Nuclear Medicine Technologists
A Nuclear Medicine Technologist (NMT) works in a field called Diagnostic Imaging. They operate cameras that find and map the path that a radioactive drug that they introduce into a patient's body takes, this drug is a dye that creates images, it is called a radiopharmaceutical and emits signals from a patient's body. These images are then produced on a screen or film for a physician to later read and interpret. The images are used to diagnose and even to sometimes treat a disease in a patient.
The NMT prepares the radiopharmaceutical and must adhere to strict safety standards to keep the radiation exposure of the patient and technicians as low as possible.
NMT programs are from one to four years long and lead to a certificate, an associate degree or a baccalaureate degree. One year certification programs are available in hospitals for medical professionals who already have a degree of some sort and wish to specialize in nuclear medicine. Requirements vary from state to state, with more than half of all states now requiring certification or licensure of NMTs.
NMTs must meet the minimum Federal standards on the administration of radioactive drugs and the operation of radiation detection equipment. In addition NMTS must pursue a specific number of continuing education units every year to maintain certification.
NMTs held 20,000 jobs in 2006; of these 67% were in hospitals, the balance of were distributed between physician's offices, diagnostic laboratories and diagnostic imaging centers.
There will be a fifteen percent increase in the number of NMT jobs over the decade 2006 - 2016.
Lowest 10% $22.78 $47,370
Median 50% $31.09 $64,670
Highest 10% $40.86 $84,980
Source: U.S. Department of Labor