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Degree Overview: Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Nuclear Medicine

Majors Overview March 26, 2015

Get information about bachelor’s degree programs in nuclear medicine and their educational requirements, coursework, job and wage outlook, and continuing education and certification choices.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Nuclear Medicine

Earning a nuclear medicine bachelor’s degree can enable interested individuals to seek employment in this fast-growing, high-paying field. Students enrolled in the program learn about anatomy, nuclear imaging machines, and radioactive drugs.

Students enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs in nuclear medicine technology, such as the Bachelor of Science (B.S.), are prepared to seek entry-level occupations as nuclear medicine technologists. Students can expect to become fluent working with imaging technology that uses radio-nuclides in seeing the systems of the body, diagnosing ailments, and helping doctors to determine the best treatment choices.

Classroom instruction is combined with practical experiences to teach nuclear medicine students about administering radioactive pharmaceuticals, in addition to proper quality control measures, biological sample collection, and radiation safety techniques. An internship is typically completed by students, and after they graduate, they can prepare to take a certification examination administered by the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB).

Educational Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma; however, many holders of an associate’s degree in nuclear medicine also seek admittance to the program. Completion of a mental evaluation is part of the admission process, and members of the program’s department typically conduct this; applicants are also required to submit a personal statement and letters of recommendation.

Coursework

Coursework combines classroom instruction and hands-on laboratory experiences. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Radiopharmacy
•Patient care and ethics
•Radiation chemistry
•Anatomy and physiology
•Gamma scintillation camera operation

Job and Wage Outlook

A job growth rate of 20% has been predicted for nuclear medicine technologists over the 2012 – 2022 decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2012, these professionals brought in an average annual wage of $70,180, ranging between $93,320 at the high end and $50,560 at the low.

Continuing Education and Certification Choices

While it is not compulsory for nuclear medicine technologists to hold certification in the field, certified credentials would make them competitive in the job market. Certification requirements vary by state. Certification for nuclear medicine technologists is available through both the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) and the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB).

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