neurologic imaging. They may also become supervisors or managers of a nuclear medicine department or go into education or research.

AdventHealth University offers the only accredited Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Medicine Technology program in the state of Florida, as well as the only program with a Computed Tomography (CT) embedded in the curriculum. To learn more about a career in nuclear medicine, explore AdventHealth University’s Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Medicine Technology.

Recommended Readings

Benefits of Interventional Radiology
Nine Key Figures in Radiology
How to Become A Radiology Director


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Nuclear Medicine Technologists.”

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