What is a nuclear medicine technologist?
A nuclear medicine technologist can be described as a highly trained specialist who works alongside a nuclear medicine physician. For a better understanding, looking at the nuclear medicine you’ll find out that his work combines multiple areas. The main areas are the front lines of chemistry, mathematics, computer technology, physics, and medicine in order to treat diseases by using radioactivity.
Job description of a nuclear medicine technologist
The primary responsibilities of one of these specialized healthcare professionals are to prepare and administer radio-pharmaceuticals, to analyze specimens from a biological view in the laboratories. A nuclear medicine technologist also needs to perform the patients imaging procedures by using some sophisticated instrumentation based on radiation-detection.
As well the role of a nuclear medicine technologist goes beyond to working with a computer in order to accomplish the processing and the enhancement of the image. For an accurate diagnostic interpretation, a nuclear medicine technologist has to provide to a physician the images, the data analysis and the information of each patient.
For a better imaging procedure, the nuclear medicine technologist has to gain patient confidence by preparing him for the procedure explaining, asking and answering all the questions. At the same time, he will have to obtain valid and truthful history from the patient.
While performing the procedure a nuclear medicine technologist has to monitor the physical condition of the patient. In some cases, additional images might be of help, so a nuclear medicine technologist has to perform those as well and take into consideration every aspect and every demanding even from the physician.
How to become a nuclear medicine technologist?
The nuclear medicine technologist training programs are usually comprised between one and four years. These plans are granted by community colleges, universities, this depending on the Associate’s Degree that you are trying to obtain or the Bachelor’s Degree.
The course training and the study classes for becoming a nuclear medicine technologist include physical sciences, how to protect yourself and others from the radiation exposure. You will also learn the procedure of radiation exposure, biological effects of radiation exposure, imaging techniques, and procedures. They also train you to use computer applications and how to use the radio-pharmaceuticals in a proper manner.
Having certification is not a must do but the industry standards are asking for one and so do many employers. If you are fascinated in obtaining a certificate, you can achieve it by passing a comprehensive exam. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists and the Nuclear Technology Certification Board are entitled to offer you a certificate.
Obtaining a license can vary from state to state and the best path is to make sure that you understand the requirements that can be found in the state where you are. Being a basic level technologist, you get the chance of what will best suit you in this career. For example, you can develop and choose the specialty of nuclear cardiology or even PET scanning. The options are various from this point and according to your working place you can take a decision that will lead you to multiple choices. For example, working in a hospital or for a regulatory agency, you can choose to become a radiation officer or even work in the radio-pharmaceutical manufacturing firms.
In order to maintain your certificate valid and legitimate you’ll have to fulfill continuous hours of education. This is mainly due to the constant chance and improvement that is being add up to technologies that have to do with this profession.
You can advance by obtaining a significant amount of work experience and gain your place on positions such as Supervisor or even getting to work as a Chief Technologist.
Adding to this are a few tips that will increase your chances for advancing in this career and with your education requirements. For example, you’ll increase your chances of advancement if you start to be trained in multiple methods of diagnostic. You will also use the knowledge that you gained to diagnose a patient properly, detail attention is very important and as a nuclear medicine technologist, it’s a must have.
If you already passed through the whole process of obtaining an Associate’s Degree or a Bachelor’s Degree, you can easily enroll in a certification program at the hospital for which you are working and complete it.
In some cases, you’ll have to deal with sensitive situations so your communication skills must be developed in order to act and interrelate in an effective manner with the patients and their families. They will need your support and treat everything as professional as it can be.
There are many nuclear medicine technology educational programs that will provide you with the essential instructions and clinical internship to allow you to become a nuclear medicine technologist. The prerequisites will depend on what type of program is but they generally include the background of having to work with people a lot and subjects like mathematics and science.
Work Environment and Schedule
As a nuclear medicine technologist, you’ll get a variety of settings where to choose from. The clinical settings that area available can be community hospitals, public health institutions, or even private such as research institutions.
