Nuclear medical technologists work with physicians and other health professionals to help diagnose patients, typically by using specific machines, such as MRIs and scanners. They may also administer radioactive drugs which help them see abnormal areas within the body. These professionals typically work in hospitals and less often, in other healthcare settings. The job outlook for a nuclear medicine technologist is great.
How the Future Looks for Nuclear Medicine Technologists
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 4,100 jobs will be added to the nuclear medicine technology industry through the year 2020, making a total of 26,000 US jobs. The BLS reports that the states that have the highest levels of employment for nuclear medicine technologists include Florida with 2,090, California with 1,550, Texas with 1,300, New York with 1,100, and Pennsylvania with 1,080 jobs. Those seeking employment in colleges and universities will earn the highest salaries, and those working in general medical or surgical hospitals are expected to earn the least.
Growth in the Industry
Nuclear medicine technology jobs will grow approximately 19% through the year 2020. This is slightly faster than what is considered average for all other jobs. While this is a very small occupation, the growth rate of 4,100 jobs in the next several years is considered quite large. The majority of those jobs will take place in hospitals and other healthcare settings. The medical industry is growing at a very fast rate, and along with doctor’s offices and new hospitals, technologist jobs will continue to grow. This is mostly to meet the demands of a growing population and increased awareness of various medical conditions.
Places of Employment for Nuclear Medicine Technologists
The majority of nuclear medicine technologists, or 0.55%, will work in medical and diagnostic laboratories while 0.26% will work in regular or surgical hospitals. Other popular places that these professionals work include offices of physicians, outpatient care centers and school or college campuses. In 2010, the about 33% of all nuclear medicine technologists worked in doctors’ offices or in medical laboratories. The best individuals for this job include those who are very detail oriented and organized as well as those who have the desire to help others and who are great with people.
Better Opportunities for Nuclear Medicine Technologists
Those who want to succeed in this career should focus on obtaining their Associate’s or a higher degree in health fields like radiologic technology or nursing. After obtaining the degree, they can obtain a certificate from a short program in nuclear medicine technology. Various technical schools and community colleges offer these certificates. The programs usually last anywhere from 12 months to 18 months and prepare individuals for working in the field. Often, they include hands-on training which allows the professional to get comfortable with the various procedures he or she will be performing.
Certification for nuclear medicine technologists is available through various agencies, including the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board and the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. There are several certifications that can be taken, including the CT and MRI certifications.