How much do you make in a Nuclear Medicine Career? Online Tech College trains Nuclear Technologist

Technologist Nuclear Medicine - time to go back to school

Are you unemployed and looking to enter a new career? The medical industry continues to see growth, especially as the baby boomer population ages. The miracle of modern medicine has afforded us ways to not only extend our lives, but also have access to medical diagnostics and treatments that make those golden years brighter. With many choices of careers in medicine, a nuclear tech is a well paying and highly specialized field.

What does it take to be a nuclaer technologist?

The first thing to consider is what your passion is in life. If you are a "people person" who loves to help others and enjoys the idea of working in a medical facility, becoming a nuclear tech may be just the job for you. Here is the basic process to become a nuclear technologist:

1. Enroll in a Nuclear Medical program at a local college, university, or an online college

Programs will often be highly specialized as this career will expose you to very sophisticated equipment along with understanding how the human body functions. Most states will require a minimum of a 2-year associate's degree, but many students will often decide to continue on and get a bachelors. If you already work in a medical career as a nurse or other state licensed healthcare worker, the program to extend your skills as a nuclear tech is only about a year long.Many nuclear science programs often have at least some online learning or distance learning classes either for the whole program, or part of it. Online college is a great option for anyone who has a hard time getting to campus.

The nuclear medicine degree can often be called many things as the nuclear medicine career involves a variety of specialties and equipment including

  • x ray careers
  • jobs MRI tech
  • sonograms
  • administer radiation
  • radiographers
  • radiation therapists
  • Attenuation correction for SPECT
  • Nuclear medicine-specific computer
  • PET
  • Xenon delivery system
  • ECG monitor

Nuclear medicine course work will familiarize you with the equipment to discover, diagnose, and administer treatments for different medical conditions and diseases.

Another thing you can expect to prepare as a nuclear medical technologist is actual work with patients in a clinic, hospital, or other similar setting. The great thing about these nuclear school programsis the complete training you will have. We all learn from books in school, yet when given the opportunity to actually put to use the concepts and techniques you learn from a textbook and put it into actual will be much more proficient in your work. That is why the education you will have exposes you to theory and practice.

credit nuclear medicine
credit nuclear medicine

Done with college, now what? After the technologist program

2. After you have finished your technologist program at an accredited school, the next course of action is applying for the board certification.

Many states require you to have a certificate supplied by the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board or NMT. The process to get your certificate as a nuclear technologist can be a little tedious, but it is necessary.

Here is what you need to do:

  • Apply for the nuclear technologist board test
  • Complete a background check and pay any fees required
  • Gather all your proof of education and clinic experience required
  • Take the exam and wait the weeks prescribed to receive your certification

One other thing to consider- many states may also expect you to have a state license. Not all states have this requirement, but many states are starting to require it more and more.

Nuclear Medicine Technologist Salary

As with any career, the ultimate question you will ask is, "How much is the salary of nuclear medicine technologist? This question can be answered in a general sense by saying the salary can start at around $48,000 and go all the way to $98,000 or more. There are many things that will affect the nuclear tech salary:

  • Where you live
  • Where you practice
  • If you specialize in a particular sect such as a x ray technician jobs
  • How much prior experience you have
  • How much continuing education nuclear technologist classes you have attended
  • What kind of perks your facility will offer (vacation, paid leave, retirement, etc.)

Your Career Nuclear Medicine Technologist

A career in nuclear medicine can be exciting and rewarding, not only because you will help others with their health, you will also be on your way to a career as a nuclear medicine technologist (or a nuclear medical technician of you like) that will offer you a great salary during the life of your career. Check out Nuclear Tech school programs today!

More by this Author

Comments 9 comments

GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 6 years ago from USA

BAGT - I enjoyed your interesting article. I am credentialed in both radiography (X-ray imaging) and nuclear medical technology. The two specialties are very different from each other. A radiographer produces images of various parts patient anatomies for diagnostic purposes using "X-ray machines" and computerized tomographic equipment ("CT"). Another X-ray specialty is that of the X-ray therapy tech who applies radiation to patients under the direction of a physician (and physicists) for therapeutic purposes. The nuclear medical tech will ordinarily be involved in several different roles - diagnosis using imaging equipment, diagnosis using other types of radiation detection gear, and therapy via the administration of radioactive drugs for curative purposes. As the medical radiation fields have progressed, the equipment has become more and more computerized for better control of radiation application to the tasks involved and for manipulation and study of images, etc.

