The term nuc med tech is slang for a nuclear medicine technician position, which prepares and administers radioactive medications to a patient.
This type of medication gives off radiation. The radiation will make abnormal areas of the body look different from normal areas when a patients body is scanned with medical imaging equipment.
If you are considering this career choice, you will be rewarded with a good salary and job satisfaction. To help you, I want to provide a nuclear medicine technician job description. First, though, lets take a look at a day in the life of a nuclear medicine technologist.
Duties of a nuclear medicine technologist
- Explain the procedure and answer patient questions and concerns
- Follow strict safety procedures to avoid over-exposure to radiation
- Examine and operate medical imaging equipment
- Prepare and administer radioactive drugs
- Monitor the patients for unusual reactions
- Record procedures
Nuc med tech salary
Out of all the two-year medical degrees, a nuclear medicine technician is the second highest paid.
The average annual salary is $68,560 in 2010, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Eighty percent earned between $49,130 and $91,970 in 2010, according to the BLS. The BLS also notes the outlook and future demand of a nuclear medicine tech is good and expected to grow 19 percent by 2020.
It is important to know that this is a small occupation and the statistics can be misleading. There are only about 21,900 current jobs, with an projected amount of 26,100 by 2020. This means a rise of 4,100 jobs.
If that does not deter you, then you want to know how to become a nuclear medicine technologist.
Nuclear medicine degree programs
The minimum requirement will be an associates degree, which is a two-year program. Bachelors degrees are also available.
If you have a degree in nursing or radiologic technology, you may be able to a 12-month program that ends in a certificate.
After your degree program or certificate, you may need to become licensed in your state. Because each state is different, you will need to contact the states health board to find out the details.
During your coursework, your curriculum will include courses such as the following:
- Management and Methods of Patient Care
- Radiation Safety and Protection
- Nuclear Physics and Instrumentation
- Diagnostic Nuclear Imaging Practicum
- Clinical Nuclear Imaging Procedures
- Radionuclide Chemistry and Radiopharmacy
- Radiation Biology
- Clinical Correlation and Pathology
- Radiation Detection and Instrumentation
- Technical Mathematics
- Quality Control
- Cross Sectional Anatomy
- Principles of Computed Technology
You will also spend time working with patients in clinical settings. Fear not: You will be under the supervision of instructors.
Qualities of a nuclear medicine technologist
Many patients undergoing these procedures will be physically and emotionally stressed. As a tech, you will need to have compassion to handle them. At the same time, you will need to get a specific image for diagnosis. Being able to handle the patient and get the image you need requires excellent interpersonal skills.
Radio pharmaceuticals are dangerous if not administered and monitored correctly. You need to be detail orientated, following exact physician instructions and giving correct dosages.
A nuc med tech uses large computerized equipment, which means technical skills play a large part in the position. But dont discredit science and math. You need to understand human anatomy and physiology, along with calculate the correct dosage for radio-pharmaceuticals.
I hope this nuclear medicine technician job description has been helpful.