How to Become a Nuclear Medicine Technician

If you are looking for a career in medicine but don't want to become a doctor, a nuclear medicine technologist may be the profession for you. If you are interested in how to become a nuclear medicine technologist it is important to first understand what nuclear medicine is and how it works. Unstable radiation emitting atoms, also known as radionuclides, are used to diagnose and remedy diseases. Those same radionuclides are transformed into radiopharmaceuticals which nuclear medicine technologists then administer. Once the pharmaceuticals are administered, the technician then operates diagnostic imaging equipment to locate and diagnose the presence of radiation that is emitted by the radiopharmaceuticals. The presence of this radiation indicates any problem areas.


  1. Image titled Become a Health Inspector Step 1
    Gain education and training. Training programs for Nuclear Medicine Technologists usually last 1 to 4 years. These programs are offered through community colleges and universities depending on whether you are trying to attain an Associate's Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. Course training includes physical sciences, effects biologically of radiation exposure, protection and procedure of radiation exposure, the proper use of radiopharmaceuticals, computer applications and imaging techniques and procedures.
    • Certification is not a necessity; however, it is an industry standard for nuclear medicine technologists and those that employ such. Both the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists and the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board offer certificates to those interested. If you choose to obtain a certificate, you must pass a comprehensive exam.
  2. Image titled Become a Loan Originator Step 7
    Obtain license. The requirements to obtain a license vary from state to state. You must ensure that you understand the requirements when pursuing a license.
    • Basic level technologists have several positions available to them including a technologist whose specialty is nuclear cardiology or PET scanning as well as positions as instructors to others trying to obtain their technologist certificate. Still other technologists may not work for hospitals but in the sale of medical equipment or for radiopharmaceutical manufacturing firms. Another option includes becoming a radiation officer for a hospital or regulatory agency.
  3. Image titled Become a District Attorney Step 2
    Maintain certification. You must complete continuing education hours to maintain your certificate. This is due to the continually changing technologies involved in this profession.
    • Advancement is possible through significant work experience. Such positions include supervisory positions and Chief Technologist.


  • You must possess good communication skills in order to effectively interrelate with patients and families during potentially sensitive situations.
  • Becoming trained in multiple diagnostic methods will increase your chances of advancement in the field.
  • If you already possess an Associate's or Bachelor's Degree, you may only need to enroll in and successfully complete the certification program of the hospital in which you are employed.
  • You must be detail oriented in order to properly diagnose patients.


  • You may be required at times to work independently without much direct supervision.

Article Info

Categories: Occupations