Around here the pay for a diagnostic-imaging X-ray tech is in the $25 per hour range. The nuclear medical tech earns about $10 an hour more than that. A beginning radiographer gets around $19 to $20 an hour, and a beginning nuclear medical tech gets $25 to $30 an hour, perhaps less if he or she is not a good bargainer. In both cases, the techs are often involved in some heavy physical efforts due to the required lifting, moving, and "positioning" of patients, many of whom are quite large and heavy.

After formal school is over there is a requirement for continuing medical education plus additional training within an institution if that is where the tech is employed (such as CPR, good medical practices, and so forth).

There are a number of good opportunities for these techs to also find employment with commercial radiation product providers. You name it, companies need techs to sell products, to educate customers in product use, for research and development, and more. The pay is generally very good. For example, back in 1970 my employer sent me out to your neighborhood to install and train a customer (University of California Medical Center-San Francisco) in the use of a nuclear medical gamma camera computerization system the hospital had purchased. That was kind of "old stuff" for me by then, so the highlight of the visit was being entertained by a tableful of doctors at Mama's Restaurant in Sausalito. Who knows - they may be using their computerization system still today.

I had neighbors down the street from where I live. Both husband and wife were diagnostic X-ray techs. One of them told me once that they never got rich at it, but they never did without anything, either, because an X-ray tech's income was always very good. I will testify to that as well. In fact, the demand for good techs is such that I was hired at the age of 70 the last time and worked in the hospital for the next 7 years before retiring. So, what you explained in your article was nicely correct. These are great occupations that make for long and rewarding careers.

bayareagreatthing profile image

bayareagreatthing 6 years ago from Bay Area California Author


First of all- thank you for adding such great info! And constantly surprise me Gus. You are one talented person!! I really appreciate your info. Some of the research I did for the nuclear technologists salaries was from an online salary wizard. The ranges for this career were pretty significant. I think that one of the primary things after factoring in school and experience is location. As usual, places like the Bay Area tend to pay higher (but the cost of living is higher here too). Thank you again for stopping by!

GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 6 years ago from USA

Hello again, BAGT - I left the very best part of "my story" out. I had already been trained and certified by the national certifying organization (ARRT) as an X-ray tech and was assigned to duty in San Antonio, Texas. There I learned that a local and small all-girls Catholic college was offering a B.S. degree in radiologic technology, one of only 9 places in the U.S. where this degree was then offered. I thought "why not" (my motto!). So, from 1959, and again in 1961, I studied there nights and weekends, year-round. The school granted me credit for prior college studies and, because I was already certified in X-ray, I did not have to partake of their in-hospital classes. By mid-1962, with only one last semester to go, I talked both the USAF and the nuns into letting me study fulltime. In between those times I had been a year in the nuclear medical tech program at the Navy Med. School in Bethesda, Maryland, after which I had returned to San Antonio. As it worked out, during that last semester I was the only daytime male student at the college. I even had my own "man's room." Those were the days!

Gus :-)))

bayareagreatthing profile image

bayareagreatthing 6 years ago from Bay Area California Author

You must have been in heaven being surrounded by all those women! LOL

Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 6 years ago from Great Britain

That was fascinating. Thank you BAGT x

esllr profile image

esllr 6 years ago

Excellent hub. It's never to late.

I know this hub will finalize a decision for many to forge ahead and continue their education. I know I will. Thanks

Lisa Parmley 2 years ago

Nice blog post. When I graduated Senior High School 2 years ago, I've considered a Business career, but I was convinced by my brother to consider Nuclear Medicine as one of my career choice list. I've heard a lot of good things about this career especially that it pays really well. I really made the right choice.

Lisa Parmley 2 years ago

Nice blog post. When I graduated Senior High School 2 years ago, I've considered a Business career, but I was convinced by my brother to consider Nuclear Medicine as one of my career choice list. I've heard a lot of good things about this career especially that it pays really well. I really made the right choice.

Lisa 2 years ago

Nuclear medicine technologist is a good occupation with high pay. I recently wrote a few articles to compare medical professions in the medical imaging field such as nuclear medicine technologists, sonographers, MRI technicians, X ray technicians, which include duties, education requirements and salaries. If you are interested in working in the medical imaging field, but are not sure which one to choose from, you may find the articles here are helpful:

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article