You can find work as well in the outpatient imaging facilities or in the academic fields such as universities that are affiliated with medical centers or even teaching hospitals. From here you got varied career opportunities, all will depend on what you prefer to do and in which alternative field you’ll see yourself working.
The hours of employment for a nuclear medicine technologist will depend a lot according to the department in which you are working and the facility as well, and the demanding that are. The normal agenda is from Monday to Friday and with eight hours that can involve late nights, weekends even depending on the department and the facility in which you are working.
Pros and cons of being a nuclear medicine technologist
One of the tremendous pros is that you have a variety of settings from which you can choose. You could as well choose from the alternative career paths that can be in plain sights such as becoming a research technologist, a team leader or a team supervisor. Another alternative is becoming an industry sales representatives and many other choices that might tempt you the decision is yours. A nuclear medicine technologist can choose from a variety of great opportunities in the clinical settings this meaning that you can easily find a job and gain a long lasting career stability.
The salary for someone working as a nuclear medicine technologist is very good but like in any other jobs they will vary according to the cost of living and the geographical locations. The future outlook in this case is very good since the nuclear medicine is at the top of technological development and in the field of modern clinical medicine.
The cons, which appear when working as a nuclear medicine technologist, will mainly comprise the fact that you are constantly exposed to radiations. Also, in some cases, you’ll be exposed to infections or diseases that other patients have from getting into contact with them.
Another con in this job is that you’ll enter without your will in situations where the people, which you are working with, will become angry or even rude the best way, to deal with these kinds of conflicting situations, is if you remain calm and professional.
On a weekly basis, as a nuclear medicine technologist, you’ll be exposed to contaminants as well as to conditions that you’ve never thought you’ll enter in. If you care for other and you love to be involved in having to interact with people, then this career is the perfect one for you. This is true especially if you like both math and science, you’ll get plenty of problems to solve.
Nuclear Medicine Technologist job growth
For the next five years, the employment job growth for nuclear medicine technologists is not that high, with a growth estimated projection of 2% rate of increase, that is very slow compared with all other occupations. The main factor that sustains this field is the aging population that is growing and that need, the aid of these professionals that will provide imaging to the patients with medical conditions, such as heart conditions.
With an increase in the number of patients that have access to health insurance, there is likely to be an increase in the patient access to medical care, this leading to a higher demand for medical imaging services. With other words, the service of nuclear medicine technologist will be needed.
The job prospects can be improved with completing a specialty certification, in PET, or CT, or in Nuclear Cardiology. Even with a slow projection, the nature of the job itself allows these professionals to find work in a variety of settings.
Nuclear medicine technologist salary
In the US, the nuclear medicine technologist salary is estimated at $70,845 per year. The main duties, that one of these professionals has to perform, is to capture the internal images of a patient body through a scanner and administer radioactive drugs. The average hourly wage is estimated at $34.08 per hour and the demand for this field is expected to be growing in the next ten years. The increase is due to the growing aging population that contacts conditions that need a detailed medical imaging or even more.
The annual salary for a nuclear medicine technologist in the US is comprised between $48,672 and $83,025 per year. This means an hourly wage that will range as well and be comprised between $23.34 and $38.92 per hour. The median salary reaches about $62,166 per year while the overtime work, which you’ll do, is estimated to be paid between $30.56 and $58.89 per hour.
If you are working for a generous employer, then you can get a share out of the profit that will range between $61.09 and up to $4,916 with bonuses that are estimated at $1,497. The knowledge that you have in this field and the skills that you possess are also very important. Your knowledge in nuclear medicine is paid a salary that ranges between $45,686 and $85,350, in CT or also known as Computed Tomography the salary will range between $45,959 and up to $85,697 per year.
The education and the degrees that one professional has influence the salary as well. For instance, a nuclear medicine technologist with a Bachelor’s Degree will gain a salary of $69,986 per year while one with a Master’s Degree will gain a salary estimated at around $73,709 per year.
