Nuclear Medicine Technologists
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Prepare, administer, and measure radioactive isotopes in therapeutic, diagnostic, and tracer studies using a variety of radioisotope equipment. Prepare stock solutions of radioactive materials and calculate doses to be administered by radiologists. Subject patients to radiation. Execute blood volume, red cell survival, and fat absorption studies following standard laboratory techniques.
Undergraduate program resulting in the highest median salary ($128K): Microbiology
Largest undergraduate program (13.7% of workers): Medical Technologies Technicians
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Titles for this career often contain these words
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Responsibilities and activities

Nuclear medicine technologists typically do the following:

  • Explain medical procedures to the patient and answer questions
  • Follow safety procedures to protect themselves and the patient from unnecessary radiation exposure
  • Prepare radioactive drugs and administer them to the patient
  • Maintain and operate imaging equipment
  • Keep detailed records of procedures
  • Follow procedures for radiation disposal

Nuclear medicine technologists work with radioactive drugs, known as radiopharmaceuticals, to help physicians and surgeons diagnose a patient’s condition. For example, they may inject radiopharmaceuticals into the bloodstream of a patient with foot pain and then use special scanning equipment that captures images of the bones; a radiologist interprets the scan results, based on the concentration of radioactivity appearing in the image, to identify the source of the patient’s pain.

Nuclear medicine technologists also deliver radiopharmaceuticals in prescribed doses to specific areas, such as tumors, to treat medical conditions. Internal radiation treatment may be used in conjunction with, or as an alternative to, surgery.

In the event of a radioactive incident or nuclear disaster, some nuclear medicine technologists may be involved in emergency response efforts. These workers’ experience with radiation detection and monitoring equipment may be useful during a response to events that involve radiological materials.

The following are types of nuclear medicine technologists:

Nuclear cardiology technologists use radioactive drugs to obtain images of the heart. Patients may exercise during the imaging process while the technologist creates images of the heart and blood flow.

Nuclear medicine computed tomography (CT) technologists use radioactive isotopes in combination with x-ray imaging to create two-dimensional or three-dimensional pictures of the inside of the body.

Positron emission tomography (PET) technologists use a machine that creates a three-dimensional image of a part of the body, such as the brain. They also use radiopharmaceuticals to measure body functions, such as metabolism.

Some nuclear medicine technologists support researchers in developing nuclear medicine applications for imagery or treatment.

Median salary: $79,590 annually
Half of those employed in this career earn between $68,370 and $95,230.
Context: Median Salary
How do salaries for this career compare to other jobs' salaries?
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Salary growth for nuclear medicine technologists and medical dosimetrists
Is this job likely to reward you for sticking with it through pay raises and promotions? The higher a job’s “experience quotient,” the more you are likely to get as you stay there.
Experience quotient percentile
Take a minute to look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working at each age change. Does this seem to be a job for the young or the old, or could it be a career offering steady salary growth for many years?
Salary distribution
Number employed
About Nuclear Medicine Technologists
How do benefits for this career compare to other jobs? The availability of health care, especially employer provided health care, and pension plans can add significantly to the value of compensation you receive in a career. These charts compare how this career compares to other careers with regard to health care and pension plans.
Employee has health insurance
Employer is providing health insurance
Employer-provided pension plan is available
Worker concerns
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of nuclear medicine technologists who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Radiation Exposure (100%)
  • Exposed to Disease or Infections (96%)
  • Consequence of Error (90%)
  • Time Pressure (73%)
  • Unpleasant or Angry People (66%)
  • Responsible for Others' Health (62%)
  • High Conflict Frequency (51%)
  • Exposed to Contaminants (38%)
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Personality and skills
Can you see yourself in the ranks of Nuclear Medicine Technologists? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.
Ability to use technology
Nuclear medicine technologists work with computers and large pieces of electronic equipment and must be comfortable operating them.
Analytical skills
Nuclear medicine technologists must understand anatomy, physiology, and other sciences to assess whether dosage is accurate.
Nuclear medicine technologists must be able to reassure patients who are stressed or upset.
Detail oriented
Nuclear medicine technologists must follow instructions precisely to ensure correct dosage and prevent overexposure to radiation.
Interpersonal skills
Nuclear medicine technologists interact with patients and often work as part of a team. They must be able to communicate effectively with their supervising physician.
Physical stamina
Nuclear medicine technologists must stand for long periods and be able to lift and move patients who need help.
Injury and Illness
About 22 nuclear medicine technologists become injured or ill for every 10,000 workers, making this job more dangerous than 54% of other careers.
All injuries and illnesses
Education pathways to this career
Education attained by nuclear medicine technologists
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nuclear medicine technologists typically hold a associate's degree.
Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as nuclear medicine technologists and medical dosimetrists as reported in responses to the American Community Survey.
Details: Education and training recommended for nuclear medicine technologists

High school students interested in nuclear medicine technology should take courses in math and sciences, including biology, chemistry, anatomy, and physics.

Nuclear medicine technologists typically need an associate’s degree in nuclear medicine technology to enter the occupation. Bachelor’s degrees also are common. Some technologists complete an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree program in a related health field, such as radiologic technology or nursing, followed by a 12-month certificate program in nuclear medicine technology.

