If dealing with high-tech medical instruments is of interest to you, but you really want to be a bit less reliant on the hands-on skills that are essential to ultrasonographers, you really should think about a job as a nuclear medicine technologist. People in this field work with really large scanning devices that produce images of the human body that can help doctors identify different types of medical conditions. Being a nuclear medical technologist, your job is to explain the actual procedure to your patients, plus prepare and also give patients the radioactive prescribed drugs required to do the diagnostic scan. While you are performing the actual procedure, you’ll need to watch your patient in case they have any kind of complications or drug side effects.
Nuclear medicine technologists can often increase their job opportunities simply by getting certified in a area of specialization.
As a technologist you can get a certification in nuclear cardiology (NCT), computed tomography (CT), positron emission tomography (PET) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The NCT and PET certification exams are given by the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB). The CT and MRI certification exams are administered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth is expected to be around 19 percent over the next decade which is somewhat better than the 14 percent average that is expected for most other U.S. professions. Those technologists who in addition currently have credentials in interrelated job areas such as CT scanning or perhaps MRI, as well as those who may have acquired specialized qualifications in PET scanning together with nuclear cardiology, are usually in the greatest demand. The BLS reported in May 2011 that the average earnings for nuclear medicine technologists was around $69,960. Those in the top 10 percent earned a little over $92,960 or more a year.
Generally technologists work 40-hours per week, however depending on where you work, you could possibly have to work in an on-call rotation. If you work in hospitals, doctor’s offices or diagnostic imaging facilities and medical laboratories, the work is often mentally and physically challenging. You are usually on your feet a lot of the time and may even be asked to move and reposition patients, so as to help in the correct operation of the imaging devices. Working with the related equipment itself requires a certain level of manual skills along with a bit of mechanical expertise.
Nuclear medicine technologists will often become skilled in two or more areas to further improve their salaries.
One of the higher paying specialties is nuclear cardiology, this consists of imaging the patient’s cardiovascular system as well as blood circulation. Salaries for this field according to the PayScale Report, range from around $59,344 to just over $80,904 per year. The other area of expertise is Positron Emission Tomography (PET), this uses a piece of equipment that provides three-dimensional images of the human body. The salary range for this skill set usually starts at around $54,209 and goes up to around $72,348 a year.