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Oswego Career Ladders - Nuclear Medicine Technologists

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Nuclear Medicine Technologists

Industry: Healthcare
Area: Radiology

Nuclear medicine technologists operate cameras that detect and map the radioactive drug in a patients body to create diagnostic images. After explaining test procedures to patients, technologists prepare a dosage of the radiopharmaceutical and administer it by mouth, injection, or other means. They position patients and start a gamma scintillation camera, or scanner, which creates images of the distribution of a radiopharmaceutical as it localizes in, and emits signals from, the patients body. The images are produced on a computer screen or on film for a physician to interpret.When preparing radiopharmaceuticals, technologists adhere to safety standards that keep the radiation dose to workers and patients as low as possible. Technologists keep patient records and record the amount and type of radionuclides received, used, and discarded.

Work Settings

About two-thirds of all jobs were in hospitals. Most of the rest were in offices of physicians or in medical and diagnostic laboratories, including diagnostic imaging centers.

Education

Nuclear medicine technology programs range in length from 1 to 4 years and lead to a certificate, associate degree, or bachelors degree. Generally, certificate programs are offered in hospitals, associate degree programs in community colleges, and bachelors degree programs in 4-year colleges and universities.

Job Outlook

Nuclear medicine technologists held about 17,000 jobs in 2002. Employment of nuclear medicine technologists is expected togrow faster than the averagefor all occupations through the year 2012.

Salary

Median annual earnings of nuclear medicine technologists were $48,750 in 2002.

Work Schedule

Nuclear medicine technologists generally work a 40-hour week, perhaps including evening or weekend hours in departments that operate on an extended schedule. Opportunities for part-time and shift work are also available. In addition, technologists in hospitals may have on-call duty on a rotational basis.

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