Nuclear medicine technology programs often include courses in human anatomy and physiology, physics, chemistry, radioactive drugs, and computer science. In addition, these programs include clinical experience—practice under the supervision of a certified nuclear medicine technologist and a physician or surgeon who specializes in nuclear medicine.

Graduating from a nuclear medicine program accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Educational Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology may be required for licensure or by an employer.

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for nuclear medicine technologists

Most nuclear medicine technologists become certified. Although certification is not required for a license, it fulfills most of the requirements for state licensure. Licensing requirements vary by state. For specific requirements, contact the state’s health board.

Some employers require certification, regardless of state regulations. Certification usually involves graduating from an accredited nuclear medicine technology program. Certification is available from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) and the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB).

In addition to receiving general certification, technologists may earn specialty certifications that show their proficiency in procedures or equipment. A technologist must pass an exam offered by the NMTCB to earn certification in positron emission tomography (PET), nuclear cardiology (NCT), or computed tomography (CT).

Technologists also may be required to have one or more other certifications, such as in basic life support (BLS), advanced cardiovascular life support (ACLS), or cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Education level of Nuclear medicine technologists and medical dosimetrists
Only 47% of nuclear medicine technologists and medical dosimetrists have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Education attained by nuclear medicine technologists and medical dosimetrists
High School
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Top college degrees
Here are the top college degrees held by the 44% of people in this job who have at least a bachelor's degree. Some of degrees may link to multiple programs due to the way Census classifies college majors. Click on a program to learn more about career opportunities for people who major in that field.
  1. Medical Technologies Technicians
  2. Nursing
  3. Biology
  4. Health and Medical Administrative Services
  5. Psychology
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Programs recommended by the Department of Education
The Department of Education recommends the following college degree programs as preparation for this career. You can click the program row to learn more about the program and explore a list of schools that offer the program.
Number of degrees awarded in 2018
Education level of awarded degrees
Gender of graduates
Race/origin of graduates
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The link between degrees and this career
With the following sankey diagram, you can follow the top ten bachelor's degrees held by people working as nuclear medicine technologists and medical dosimetrists, and then, in turn, you can see the 10 occupations that hire the most of each degree's graduates. We hope this provides ideas for similar jobs and similar fields of study.
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Medical Technologies...NursingBiologyHealth and Medical A...PsychologyBusiness Management ...Nuclear, Industrial ...General BusinessPolitical Science an...Health and Medical P...All other degreesThis jobTop 10 majors
Where are the jobs
State-by-state employment numbers
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Number of Nuclear medicine technologists and medical dosimetrists per 1,000 workers (ACS)
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Job density versus job count
Which states hire the most nuclear medicine technologists? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as nuclear medicine technologists. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where nuclear medicine technologists earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio
We use two methods to compare salaries across states:
  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for nuclear medicine technologists and medical dosimetrists compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for nuclear medicine technologists and medical dosimetrists.
We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which nuclear medicine technologists and medical dosimetrists earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this figure might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
Location-adjusted median salary for Nuclear medicine technologists and medical dosimetrists (ACS for all specialties)
18% of Nuclear medicine technologists and medical dosimetrists are working part time.
We’ve found that some jobs have a huge number of part-time workers, and typically that is because they are unable to find full-time work or the job itself can’t provide full-time hours. With 18% part-time workers, this occupation has a higher percentage of part-time workers than 63% of careers.
Employer types
This donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, giving us a picture of what employers most typically hire for this career.
Employers of undefined (ACS)
Private for-profit
Private not-for-profit
Local government
State government
Federal government
Self-employed incorporated
Self-employed not incorporated
Working without pay
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Distribution: Salaries of nuclear medicine technologists and medical dosimetrists by type of employer
Here are the salary distributions based on employer type.
$63K$68K$67K$61K$0$50,000$100,000$150,000Federal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Nuclear medicine technologists and medical dosimetrists and gender
With 60% women, this occupation has a higher percentage of women than 73% of careers.
Gender of Nuclear medicine technologists and medical dosimetrists
Men (40%)
Women (60%)
Distribution: salaries by gender
Does gender greatly influence your salary in this career? The closer the bars are, the less discrepancy there is.
We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.
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Context: Women in the workforce
How does this career compare to other careers with regard to the percentage of women in the career.
Context: Salary inequity
The median salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 19%. The situation is a little better for nuclear medicine technologists and medical dosimetrists, with the median salary for men 13% higher than the median salary for women.
Race and origin of Nuclear medicine technologists and medical dosimetrists
This donut shows the distribution of race and origin among those employed as Nuclear medicine technologists and medical dosimetrists.
Race/origin of nuclear medicine technologists and medical dosimetrists
White (72% )
Asian (12% )
Black (9% )
Multiracial (3% )
Other (3% )
Hispanic (1% )
American Indian (0% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Distribution: salaries by race/origin
Some careers might have a pay disparity based on race or origin, the closer the below bars are the less of a discrepancy is present.
We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.