Salary of a nuclear medicine technologist in 2015
The chances of increased salaries are very vast in this area of specialization, with the wide opportunities where to work in. Furthermore, there are various alternative careers a nuclear medicine technologist will always have a wide field and career choices.
The salary of a nuclear medicine technologist in 2015 is estimated to grow continuously due to a number of factors such as the work experience, the location, and the employer setting and according to each state.
Nuclear Medicine Technologist Salary in 2016
For the year 2016, in the United States, the average hourly wage for a nuclear medicine technologist is estimated to reach at $29.02 per hour. The average median payment for these professionals usually reaches at $64,716 per year. The starting point in their incomes tends to vary from $45,997 per year and up to $85,442 per year.
The granted bonuses for these professionals tend to reach at $1,957 while the attributed profit sharing is comprised between $1.22 and $6,363. This will lead in the end to all these benefits added to a total payment that starts from $48,967 and climbs up to $85,192.
The skills that usually affect a nuclear medicine technologist salaries are CT, or else known as computer tomography, followed by PET, or else known as positron emission tomography, as well as a few other that make a difference in the earnings.
The salaries of nuclear medicine technologists vary from state to state, and city to city. The main factors that affect the incomes are based upon the differences that appear in the costs of living and the living expenses of each and every region. Other factors, besides the geographic location factor that impacts the national economy when it comes to the earnings, are the years of experience in the field, as well as the type of employment, company size, and industry.
The level of experience brings forth a constant increase over time in the salaries of these professionals. For instance, an entry-level nuclear medicine technologist, with less than 5 years of experience in the field can expect to take home around $57,010 per year, while one professional that has been in this branch for between 5 and up to 10 years can expect at $63,010 per year.
An experienced nuclear medicine technologist, with 10 and up to 20 years of practice can expect to receive an income estimated at $68,010 per year while one with more than 20 years of activity and work experience will gain around $74,010 per year.
Nuclear medicine technologist salary in Canada, Australia and UK
In Canada, a nuclear medicine technologist is estimated to be comprised between C$42,715 and C$80,218 per year while a median salary will be estimated at about C$62,572 per year. The bonuses that a nuclear medicine technologist earns can go up to C$1,010. The average hourly wage is estimated between C$18.57 and C$37.65 per hour.
In Australia, the annual average salary for a nuclear medicine technologist is estimated to range between AU$38,010 and AU$94,617 while the median salary is estimated at about AU$72,007 per year. A basic salary in Australia for a nuclear medicine technologist will range from AU$36,976 to AU$95,290 per year, with a bonus that can go up to AU$1,029. The experience will have a word to say on this path, nuclear medicine technologists with one to four years of work experience will gain an income comprised between AU$38,665 and AU$89,423 per year. Working in the radiology industry will get you to an earning that reaches AU$50,010 per year and even higher to AU$90,498 per year.
In the UK, the average salary for one of these specialized professionals can reach £25,250 with an hourly wage reaching about £12.64 per hour. Those, who work as nuclear medicine technologists and are 24 years old or even older, earn a salary of about £18,935. Those, who are between 30 and 40 years old, will earn an income that is comprised between £24,745 and £29,287 per year.
According to the geographical location, the salary for a nuclear medicine technologist can vary. For instance, a nuclear medicine technologist, who works in London, will receive a salary of about £27,517 per year. Another specialist, who is working in Midland, will earn a salary that reaches £23,478 per year and the figures will continue to rise or drop according to the metropolitan areas, the highest and the lowest salaries currently found across the United Kingdom.
Conclusion on a nuclear medicine technologist salary
The nuclear medicine technology is one of the highest medical fields that can be found, and their future outlook is growing faster than of the other specializations.
This income is usually influenced by a majority of economical and geographical factors such as the location of one working in this field, the type of employer and the employee work experience.
- First Published Date: 12 January, 2015
- Last Updated Date: 12 December, 2016