Bachelor's Degrees in Nuclear Medicine
Bachelor's degree programs in nuclear medicine are offered both in traditional, classroom-based formats and online. Continue reading to see what you'll study, check the licensing and certification options, and explore your career prospects.
What Will I Learn in a Bachelor's Degree in Nuclear Medicine?
Nuclear medicine technologists use safe radioactive drugs to diagnose diseases and create images of internal areas of the body. Bachelor's degree programs in this field combine the study of physics, math, chemistry, patient care, and computer technology. They also provide you with practical experience administering radiopharmaceuticals to patients and in the use of other imaging techniques, such as the positron emission tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT) scan. An internship or externship in nuclear medicine technology may also be part of your curriculum.
Some of the course subjects you can expect to encounter may include the following:
- Anatomy & physiology
- Medical imaging
- Medical terminology
- Cardiovascular imaging
- PET imaging
These degree programs can be found online; some online programs are degree completion programs, meaning that you need to earn a certain amount of transferable credits from another accredited school prior to enrolling.
|Common Courses||Psychology, math, physics, anatomy, computer technology|
|Work Environments||Universities, hospitals, research laboratories, manufacturing companies, physicians' offices|
|Continuing Education||Licensure is mandatory in some states, certification is voluntary in all; requirements for each vary by state|
|Median Annual Salary (May 2018)*||$76,820 (for Nuclear Medicine Technologists)|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)*||10% (for Nuclear Medicine Technologists)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Where Can I Work After Graduation?
Nuclear medicine technologists work in a variety of healthcare, research, and even business settings. They often function as part of a team with physicists, nurses, nuclear pharmacists, and patients. You may be able to find employment as a technologist in the following settings:
- Clinical research programs
- Nuclear instrumentation manufacturing companies
- Physician's offices
- Biochemical research laboratories
- Outpatient clinics
What About Licensing or Certification?
Some states require nuclear medicine technologists to be licensed, and licensure requirements vary by state. Certification is voluntary, but often preferred or mandated by employers. Earning a bachelor's degree in nuclear medicine technology from an accredited program should prepare you to take one of the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examinations or either of the exams administered by the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB). Successfully completing one of these exams grants you certification and also qualifies you for state licensure.
How Is the Job and Salary Outlook?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for nuclear medicine technologists are expected to increase ten percent between 2016 and 2026, which is faster than the average for all jobs. Competition for these positions is expected to remain strong, and the number of job openings each year will remain low. The median annual wage for workers in this field was $76,820 as of May 2018, with the lowest-paid 10% earning $55,330 or less and the highest-paid 10% earning $104,730 or more.