What Are Emerging Careers in Nuclear Medicine?

A career in nuclear medicine may offer healthcare professionals the chance to work in a relatively new and developing branch of medicine. Read below to find out more about some emerging careers in nuclear medicine. Schools offering Diagnostic Medical Sonography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine is a relatively new branch of medicine that involves the use of small amounts of radioactive material to help diagnose and treat a number of diseases. Nuclear medicine procedures are used in a variety of medical fields including pediatrics, endocrinology and cardiology. The level of radioactivity that is used in these procedures is kept to a minimum to ensure the safety of patients and medical staff and requires administration by a qualified nuclear medicine specialist. A few of the emerging careers in nuclear medicine are discussed below.

Important Facts About This Field of Study

Related Degree Fields Radiation therapy, diagnostic imaging, nuclear engineering, chemistry, biology, atomic or nuclear physics, medicine, human anatomy and medical technology
Required Education Associate's degree for technologists and equipment operators, at least a bachelor's degree for radiochemists and nuclear medicine researchers, medical degree for physicians
Professional Certification The Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB) for technologists, the American Board of Nuclear Medicine (ABNM) for physicians
Work Environment Must work closely with radioactive materials and devices, risk hazardous exposure if safety protocols are not followed

Nuclear Medicine Technologist

Nuclear medicine technologists administer radiopharmaceuticals. These doses of radioactive material may be administered orally or by injection. Technologists then use a special camera to track the position of the radiopharmaceuticals, which settle in the specified area and emit information. A physician then interprets the information provided by these images. Nuclear medicine technologists are responsible for explaining the procedure to the patient and limiting the patient's exposure to harmful materials.

Nuclear Medicine Physician

Nuclear medicine physicians are classically trained physicians who have received specialized training in the field of nuclear medicine. The career requires physicians to complete a 3-year residency program after finishing medical school. These physicians receive extensive training in imaging and are qualified to diagnose and treat disease using radiopharmaceuticals.

Radiochemist

Radiochemists are responsible for the effective and safe development of the radiopharmaceuticals used in nuclear medicine. They manipulate radioactive materials in order to tailor them for a particular use. Radiochemists are trained chemists who have received specialized training in nuclear chemistry.

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